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How to Create a Magnetic Board Game for Kids

by Rosenya Faith, studioD

Board games are a convenient way to keep your youngster occupied on a long car trip, and a magnetic board game makes sure you still have all of its pieces when you get to your destination. Whether you have a brand new idea for a board game or want to make your own version of a classic game, you can customize it any way you like -- and even show off your recycling savvy side while you're at it, too.

Baking Sheet Board Game

Wash and dry the baking sheet. You can use a completely flat baking sheet if you're playing board games at the table. For a travel board game, use a baking sheet with raised edges to keep any non-magnetic items, such as dice, on the board while you're driving.

Measure the length and width of the baking sheet and cut a piece of poster board or construction paper to this size. Avoid cardboard or other thick materials because it will interfere with a magnet's ability to stick to the board. Draw the board game on the paper. You can also design the board game on the computer and print it onto the paper.

Spread craft glue on the baking sheet. Center the game board on the sheet and press down to attach the board. Smooth out any wrinkles, bubbles or creases in the paper using your hands.

Create magnetic game pieces to stick to the baking sheet game board. Attach plastic or wooden figurines to the top of ordinary magnets with hot glue or cut shapes from printable magnetic sheets to make the playing pieces. You can create the game pieces on the computer, print them onto magnetic sheets and cut out the pieces.

Magnetic Paint Game Board

Cut a piece of plywood the size you'd like the game board. You can use 1/4-inch plywood for a thick, stable playing surface or 1/8-inch plywood for a lightweight game board. Sand the board with fine-grit sandpaper to make a completely smooth surface.

Paint every surface of the board with a coat of primer and let it dry according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply a coat of magnetic paint to the entire board. Let it dry and then apply a second and third coat.

Draw the board game onto one side of the board with a pencil. You can draw a different game on the other side of the board or stick to just one game for now. Paint the game board with acrylic paint. Let the board dry thoroughly. Flip it over if you've sketched a game board on the other side and paint in the board.

Glue wooden, plastic or paper figurines to magnets to make magnetic game pieces.

Items you will need
  •  Baking sheet
  •  Poster board or construction paper
  •  Craft glue
  •  Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  •  Plastic or wooden figurines
  •  Magnets
  •  Printable magnetic sheets
  •  1/4-inch plywood
  •  Fine-grit sandpaper
  •  Primer
  •  Magnetic paint


  • You can skip the cookie sheet game board and print the game board directly onto printable magnetic paper. Roll up the magnetic game board and tie it with a ribbon. Now you can unroll the game board, play the game and then roll it back up for easy storage.
  • If you're making a children's chess board, use pink and green, or blue and yellow -- something other than traditional colors to dress up the board.


  • Teaching Science Creatively; Dan Davies

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images