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Summer Game Nights

Summertime Game Nights

July 10, 2012

One of my favorite childhood memories is the endless Saturday game nights we enjoyed as a family. My dad traveled a lot when I was a child, and although he was the world’s best dad, and he never missed a night without a bedtime phone call (he worked most of his time in Asia, so that was truly a major effort), it was hard having him gone so much. Our Saturday mornings always began with a doughnut, and ended with a board game.

I am not sure how many games of Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and Trivial Pursuit (Star Wars edition) my parents endured, but we all loved those long, lingering nights of play. When I think back now, I am not sure if I enjoyed it more on the dark nights of Winter, or the outdoor fun of Summer.

As Joel and I had children, games became a major focus of our family as well. Our downstairs hall closet is dedicated to the boy’s game collection, and there always seems to be a game of chess, checkers or backgammon being played on our floors. The addition of Landon has brought about a few challenges for Jacob and Elwood, as they struggle to keep him from grabbing their pieces, but I suspect that one day soon he will be welcomed into their daily play as well.

In these warm months of Summer, we find ourselves away from home and on the trails most days. During camping trips or long breaks on a hike, the boys would love to play a quiet game with one another. It was in that spirit that I created this portable backgammon game in the Summer of 2010 for Rhythm of the Home. To be honest, when my husband first saw this, he commented that it seemed like a lot of work for just a game, but it has gotten a ton of use in the past two years, and it is played almost every where we travel.

Portable games are a fun way to keep kids occupied, and continue the fun of playing no matter where you might be.


1/2 Yard of heavy felt for top of board
1/2 yard of coordinating felt or flannel for bottom of board
1/4 yard of flannel for board pieces
1/4 yard of coordinating flannel for board pieces
Fusible interfacing
1/2 yard of quilt batting

Begin by cutting one piece of top fabric, and one piece of bottom fabric 18×22″. Cut two pieces of interfacing, and one piece of quilt batting to the same dimensions.

Create a triangular template for your backgammon points, and cut 12 of one color, and 12 of another. The template should be 1″ wide on the top, and 7″ long.

Cut two pieces of ribbon 10″ for your ties, and one piece of the same ribbon 18″ for the center of your board.

Place your 18″ piece of ribbon along the center line of you backgammon board and pin in place. Layout your points, lining up the tops of each with the edge of the fabric.

Using a zig zag stitch, stitch around the two sides of the ribbon, and three sides of each of the points. Press.

Following the maunfacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the top and bottom fabric pieces. Place the game board top and the bottom fabric right sides together. Place the quilt batting on top of those two pieces, and pin in place.

Sandwich your ribbon ties between the top and bottom fabric pieces, and pin in place.

Beginning in the middle of one side, with a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire piece, leaving a three inch opening.

Trim your corners, being careful not to cut your stitches, and turn right side out. Press.

Fold down the edges of your opening, and use a blind hem to close.

Roll your board up, tie, and enjoy game night anywhere.

And of course, try as hard as you can to keep all your pieces away from sneaky little brothers.

Joining in of Keep Calm and Craft On today. Hope you will join us as well.

Portable Backgammon Board PDF


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

a little crafty nest July 10, 2012 at 9:03 am

Heather…This is fantastic! I just love love love backgammon. I think my oldest (6) is just about ready to learn ~ hooray! I will certainly bookmark this to make for then. Love love love.
xo Jules


geek+nerd July 10, 2012 at 9:28 am

A lot of effort? Yes. However…does any other family have a backgammon board like that? I think not! How very special, Heather 🙂


Karen U July 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

I actually remember playing games with you guys when you lived on Douglas Drive. This is a neat way to transport the game, and pretty enough to be made for us adults as well :).


Angela July 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

I pinned this. I enjoy backgammon but haven’t played in years. I think the kiddos will enjoy it. They’ve been playing checkers, Pente, and learning chess. Love that Saturday night tradition you all had and that your boys play so much.


Meryl July 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I love Landon’s face in that last shot–“Of course I can play along with you. Why can’t I have these pieces?”


MamaBird July 11, 2012 at 9:09 am

Sweet! We’ve been enjoying summertime game nights in my nest too. My littlest is probably still too young for backgammon, but it is a long-time fave for me and my husband. Your handmade board will hold so many sweet memories for your kiddos. We’ve been playing Uno, Ruckus, Jr. Monopoly, Checkers, Trouble, Life, Sorry, and Ocean Bingo. And both my girls just love Lost Puppies, a cooperative board game by Peaceable Kingdom that allows us all to work together and strategize as a team.


~ joey ~ July 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

We are also big game players! We have a small backgammon board and they are itching to learn. I just have to remember how to play, I don’t think I’ve played since I was a teenager!
Thanks for inspiring me!
~ joey ~
PS. I have adapted a couple of games using some of our games and few things from the house… I love it when the kids don’t even realize that they are in fact learning! ;o)


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