Al has been wanting to make another game lately. I haven’t progressed far enough with learning C# to create a computer game, and we still have one or two board games we tried to make and haven’t finished (including our own version of The Game of Life, with pets as the focus). But when he brought me an old copy of Highlights for Children, with instructions on making a tabletop croquet game, I thought I could do that pretty well.
My arts and crafts drawers had most of the materials needed – felt, pipe cleaners (now called chenille sticks since they’re really not made for cleaning pipes), and wooden sticks. I scrounged through the styrofoam recycling bin at work and found a nice piece for the base, and snagged two coffee stirrers from the break room (I never bother using them to stir my coffee; my hot chocolate powder mixes in just fine on its own), then found a couple of drinking straws at the bottom of one of my kitchen drawers.
Finding something to serve as croquet balls was another matter. The instructions suggest marbles or wooden beads, and I thought wooden beads would be more suitable to hitting with a mallet made of plastic straws. But not finding any, I had to settle for marbles. I’m not sure if a lighter ball would work better or not – it turned out to be surprisingly easy to hit the balls right off the croquet “lawn” and onto the floor. (But with a lighter ball we wouldn’t be hitting as hard so maybe that wouldn’t happen.)
Al’s ball seemed to have a particular aversion to the second wicket – no matter how perfectly it was placed in front of the wicket, the ball managed to go anywhere but straight through. My ball took occasional detours across the field but was generally more well-behaved. But Al had a great time playing — even more, I think, than I had making the game.