How do you fill the long evenings during lock down?
In 1943 when this Mahjong set was made, there was no Netflix for entertainment. At the Prisoner of War Camp in Featherston during WWII, many of the Japanese prisoners held there spent leisure time making objects they could trade with the guards for cigarettes and other items. They made carvings with traditional motifs – chrysanthemums, frogs, snakes, landscapes – and paintings filled with nostalgia for home. The Mahjong sets were for their own use too – a popular pastime to fill in the evening hours. This set, beautifully made with great attention to detail, was acquired by the Ennor family from a former camp guard. The plastic used for the hinges is from toothbrushes.
A slower pace of life and extended family time have been enjoyed by many kiwi families during lockdown. Make the most of having this extra ‘time on your hands’ and create a board game for you and your family to play together.
You will need
- A large piece of cardboard such as an unfolded cereal box
- Felt tip pens, crayons, paints to decorate with
- Dice and game pieces, small toys are perfect for game pieces
Before you get started, choose a theme for your game. Talk a little about what the end of the game will look like and what challengers you might like to include along the way.
Once you have a plan, sketch out a quick game path with a start.
Next, decorate the board with lots of colour and detail. After numbering the squares, the job is done, and you are ready to play!
Take it Further
For more DIY Game inspiration check out this free printable Rain and Rainbow Game.
It's a fun variation of Snakes and Ladders that will give some colour to any rainy day. After you print and assemble the game, the rules are easy. When you reach the bottom of a rainbow, climb up. When you land on a black cloud, slide back down.
Like the Japanese soldiers who crated small wooden carved animals to trade with their guards, try creating some of these small animal sculptures out of paper. You can use any size paper that you have at home, just fold on a diagonal ensuring opposite corners meet precisely. Then trim to a square.
Thanks to Word Wildlife Fund (WWF) for sharing these origami patterns.
Take it Further
Once you have mastered some of these origami patterns, explore online for more ideas and have a go at making a whole origami Zoo!