08 June 2012

Magnetic Triangular Dominoes

I'm really happy with this magnetic triangular dominoes set I recently made. My kids have been enjoying using our Tantrix set, although it's a bit on the tricky side for Miss 3, and the pieces have a tendency to move around a bit when a new piece is added. I thought 3 sided dominoes would be perfect for them, especially if they were magnetic and therefore would stay where they were put (and give a satisfying click as they snap to the surface). And I just happened to have some old flat magnets that I was waiting to use to make something cool...

1. Take some old sheet magnets (our local real estate agents' advertising provide us with these free of charge :))

2. Glue a sheet of white paper on, to cover up any graphics on the magnet.

3. Print out some equilateral triangles (I used a free printable, and printed them at 250% size, so each triangle side is roughly an inch long). I used about 80 triangles.

4. Glue the triangles on the magnets.

5. Write all the combinations of 3 numbers on the triangles. E.g. [0,0,0] [0,0,1] [0,0,2] ... [0,1,1] [0,1,2] ... [1,1,1] [1,1,2] ... [5,5,5]

6. After a little experimentation I found I wanted to go back and make a second copy of all the triangles with 3 different numbers, with their numbers written counter-clockwise rather than clockwise. E.g. [1,2,3] compared to [1,3,2]. This makes it much easier to make a complete wheel from the pieces. Mr Crafty later told me he's played with a commercial version of this, and part of the fun and challenge of the game was that they didn't have the two versions of these tiles. That way if you did make a complete wheel it was a real achievement. This makes me wonder a little if the commercial version has been a little clever about which numbers to put where in these tiles. But for us, seeing as Mr 4 and Miss 3 are my target audience, I think it's much nicer to have the extra pieces.

7. Colour the numbers in. E.g. 0 = orange, 1 = red, 2 = yellow. Not really necessary, but lets face it, colouring can be a nice relaxing activity, and I have a soft spot for pretty coloured things.

8. Cut the triangles out.

9. Find a metal baking tray or metal surface to play on. We used our lovely Melissa and Doug magnetic chalk board, but for a great travel version you could also use a metal suitcase.

The kids (and their parents) really enjoy this one. And there even enough pieces to play two separate games at the same time. 

As an afterthought I covered them with small hexagonal pieces of clear contact paper. To protect them against wayward mothers who knock their glasses of water over on top of the pieces.. To do this, find a printout of hexagons e.g. this one, print it out to scale so that the triangle matches with 3 of the 6 corners from the hexagon, and wrap it on. A little fiddly, but it only took me an hour or so while I played a game with Mr 4 at the same time.

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