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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Guest Post: Kids' Crafts: Make your Own Corn Toss Game

Kids’ Crafts: Make Your Own Corn Toss Game

I’ll be the first to admit it; I’m addicted to corn toss.  It is just such a great game!  I love that it is portable.  I love that it doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment or an advanced skill level.

Most importantly, I love that people of all ages can play corn toss.  From my grandpa to my toddler, anyone is welcome on the corn toss court.

What is Corn Toss?
Corn toss – or cornhole or bags – is a fantastic backyard game.  If you don’t know what it is, do a little Wikipedia reading.  You can find all the details about scoring, equipment, and more.

Once you have an idea of the game, you’ll easily understand why I am so infatuated with it!

“I Want to Play Too!”
All kids want to be like the grownups.  While I am more than happy to have kids on the corn toss court, it sometimes breaks my heart to see them struggle with the big-kid equipment.  Like trying to walk in mom’s high heels, some things just don’t work as well as kiddos want them to.

I thought about getting my son, Anderson, his own miniature cornhole set.  In theory, it might have been a good idea.  But in actuality, shelling out a fair amount of money for a child-sized corn toss set seemed absurd.

Then, it occurred to me.  Duh.  Anderson and I could make a set for him.  Not only would we save a ton of money, we could have some quality bonding time and engage in an eco-friendly adventure.

So, here it is!  A step-by-step guide to building an inexpensive, child-sized, recycled corn toss set.

Gather Your Materials
It is always a good idea to have all your craft supplies ready to go before calling in the troops.  So, before the kids get wind of your upcoming project, go around the house and collect the following items:
• Two cardboard boxes, roughly the same size (the younger the kid, the bigger the box – you’ll need a pretty big target for those little hands)
• Packing tape
• A circular template
• A pencil or marker to trace the template
• Sturdy scissors or a box cutter
• Paints, paint brushes, and other decorating supplies (optional)
• Something to toss (more details later)

Build Your Boards
Use the packing tape to close up all the flaps on the boxes.  Position each box so one of the sides without flaps is up.  This side will be much easier to cut through; trying to cut through the box flaps will be too difficult.

Place your circular template on the top of one box (the hole on a true corn toss board is slightly off-center).





Since Anderson is young (only 23 months), we made a pretty big circle.  For older kids, you might want to make the hole smaller so there is a bit more of a challenge.



Also, this should go without saying, but make sure you keep your youngsters a safe distance away from your cutting utensil of choice!

Since Anderson was going to be playing by himself, we only made one corn toss board.  If you have two or more kids playing, you’ll want a second corn toss board to aim at.

At this point, you could be done “building” your boards and just move on to finding your corn toss bags.  But, if you really want to make this a craft project, bust out the paints!  Let your kids customize their boards.  After all, most of the adult version game boards are all tricked out and fancy.









My persnickety son refuses to wear a bib or smock of any type.  If your children are more agreeable, you might want to cover them up a bit before bringing out the paints.  Otherwise, you’ll have to make a wardrobe change before playing (like we did!).

Make Your Bags
Traditionally, corn toss is played with bean bags.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  If you have bean bags lying around the house, that’s great; bring them out.  Otherwise, you can make some simple bean bags.

While the paint is drying on your boards, round up all the stray socks you have stashed throughout the house.  Let’s be real; you’re never going to find the match anyways.  You might as well put them to good use!

Pour about ¼ to ½ cup dried beans or dried corn into each sock.  If you don’t have these things at home, you might need to make a quick run to the local grocery store (beans) or pet/livestock supply store (corn).  Once you have the desired amount of filler in each sock, tie a tight knot at the top.

Don’t worry if you don’t have filler material at home and can’t leave the house.  Simply take two socks and roll them up into a tight ball.  These will work just fine.  In fact, sock-balls are what Anderson tossed.

Play!
Once your boards have been constructed and your bags have been filled, it is time to play!

In a traditional game of corn toss, the players would stand about 24-27 feet away from the boards.  However, this isn’t a cutthroat competition you are planning for your kids.  Let them stand where they feel comfortable.

A game of corn toss is usually divided into innings.  Each player tosses four bags per inning.  While it isn’t necessary to follow all the rules laid out by the game’s governing authorities, it might be wise to at least make some rules of your own.

That way, your kids can learn about taking turns and team work.  Maybe one player throws all four bags before the other has a turn.  Or maybe you rotate; player one throws a bag and then player two throws a bag.  No matter what rules you come up with, encourage your children to keep the competition friendly; no name calling, bragging, or other forms of unhealthy competition.

As a parent, you’ll also be happy to hear your children will be enhancing their hand-eye coordination while they play.  Plus, simple addition will be needed to keep score.  What could be better than a math lesson in your backyard?!

A Few More Things to Keep In Mind
When choosing your boxes, keep in mind the age, ability, and height of your kids.  You want a big enough target; you don’t want your kids to feel discouraged because they can’t make it through the little hole of a little box.

On the other hand, you don’t want your corn toss boards to be too big.  Anderson couldn’t retrieve his bags from inside the box; it was too deep!

Also, remember to keep things light.  This isn’t about the competition.  It is about having fun with your kids.  Let them set the pace.  If they are too excited about playing the game and want to skip the painting part, let them.  If, like Anderson, they get bored with the game after 10 minutes of playing and want to get the paint brushes back out, let them.

Come Back!
After you give this project a try, be sure to come back and tell us how you did.  Was this your first corn toss experience?  Was it all I promised it would be?!  If you have any tips or suggestions I didn’t discover, let us know!

Guest author Jessica Velasco works for Custom Corntoss, a supplier of custom corn toss boards.  Just like the confusion with the chicken and the egg, she isn’t sure if the corn toss obsession is a result of her job or her job is a result of her obsession!   

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