With nine in our family, games are a great source of fun and bonding. We have built up quite the game collection over the years. We especially favor those that require little to no reading, so even three year old Ella can play.

About four years ago the boys were really into making their own versions of Monopoly. They made Lego monopoly, a Monopoly with their own comic characters, and many other versions. Not being a huge Monopoly fan, I challenged them to make our own version of a game I enjoy, Apples to Apples.

It started out small. 10 cards here, 30 cards there. Over the years we have amassed a huge pile.

our cards

We call our edition Apples to Pears: the (our last name) version. Want to make your own family’s version? Here’s how:

Supplies needed:

  • a basic understanding of the game Apples to Apples. Instructions can be found here, although it’s best if you have at least one version of the game, since it’s easier to just use the green cards supplied so you don’t have to make your own.
  • poster board (we use white)
  • a yard stick and pencil for measuring the poster board
  • a laminator and 5mm sheets (3mm is ok, but 5mm hold up to wear and tear.) We purchased our laminator for twenty dollars at Walmart.
  • glue sticks
  • scissors
  • either a computer with a printer (what we use) or old magazines and good handwriting

some of the supplies you will need

Some of the supplies you'll want to gather.

How to proceed:

Make the blank cards using the poster board, yardstick, pencil, and scissors. Assuming you are using the standard size 22 by 28 inch poster board, draw a grid along the following lines: on the 22 inch (width) size, drawn out vertical lines every 2.5 inches. On the 28 inch (length) size, draw vertical lines every 3.5 inches. This will yield you 66 cards of the same size per poster board.

the uncut poster board measured out

Cut them apart.

Now use Photoshop or what we use, GIMP to make the backs for the cards. My son Alex made us this rather uninspiring page (just make one and cc&p yourself a pageful, like shown below), but hey, who looks at the backs of cards, anyway?

a sheet of uncut card backs

Our card backs (I whited out our last name)

Print and cut out enough pages of your card backs to glue onto one side of your blank cards.

Now for the fun part. Think of cards you would like. Anything goes. Let's use a basic example. Let’s say you want a card for “Earth.” Find yourself a picture you like (Hello, Google's image search) and save it.

Cc&p your picture of earth to Word/ GIMP/ whatever-you-want-to-use and resize it so it is 2 inches high by 1.5 inches wide.

For the title that runs down the side of the card, type “Earth” using font size 20 bold.

Now make up a witty saying like “a fun place to visit occasionally,” and type that using font size 11 bold.

Print up the above and glue onto the appropriate places on the front of a card.

Laminate the finished product.

Ta da! You have just made the first of many, many cards.  We usually make a whole page fun of pictures, then type up the titles and captions, but hey, however you want to go about it.

some of our cards

A small sample of our cards

This is a great rainy day activity for the kids. Over time, you will likely need a list to make sure you don’t make duplicates. We use the Alphabetizer website to quickly re-alphabetize our list when we add new cards. (We save a master list on the computer and just cc&p the list onto the Alphabetizer. We then add our new words, press the alphabetize button, and instantly have an updated list.)

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