Shuffleboard can be a fun activity

“Mom and Dad, we really need a break. Will you please play with the grandkids for a few hours? ” Grandchildren grow up too fast. The answer this night is “yes.”

Even though it is a wintery night, active young children need to be well active. shuffleboard, like any game, can be easily adapted for indoor spaces and young skills. That’s on the agenda this night.

For more fun and learning ideas see or pod casts “Learning Through the Seasons.”


Painter’s tape, paper, crayon, scissors, yard stick or stick and a few small plastic lids.

What to do

Regulation shuffleboard has a triangle grid at two ends for team play. Make only one end. Young children can play close to the triangle to ensure success. There are regulation shuffleboard images on line to use as a guide.

Have a conversation while preparing the game about triangles, numbers, and shuffleboard. Remember every child different. Two four- year- old grandchildren can have very different skill levels and be just fine. They are developing at different rates, their own.

Together make the triangle outline. Children can help measure and cut three strips of painter’s masking tape about a yard long to make an upside down triangle on an uncarpeted floor.

Cut four more 36 -inch pieces of painter’s tape. Place one piece at the bottom of the triangle and use the other three pieces to divide up the triangle into sections like a regulation shuffleboard grid.

Cut out small pieces of paper. Place a number on each from 0-5 or 0-10. Children can tape a numbered paper inside and outside each section of the triangle. This will show how much each area is worth in points. Numbers can be repeated.

Keep the rules simple. How will you decide who goes first? What will you do if the lid stops on a line or between two numbers? When will the game end and be time to clean up? How are players good winners and kind to others who might be sad? How can you congratulate others?

This is fun with a purpose. Children learn how to carry on a conversation, increase vocabulary, and make decisions with others in a friendly way.

Take a few practice shots to make any adjustments. Then take turns gently pushing a lid toward the highest numbers on the triangle. Keep score if you wish. Show young children to count/add up to ten with their fingers.

What else can we do?

Shuffleboard can be a table game too. Make a smaller version of the triangle grid on a counter top. Use quarters and a plastic pancake turner, ruler, or stick. Children can take turns standing on a chair by the counter while an adult supervises.

Editor’s note: Grandparents Teach ,Too is a non profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. Writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers.Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan (PAM), Upper Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children (UPAEYC), Northern Michigan School of Education, U.P. Children’s Museum, and NMU Center for Economic Education.