The games are primarily
developed to increase educational and cultural awareness of Italian and Italian American contributors to America and American
history. The card and word games provide knowledge about individuals and/or their accomplishments. The board games provide
knowledge about the geographical areas of Italy.
To make a game competitive,
or as an incentive to participate, offer a single prize or several prizes. Anything Italian-related, but specific to the game
itself would be appropriate – such as a book about one of the Italian artists or a CD of one of the musicians. However,
a gift certificate for a box of Italian pastries is also a great incentive! Get local Italian merchants involved in promoting
our heritage. The games can be expanded as fundraisers for scholarships or other charitable activities.
Desktop publishing makes it easy to print cards and graphics
on paper to make board games. Print the cards on cardstock or photograph paper for better quality and longer-lasting cards.
Print the map on cardstock and paste to foam board or heavy cardboard that is scored to fold. Use your Italian creativity
to make the cards colorful and attractive, which will make the game more interesting to play.
The games are easy enough for
anyone to print and play, and you can use any game rules. The level of involvement in preparing the game pieces and the game
itself are adaptable to the person preparing the game and the player’s available time and skills. Initially, preparing
and printing the game pieces will take a little time, but anything worthwhile does!
All the ideas below require
your involvement in learning more about Italian culture and heritage and passing it along to teach others, while continuing
to learn. If anyone has any ideas or would like to share their experiences, please let me know.
ALL GAMES CAN BE ADAPTED TO ALL SKILL LEVELS
All names and facts can be obtained
from Contributing to America. More information can be found by visiting the links provided with each name.
Children: Print two cards (about 3- by 4-inches) of as many names
as desired. (Ten names would be 20 cards.) Pictures can be added (be aware of the specific copyright laws of Web sites),
either an actual photograph or a symbol to represent the person’s skills. Shuffle the cards and lay them face down,
forming a large square. (Twenty cards will form a square 5 cards wide by 4 cards deep.) Each player selects two cards
to try and match. Play ends when all the cards have been paired. The player with the most pairs, wins.
Children: Print cards (about 3- by 4-inches) with name and photograph
of person, if possible. (Be aware of the specific copyright laws of Web sites.) Print a matching set of two or three more
cards with facts about the person – date of birth/death, education, influences, contributions. You can print a card
for each fact, or one card with several facts on it. This game can be played with any number of cards, depending on the skill
level of those playing. For starters you can print just one category of names, such as all Explorers, or you can print several
One way to play: (The fact cards also have the person’s name
on them.) The name cards are dealt, the fact cards are placed face down in a stack. The first player draws a fact card,
if it matches any name card in his or her hand, places the name card and the matching fact card face up on the table. If not,
the fact card is discarded, face up, and can be chosen by the next player or that player can select the next fact card at
the top of the deck. Game continues until all fact cards are drawn and matched with a name card. The player with the most
Print a map of Italy, sized at least 2 feet by 1½ feet. A colorful
geographic map showing the major cities and, if possible, the regional borders with the regions identified (like a map of
the United States shows and identifies the states) is best. You can also make a map of Italy, using an outline and adding
the regions and major cities.
Children can create a map on a large piece of white foam board. (This
can also be hung on the wall after completed, as a point of reference.) Color in the lakes, mountains, valleys, and coastal
regions. Draw regional boundaries and identify, and add major cities.
Print cards with geographical facts about the person to match with
towns or regions on the map. Place deck of cards face down. First player chooses a card and rolls dice. The number shows how
many seconds the player has to find the geographic area. If not found before time has expired, the card is placed at
the bottom of the deck. If found, player keeps card and places face up on the table. Play continues until all cards are
displayed. The player with the most cards, wins.
Older children or adult group: (Can play as two teams or individuals.)
Choose as many names as preferred from the list and place them in order, based on the number of letters in each name. Divide
the names into "rounds" based on how many people are playing. (Six people/teams, six rounds.)
Starting with the longest names, each player takes a name and
makes as many words as possible from it. (Can place a time limit.) Each round eliminates one or two players (who listed
the least amount of words) and proceeds to the next round of names. The player who finishes the final round with the
most words from a name, wins.