Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DIY Classroom Farkle Game

This year for my class at church I wanted to make them something extra special. I love these kids, and it is a joy for me to use my craft skills to make gifts. I started out making this as a Christmas gift, but then it turned into a Valentine's day gift. It's a lot of work when you are making multiple sets, and Christmas came and went before I was finished! This game would be great as a gift, but also would make a great game to pass the time inside the classroom. There is always down time where a quiet game will do the trick. 
DIY classroom farkle to make for classroom or teacher
Farkle is a game played with usually two or more players. You can bend the rules for a game played alone too. Each player has an opportunity to throw the dice which will equal a score. The scores accumulate more as the game goes on. Some turns result in no points being made. The first person to reach the goal score will be declared the winner.


teacher gift idea classroom farkle game with students photos

Kids love to see their faces on things. It makes it special to hold something in their hands that is uniquely theirs. All the kids I gave this game to were SO EXCITED! Some were literally jumping up and down as I handed out the gifts. They couldn't wait to play, and it didn't matter if they had a friend to join them. The kids played the game all by themselves too! The game is best for a few players, but can be used for solitary entertainment.

I started out by taking a picture of each child on a grey wall. This made an easy background for good face recognition later. The kids assumed I was going to give them a framed photo later for Christmas. Boy were they surprised to get their Farkle games!! I put the photos into Photoshop and sized them down very tiny! The size all depends on the wooden blocks you are going to glue them on to.


You can buy already cut blocks of wood from Hobby Lobby, or you can save money and buy long blocks of wood that you cube yourself. Either way it's a very inexpensive game to make. I have a miter saw, so I opted for the cheapest wood and set to work cutting my cubes. My cubes weren't perfect, but they pass the test for kids. Hobby Lobby sells the cubes in a variety of sizes. You can make them small dice, you could make them large! It's all about what you want. Just remember if they are too big, you might have trouble rolling all 6 of the dice together.

photo sheets of kid faces for Classroom Farkle

Once your cubes are cut, or purchased, it's time to size the photos to fit on the cube. This can be a little tedious as you glue the tiny photos on all 6 sides of the 6 dice required to make one set of Classroom Farkle. That's 36 photos you must glue on for one set of dice! I glued the photos on with Mod Podge. I did NOT seal them with Mod Podge. I'll explain why later.

A cube has 6 sides, so 6 different photos are required for each die. All cubes are made exactly the same. Just think of it as a regular die with the numbered dots from 1 to 6. The game needs 6 dice, so each of the 6 dice look exactly the same. (Except for the 1 Farkle die I explain later) If it makes sense in your head, assign each child a number. Then place their pictures on the dice in place of those numbers. Since I have more than 6 children in my classroom, the kids didn't get every single classmate in their game. I had to narrow it down and assign a few friends to their one-of-a-kind dice.

Photo cubes for classroom farkle

For Christmas one year I made Family Farkle for my son. He is an avid board game player. All of the Farkle dice had members of the family on it, with one side that had a family photo.

For these Classroom Farkle sets I thought it would be fun to make a special Farkle die. When you Farkle in the traditional game this means you rolled some non-scoring dice and your turn is immediately over, and all points you might have previously rolled during that one turn will be forfeited. To make the game even more fun, I called the die with my picture on it a Farkle. If they ever rolled the die with my picture showing, this would mean their turn is over with zero points added to the score.

You farkled die for Classroom farkle game

The special teacher Farkle photo is only on ONE side of ONE of the six dice. If you had the teacher Farkle photo on each die, it would make the game practically impossible to score on.



Classroom farkle dice with special teacher farkle die


This also means that one of the kids in your Classroom Farkle set will only have 5 photos instead of 6 like all the rest of the dice. When I gave the gift to the kids, I made sure the kid who only had 5 photos was NOT the one that gift set went to. Each set I made was unique for that kid it was given to.

After the photos were glued on each of the dice, I made sure to coat them in a Polycrylic protective finish. I bought this at Walmart in the paint section. This seals the photos in. In the past I have used Mod Podge, but found the items always stuck together and after time ripped the photos. So frustrating! This sealer does not stick to itself! It's water based and easy to clean up!

Polycrylic protective finish

Classroom Farkle is a little time consuming to make, but you are left with a beautiful, unique game the kids will LOVE. I made sure to personalize the directions for each child, with their friends names in the directions. This helps them understand what point value is given to each person. I also laminated their set of instructions so it can hold up to lots of use!

personalized Classroom Farkle instructions

Classroom Farkle Directions

To make the set all come together, I found some cute Valentine's Day pails at Dollar Tree. They came in sets of 2 for $1. I also found the plastic juice cups for shaking the dice up at Dollar Tree. You can get 6 of these small cups for $1. They fit perfectly in the small pails. I bought a paint pen, and wrote the name of each child on their bucket.

Dollar Tree Valentine's day pails and juice glass for holding dice


Farkle Directions
To get started: Each player must roll at least 500 points during one turn to get into the game. The players game entry score and subsequent scores are added up.

1. The first player rolls six dice and decides which dice they want to use for score. If they don’t roll a Zechariah (1) or Zakia (5) or other scoring combinations, their turn is over and they must pass the dice.
 Zechariah (1) = 100 points for each, Zakia (5) = 50 points for each

Scoring Combinations
3 Zechariah = 300    (DIE equivalent 1)                                     4 OF A KIND = 2000
3 Mariah = 200         (DIE equivalent 2)                                     5 OF A KIND =  3000
3 Ca'Shawn = 300   (DIE equivalent 3)                                     STRAIGHT = 1500
3 Carter = 400          (DIE equivalent 4)                                     3 PAIRS = 1500
3 Zakia = 500           (DIE equivalent 5)                                     2 TRIPLETS 2500
3 Kahzia = 600         (DIE equivalent 6)

2. Only Zechariah (1) and Zakia (5) count by themselves. Other people count as three-of-a-kind or more.

3. Dice can only count for score once. After dice are removed, you cannot add to them for a bigger score.

4. Some dice must be removed after every roll. You don’t have to remove all the dice that count, only the ones you want to use for score. Continue rolling and remove dice.

5. If you roll no scoring dice, your turn is over and you lose all the points you rolled on that turn. This is called a Farkle.

6. You may stop rolling at any time, take your points and pass the dice if you’re afraid of rolling a Farkle.

7. If you roll Ms. Amanda (the teacher) at any time, this is also considered a Farkle.

8. Rolling the dice off the playing surface means re-rolling all eligible dice.

9. When one player reaches 10,000 points, all other players get one more turn to try to beat them.

DIY Classroom Farkle for Valentine's Day craft

If you have any questions about how the game is played, or how I made some part of it, please feel free to ask. Hopefully I've inspired you to make a fun gift for your kids!

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