As I thought about this show more in the days to come and thought about its appeal to these children, I figured there had to be a way to make this game and use it for their education.
I wanted something a little different than a traditional board game. I decided to use library pockets (You know those card holders in the back of library books, before many libraries went completely to using computers to track books.) I cut these in half, and taped them to make two pockets out of each one, as I needed smaller pockets. I wrapped the pocket portion in clear Contact paper to make it more durable.
Then I glued these in three rows (five in each row) on a pretty blue file folder. I used some file folder labels that were trimmed in blue below each one to indicate the level of question. I used the same levels as they do on the show: $100; $200; $300; $500; $1,000; $2,000; $4,000; $8,000; $16,000; $32,000; $64,000; $125,000; $250,000; $500,000; and $1,000,000. I put a gold sticker on the $1,000 and $32,000 pockets to indicate these as safe levels (Once reached this progress can not be lost.)
Now for the part that became the biggest hit with the kids: I used flat wooden spoons (The kind you can get at stores when you buy a malt cup or single serving of ice cream.) to make their playing pieces. These fit nicely into the pockets. To personalize each, I cut a snapshot of the child and glued his picture to the stick. I made some extra "players" in case a friend comes and wishes to play. He could chose from the Big Bird or Winnie the Pooh game pieces.
I made some special "lifeline" cards:
50/50 - The question will be rephrased as a True/False question or a choice of two answers will be given.
HELP - The player may ask anyone available for help...this can include calling Grandma on the phone.
BOOK - The player may get any book in the house and look up information.
NEW QUESTION - The player may choose to receive a completely new question.
HINT - The player will be given an age appropriate clue.
At the beginning of the game, these "lifeline" cards will be shuffled and three dealt to each player OR players may select three of their choice....some players like different ones than others.
For the game that I gave to my son's family, I included two sets of question cards I had from a trivia game that I bought at a used curriculum sale. I gave them the set for first graders and second graders as these were the right ages for the boys. However, I later made them some cards fitting more with things they are actually working on.....but they were so excited and wanted the game NOW.
Play is similar to the game show. However, we wanted all players to be able to play at the same time, not just one "contestant" (though this is a great game for the "only" child).
All players place their game piece in the first pocket. In turn each is asked a question and if successful, they move their game piece to the next level pocket. They may use their "lifeline" cards any time they choose for assistance with a question.
Any time a player wishes, he may quit and keep the money he has won. I made some fun money and pay the children. They can keep this money forever.....I just print some more. If a child, misses a question, he must return to the last "safe" pocket and collect that amount of money. He may, however, remain in the game...he simply must start at the beginning again.
When I was playing with the grandchildren the first time, and Kris made a mistake, he was heartbroken, but the pain seemed less as he received some fun money and realized that he was not out of the game...that he could start fresh again, with new "lifeline" cards. As it turned out, Kris was forced to start over more often than his older brother Kyle, however, Kris ended up with more money when we quit playing for the day. They left their game pieces right in the pockets so they could start up in the same places the next time we played....which turned out being within an hour as they were excited to get back to winning more money.
This game is fun for the whole family. Each member can be playing at his own level as the questions can come from cards made/selected especially for each one. Mom and Dad can participate too...get the questions from an adult trivia game for them to use.