Camping Chess or Checkers Game

The next time you’re at the store getting things for your next camping trip, run over to your nearby craft store and pick up a couple of pieces of felt. That way, when you get home, you can throw together a cool chess or checkers game, which is great for taking camping. Don’t worry that the game will get dirty or ruined; it’s washable!

Buy or cut a 12″x12″ piece of white felt. Use a ruler to draw rows that are 1-1/2″x12″. You will create 8 rows of 8 squares. Mark off the individual boxes – each square is 1-1/2″. Leave the white squares as they are, and color in the black squares with a permanent marker. You don’t necessarily have to color each square so that it’s solid black. It could be black and white striped, or even polka-dotted, as long as the black squares are easily distinguishable from the white ones. You could even substitute black for green, red, or another color.

Take another piece of white felt, draw 4 rows of 8 squares, and cut them out. The white felt squares will be changed so that they become the chess or checker pieces. Cut pieces of peel-n-stick Velcro – or Velcro dots – and stick one to the backside of each of the white felt squares. You’ll use only the scratchy side of the Velcro and not the soft side. You’ll need just a small piece for each felt square.

You can do any number of things to make the game pieces. You can just write “king”, “queen”, or other names, on the felt squares with a marker. Or, you can use rubber stamps to put an image on each piece. Since rubber stamps can be a little costly you can also use a chess-theme stencil to create commonly-recognized chess piece images. Just draw them onto the white felt, or cut out the shapes to be smaller than the white felt pieces, and glue them onto the squares.

Make the images for each player’s pieces be similar but not exactly the same. For instance, the images can look exactly alike but you could make them one color for one player, and a different color for the other player. Or, put a marker dot on each corner of each player’s pieces so that the color of the dots reflect which player they represent.

Play chess or checkers as you normally would and, when you’re finished, you can even roll it up, tie it up, and toss it in your backpack. Just roll the felt – with all the pieces in place, and tie a ribbon around it. Glue or sew one area of the ribbon to an area on the felt to keep the ribbon in place. Take the game to the beach, on a camping trip, or anywhere you want to have some fun.

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