Kids Re-Design Board Games in After-School Program

Brooklyn Game Lab, a facility where kids can play board games, recently opened and is now offering an after-school board game program for kids in Brooklyn. The Park Slope after-school program has kids re-design popular board games to create a new game.

kids playing game at brooklyn game lab

Kenny Spalla oversees students playing Survive: Escape From Atlantis before designing their own modifications to the board game.

Brooklyn Game Lab, a student gaming facility, opened its doors February and is offering an after-school program for children ages 7 to 12 who are interested in leaving the realm of video gaming in favor of board gaming. Each game lab session is 2½ hours long and is split into three parts: game play, discussion, and design.

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After each game, students write down the ways that they would change or modify the game. They pitch their modification to the rest of the group and the kids then vote on the idea that they find most creative, strategic, and insightful. Once the games and discussions are over, each student works on creating their own game. “They key is game design,” says owner Robert Hewitt. “When kids finish making their original games, other kids play test them and give feedback.”

Through game play, Brooklyn Game Lab gives children the opportunity to develop skills such as critical analysis, deductive reasoning, and interpersonal communication. “Something that is really important is sportsmanship, learning how to lose, learning how to have a bad turn,” Hewitt says. “One of our mottos is losing is learning. When you play a chess game and you lose, you learn a lot more than when you win.”

The game lab is open afterschool Monday through Friday from 3:30-6pm, and during the summer Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm.