Looking for a creative indoor activity for kids for those cold winter days? This Clay-O-Rama game is fun and easy!
Winter has been particularly cold this year, forcing us indoors most of the time. During Christmas break, we had done every indoor activity for kids a person can think of; we played Barbies and Star Wars, we got through many levels of my sons new Skylanders, and I was getting a little sick of the fake Strawberry Shortcake smell. It was at this moment of desperation that my mind clawed back into the deep recesses to find a silly game that I played as a teen with my younger cousins.
Clay-O-Rama: A Fun indoor activity for kids
I did not invent this game. It was an article in Dragon Magazine, back when Dungeons & Dragons was popular. You can find the original rules here. I used the rules as a guideline and just winged most of it. The game is called Clay-O-Rama, and it is a silly way to have battles between clay creatures that you get to make up. This game requires some flexibility on the part of the participants, because as a group you have to decide on whether the powers that each person wants to give their creature are fair. Balance is important, though fun is the goal.
Supplies for this indoor activity for kids:
- 2 dice
- Paper and Pencil
- Clay or Play-doh
Basic Rules for creating your creature for this fun indoor activity for kids
- Each person gets to make a creature out of clay (or play-do, which is what I used). It is important that each person start with the same amount of clay, which is divided between the body of the creature, and the missiles that can be launched. If someone were to dedicate all of their clay to the body (and thus have no missile ability), that creature would start with 100HP (the maximum). If half of the clay were dedicated to missiles, then that creature would only have 50HP. In truth it does not matter what the maximum number is, so long as balance is kept. As a group determine how large a small, medium, and large missile should be, and how much damage. We gave small missiles 1 die of damage, medium 2 dice damage, and large 3 dice damage.
- The creature needs a way to move, and a movement rate given to that. The article suggests using hand spans as the unit of measurement, but make sure you pick one persons hand, otherwise someone with a smaller hand is at a disadvantage. So if the creature has 2 legs, it can move at 2 spans, 3-4 legs at 3 spans, 5 or more legs at 4 spans. A creature might have no legs, but perhaps can roll, and the movement rate should be determined for that.
- The creature also needs a method to attack with. If it can launch missiles, there needs to be a launch platform, whether it is a tail that throws the missile or a gun the creature carries. If the creature can make melee attacks, those attack methods need to be created as well, whether it be clawed arm or sharp-toothed maw. Should these appendages be knocked off during the battle, they are considered out of action.
- The last thing the creature needs is its special attack. Encourage creativity here, and then decide on what the power does in terms of damage, and how it is employed. If it is part of a melee attack, then a hit must be successful for the special attack to come into play. The article gives several examples of possible powers, to give a sense of how powerful they should be.
The rules state that everyone should be given 20 minutes to create the creature, which is a good rule. Once the creature is created the info for it must be written out on a paper (Name, HP, Missiles, Melee Attacks, Special Attacks). A good clean surface should be prepared for the battle (we used the dining room table, but as a kid we used a billiard table with the ping-pong accessory on top). Have everyone position their creature as far as possible from each other to start the battle.
Everyone rolls 2 dice to determine who goes first. The highest number goes first, and then down to the lowest. This order does not change. Each turn goes as follows; the creature can move up to its full movement (or not move), the creature may fire as many missiles as it has ways to launch them, if the creature is close enough to do a melee attack, it may do so (some creatures may have multiple melee attacks, and all should be done), and finally the attacked creature may counter-attack with as many melee attacks as it has, though those attacks will not be available for its attack turn this round.
To determine if a missile hits, the player must stand a foot behind the starting point of its creature and physically hit the target creature. If it scores a hit, roll damage. To determine if a melee attack hits, roll two dice. If the result is 8 or higher, a hit is achieved, roll damage (typically 1 dice, though it can be higher with larger limbs, as determined at creation). During the attack phase the creature may employ its special attack, although most require a successful hit roll. Deciding on how much damage a special attack does often require the flexibility that I mentioned earlier. Adults can compromise easily enough, but children sometimes have difficulty with this. If you know your child is sensitive to this sort of thing, be mindful of it when creating the basic rules at the beginning. Be clear upfront to avoid conflict, because this is supposed to be fun.
We played this indoor activity for kids twice, each time taking an hour to complete, and it was a lot of fun for both the kids and me. Looking for another indoor activity for kids? Check out this fun DIY Indoor Ice Fishing Game!