Stuck at home with bored kids? Teach little ones to make their own miniature version of a foosball game.
Medium-sized cardboard box, utility knife, 4 plastic straws (2 red and 2 white, or use other colors), tempura paint (for decoration), 16-24 wooden grill sticks, 8 clothespins (4 in white, 4 in blue), marker, glue, light ball such as a ping-pong, rubber, or sponge ball
1. Make holes for the goals in the center of the wide sides of the box, making sure the ball is able to pass through each hole without difficulties.
2. Divide the box into equidistant quarters by making four sets of parallel holes along the long sides of the box. The holes should be slightly bigger than the plastic straws that will go into them.
3. Now is a good time to color and decorate the box, especially if using paint or anything else that will need time to dry.
4. For rods, place two to three wooden grill sticks inside each plastic straw to ensure the straws don't break. Seal ends of straws with glue and let dry.
5. After the box decorations and seals on the straws have dried, run straws through the four sets of holes that run along the length of the box.
6. For players, affix clothespins to straws, applying glue at the juncture where clothespin meets straw. (See photo for placement. I use UHU glue but Elmer's is ok.) The two different colors, for instance blue and white, represent two different teams. If you don't have two different colors, use marker to color one set of clothespins so as to differentiate it from the other. Affix one clothespin each on the straws that sit in front of each goal. Each clothespin should be in front of the center of each goal. One goal's clothespin should be blue and the other white. From the goal clothespin, place equidistant three of the other color clothespins on the next straws. So if a blue clothespin is in front of one goal, the next line of players should be white, then blue, with a white clothespin at the opposing goal. Let glue dry.
7. You're ready to play.
Note: If you use a larger or smaller sized box, then you will use more or less straws and clothespins. Straws and clothespins should fit without being cramped. If you use a larger box, you may need to make one rod out of two straws connected with tape.
Mark is a blogger who writes about everything foosball at foosballzone.com/harvard-foosball-table.