Here’s a fun craft for kids – build a classic Pac-Man game out of a cardboard box! This game has a cool magnetic twist – kids can “play” the game by moving the game pieces with a magnet wand.
This project uses materials from around the house, and it’s a great boredom buster for an afternoon at home.
I think that it would be fun to do a cardboard box video game challenge with a STEM club, class, or scouting group. It would be fun to see what different video games the kids can create!
The idea for this cardboard box Pac-Man game came from a reader named Isaiah. He sent us photos of his magnetic Pac-Man game and offered for us to use the idea on our site. Thank you so much, Isaiah! This is a brilliant idea that we had a lot of fun with!
Video Demonstration! Here’s a peek at our Pac-Man game in action! Click the play button in the center of the video screen to start the video.
- Cardboard Box
- Black paint OR black construction paper
- Yellow paint
- Yellow duct tape
- Popsicle sticks – we used both regular length and short length, but if you don’t have the short ones, you can just cut them with scissors.
- Card stock or a file folder
- Paper clips
- Hot glue or another type of craft glue
- Magnet wand – or, make your own magnet wand with a craft stick and a magnet
- A utility knife (for an adult to use!)
How to Make a Cardboard Box Pac-Man Game
Start by taping your box closed. But before you do, cut away the interior cardboard flaps on the top of your box. (We used the bottom as the top because it was in better condition.) You want the magnet wand to go through just one layer of cardboard to make the game pieces move, not two.
Paint the top of your box black to be the screen. We used acrylic paint.
Once the paint has dried, add a border of yellow duct tape around the screen.
Then, go ahead and make some Pac-Man guys. We used card stock for extra durability, but paper will work just fine too!
Tip: Trace a plastic bottle cap to get a nice round circle. Then draw the mouth. Outline the whole thing in black, and color it yellow.
Build the maze course on your game by gluing down craft sticks. If you use a low temp glue gun, kids can do the gluing. We use our low temp glue fun for everything, ha ha.
As you make the maze, you’ll want to check to make sure that your Pac-Man can fit through all of the passageways.
Kids can design their game to look like the real Pac-Man video game, or they can get creative and make their own layout!
Once you have your maze complete, add some yellow dots to make it look more like the video game. The dots won’t actually disappear, but it’s still fun to make Pac-Man run through the course and pretend to eat the dots!
I made the dots with yellow acrylic paint and a small paintbrush. It doesn’t matter if the dots are not as neat as what I did. Kids can have fun with this!
Make some ghosts and to add paper clips to both the ghosts and the Pac-Man guys. The paper clips will allow the magnet wand to move the characters around.
Before playing with your game, you’ll need to cut a large slit in the side of the box so that you can insert the magnetic wand. This is best done with a utility knife – adult job only!
Then it’s time to play! Make Pac-Man travel through the maze without getting attacked by the ghosts!