Handmade Family Bingo Game

It was back in March, coming home from our first amazing vacation of the year, when we got the idea for what to give Greg’s parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. On that vacation, we were visiting his parents, Warren and Susan, on Grand Cayman, and we got into the habit of playing a round of Ocean Bingo whenever we had some down time. That game featured hand-drawn pictures of sea creatures and weather phenomena to teach children about the ocean.

On a plane somewhere between Grand Cayman and Cincinnati, Greg and I were joking about our many games of Ocean Bingo, and I suggested he make a family bingo game. Nock Family Bingo. A brilliant idea was born.

Of course, it was left to Greg, the artist in our family of two, to make the game all it ended up being. He brainstormed ideas for each of the 50 pictures used in the game, getting a bit of help from his sisters and me. And then he set out to drawing.

There was a lot of drawing. And coloring. He included each member of the family. That’s me in the second row, and Greg is the fourth picture in the fourth row (when you draw the bingo set, you get to draw yourself however you like). He included family jokes, vacation memories, the blanket with the magical healing powers, the dog they had for 6 weeks, and things from his parents’ courtship and from his parents’ lives outside the family, too.

Once the drawings were complete, Greg scanned the images and brought them into Adobe Illustrator. He found a bingo board randomizing program on the internet (who knew!) to make up 10 boards. And he created files of the individual pictures to make into cards to be used by the bingo caller.

He saved the files as pdfs and printed them on cover-weight paper at Kinko’s (although I think we’re supposed to call it FedEx Office now). He found the bingo markers on Amazon. And we even found a perfect-sized metal box to hold the 8.5 x 11-inch boards, the cards, and the bingo markers at The Container Store.

On the first night of the Alaskan cruise, Greg presented the bingo game to his parents.

It was a pretty huge hit.

And so on this vacation, whenever we had some down time, we played a round of Nock Family Bingo.

It was great to see the grandkids, and even Greg’s sisters, learn new things about his parents. And it was so fun to see these jokes and characters from the past become real in the eyes of the grandkids. I heard Greg’s mom laugh more than once at the kids hoping the card for the old music teacher or the long-gone dog would get called. With Nock Family Bingo the stories have become part of the next generation.

Leave a comment


  1. Just noticed: my mom is wearing exactly the same earrings both in the game and in the photo of her receiving the game. Hilarious.

    Now I just have to work on a few revisions/corrections for an expansion-pack…

  2. Nancy Brooks

     /  August 25, 2012

    Christine, that is a true family treasure. What a sweet gift for them. Love it!

  3. What an awesome gift. Brilliant idea and execution.

  4. Stephanie Neumann

     /  October 15, 2012

    Hey Christine, I just came across your blog while looking at the Modern Quilt Guild site. Hope you and Greg are doing well. Where are you working now? I have retired to enjoy my grandkids, quilt, and do whatever I want to:)! I love the Nock family Bingo game you guys made for Greg’s parents, how awesome! I’m sure they share it with all their friends! Remember the quilt club we had at F&W? Funny, huh? I still see Mary Dacres about once a month and I see RobinRichie quite often. Let me know how you are doing and what is up with you and Greg.

    • Stephanie! It’s so good to hear from you. And congratulations on your retirement! I do think back on our F+W quilt club days sometimes—my very first quilt guild!


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