Games can be between adults, children or a mixture of the two. Card games, box games, verbal games, visual games, strategy games, logic games, sports, you pick.
This post is about the less strenuous varieties, those you can play almost anywhere at any time with anyone. No special tools or materials are necessary, and they are intended to relax you, not generate friction or illfeeling, though I know of several instances where the loser was far from graceful, and they were not the child playing! Games are supposed to be enjoyable and fun for all.
My favourites are probably Scrabble and Countdown as I love word and number games. Rather than have a winner and loser in our house, we go for a joint Scrabble score. Our personal best is just under 700, but I have no idea if that’s good in the eyes of the experts, but who cares? It’s a bit of fun and a change from sitting in front of the TV watching nothing in particular.
In my childhood, if we had visitors on a Sunday, we’d have a game before bedtime. This would range from New Market, Pontoon or Shoot (shock horror: gambling at such a young age, even if it was only for pennies!), Conasta or Monopoly. We all loved Auction Rummy, which was nothing to do with money but bidding with cards. You use 2 packs including the jokers and have to have at least 3 players, though it’s always much better with a group of you. We’d all gang up on someone by bidding for a card we didn’t really want thus making them bid to the maximum of 5, then getting out so that they all counted against them! Dad taught me how to play Cribbage when I was about 10 and we’d play nearly every night after my homework was done, 15 2-ing, 15 4-ing, 2 for a pair and one for his nob etc, which drove my Mum nuts if she was trying to watch Coronation Street or doing her knitting and counting stitches. I have never scored the maximum of 29, but came close with 28 once when playing against the computer. When I stayed with my grandfather for a fortnight in 1970, it wasn’t until my last weekend that he discovered I could play. It was one of his favourites, but boy, did he cheat!
What do you do to keep the kids occupied on a long car journey? We’ve all been there haven’t we.
‘Are we there yet?’ ‘Are we there yet?’ echoes in varying tones and choruses as you try to concentrate on the idiot in front who doesn’t know where his indicators are and you just have to guess what lane he wants. It gets to the stage where you feel like stopping the car, grabbing the little darlings and shoving them in the boot. They’d probably only torment the dog anyway.
‘I spy’ was always a favourite, until you find your kids are a bit too young to spell and their something beginning with L is grass (confused with lawn apparently). One of my favourite films is Brother Bear, and the two moose play I Spy. Every answer is ‘Tree’ and as it’s a bit of a joke with us now, we extended that and tried to remember different names of trees, or words ending with ‘tree’, or pretty close. Elemen-tree, personali-tree, hones-tree, hospitali-tree…… you get my drift. Indentifying animals in the fields was another and I once said ‘Look at the moo-moos over there’. The response was a resigned sigh and the statement, ‘Actually, they’re cows.’ That was from my nephew and he was 4. To break up the journey, we’d also look out for new cars or certain makes (Beetles were extremely popular in the 70s thanks to The Love Bug movies), then colours, vans, lorries with female drivers, but as with all kids, boredom soon sets in, and if they’re pretty young hopefully will eventually fall asleep.
There was a program on the radio every Saturday morning a few years ago where listeners phoned in with a record title beginning with each letter of the alphabet on whatever theme the DJ had chosen. The aim was to get at least 26 and thus one title for every letter, within an hour. I rang in often with several suggestions, but then the format of the program changed, as did the presenter, and it just wasn’t as much fun. Recovering from a minor operation last year, hubby hit on a new tilt to this theme, naming songs with the word ‘Ow’ in the title. We came up with some real classics, “‘Ow‘ much is that doggie in the window”, “24 ‘Ow‘ers from Tulsa”, “‘Ow‘ do you do what you do to me”, “It’s ‘Ow‘ or Never”. Well they do say laughter is the best medicine.
On our walks in the woods with the dog, hubby and I cover a lot of subjects, and every so often challenge ourselves with a word game or general knowledge, be it naming butterflies or birds, or something totally irrelevant to our surroundings such as 5 uses for a particular object. We once tried to name some of the wild flowers growing in the hedgerows and embarrassed ourselves by only knowing the poppy! We picked a small selection to take home, and then spent an enjoyable couple of hours teaching ourselves botony. It was an interesting exercise, and we managed to identify everything we’d picked, but sadly most of our newfound knowledge was forgotten by morning.
We have a large wooden box in the spare bedroom which is full of games, many we still play often. In addition to 2 packs of cards, Monopoly and Scrabble, we have Dominoes, Chinese Chequers, Mahjong, Upwords, Othello, Triominoes, Connect 4 and a similar game to Uno from New Zealand called Skip-Bo. There are also Suduko, Logic Puzzles and Crossword books in the bookshelf.
So, what games do you play? Perhaps I’ve given you a few ideas as to how to make a game out of just about anything, for children and adults alike. If so, enjoy.
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