The Games People Play (If Those People are Children)

Written by Emily

I’m preparing for summer. You’ve heard the expression “like it’s my job”? It usually goes something like this: “I’m going to devour those wings like it’s my job” or “I’m going to take a nap like it’s my job” (as if anyone takes their job that seriously). Rarely does the expression accompany things that could be a job like doing taxes. Anyway, I’ve been preparing for summer like it’s my job…but it is. It’s my job. My three children will be in my care from morning until night everyday. Everyday? Like as in every single day? Whatever. No big deal. And no, that’s not a nervous twitch. I’ve always done that. I do that when I’m really excited.

Back to it. Summer. I’ve got morning circle time planned, random acts of kindness at the ready, a chore basket in the works (nothing says summer break like a chore basket!), and crafts on stand-by for rainy days. Thank you, Pinterest!

While I was straightening up the house today, it occurred to me. I need to step away from Pinterest (again!) and pick up on the clues my kids are lobbing at me like frozen water balloons. Subtly is not their strength…or maybe it is, and I just never noticed because I was checking Pinterest for the best ways to teach things like subtly, focus and listening.

I don’t need Pinterest to find games for my children this summer. They show me the games they want to play:


Sock Scramble:

Early on my kids developed a special knack for rocketing their socks across the room–one at a time in different rooms. They’re probably prodigies. Sock Scramble fine tunes that skill in a game the whole family will enjoy. To play, mom and dad deal mismatched socks from the Sock Kilimanjaro that tumbled out of the dryer. The kids get to catapult those puppies all over the room until their shoulders ache. Next, in a scene that mirrors every morning of their lives, Mom announces in a passive aggressive song: “We have to be in the car in 2 minutes. Find your socks and shoes!” Suddenly the game turns into a mad dash to make matches, which, of course, will never happen because the matches are in the car, behind the couch and under their pillows where they tossed them days ago. There are no winners, but it’s an adventure every time!

Texas Fold ‘Em:

Inspired by Kenny Rogers’s Gambler, “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run” in this wacky game of speed and skill. Texas Fold ‘Em begins with a pile of laundry. As soon as the basket touches down, it’s a race against the clock. Mom or dad fight to the finish, folding at record speeds while the children (ages 2 or under) nimbly unfold each and every article of clothing with unmatched dexterity. Older children serve as a distraction in this family fun, making demands, feigning injury–anything their imaginations can muster to divert the parents from the task at hand thus making the toddler a sure winner every time. I’m over-the-moon thinking about the school-readiness skills my children develop in this fast-paced game: hand-eye coordination, teamwork, fine motor skills, gross motor skills.

Dinner Dodge:

In this game of strategy only the most cunning, deceptive, shrewd players survive (well, if one can survive on Gogurts alone). It’s a game of chance to be sure. In Dinner Dodge, the quick-fingered may not always best the slow, calculating staller. Will distractions be the thing to avoid ingesting another bite of broccoli? Could patience and waiting be enough to break Mom and Dad’s will? It’s anyone’s guess in this fascinating, dinner table match-up. And, folks, this one NEVER gets old. Trust me.

Snack and Sling:

Can you say road trip? Now say “road trip with children” without cringing. If you couldn’t do it, you’ll LOVE Snack and Sling. An hour into the trip, mom or dad doles out some healthful snacks to calm the restless savages in the back seat. When the snack provider    turns around and is once again fastened in her seat, the action begins. The children deftly hurl their snacks at one another, hide them in vehicle pockets no one knew existed and grind them into the floor until they are one with the carpet fibers. Will Mom notice the mess at the next rest stop? Will she fall for an hysterical bathroom ruse? It’s all part of the game. The winner is the one who isn’t crying.

Opposites Attract:

The rules of the game are simple. Mom or dad set a pace; the children demonstrate the exact opposite pace. This game is most fun with a deadline looming, so it’s best to use a little pretend-play. For example, mom pretends she has to race out the door for an appointment, the children do their best to delay the exit. Stall tactics may include but are not limited to: bathroom needs, clothing malfunctions, lost toys, spills of any kind. Ticking clock not included. You’ll find your children master the concept of this game long before they can verbalize it. Well, mine did, but as I said, they’re gifted.

With these five games to fall back on, this is bound to be the best summer ever. I feel much more relaxed. I can’t wait.

Categories: Emily

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7 replies

  1. “Opposites Attract” is my favorite- every sentence! What do you mean by “random acts of kindness?”

    • I have a list of kindnesses we’re going to do this summer…simple things like writing thank-you notes, making donations to our local Goodwill. The kids helped me create a list (like the chores). Pinterest 🙂

      And opposites attract…everyday at our house! Everyday!

  2. Yay kids! I had to chuckle at this line “Subtly is not their strength…or maybe it is, and I just never noticed because I was checking Pinterest for the best ways to teach things like subtly, focus and listening.”

    I chuckled because the other day one of my blogger pals wrote a lengthy post lamenting the fact that she’s not spending enough time with her kids and how she hopes to be better at spending time with them.

    Me: “Uh, where were they when you were typing that long post?”
    Her: “Right behind me playing on the floor. I know because I had to tell them to keep quiet a couple of times.”
    Me: “Uh….”
    Her: “What?”
    Me: “Really?”
    Her: “Shut up Don!” Lol.

  3. My kids like this game they call garbage. It can be ‘fun’ for the whole family. They pile all of their small toys in a big pile somewhere in the house and use trucks and tractors to move the pile from place to place. Mom and dad can join the fun later by sorting the trash and recycling everything back into the proper containers in the toy room. I’d really love it if the kids caught on to the recycling part of the game but apparently it’s too complex.

  4. Texas Fold ‘Em…yes!! Happens EVERY TIME! Haha

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