Grandparents Teach, too

Children often devise their own games

Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. (Courtesy photo)

Some of the best games young children play are those they make up themselves with very little equipment. When they learn how to create their own fun that terrible word “bored” just doesn’t come out of their mouths.

Michael and Matthew ages 9 and 11 found themselves on a one- hour ferry ride with 75 people on the Potomac River to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home. They had two quarters, a few little boxes, a few empty plastic cups and a table with a little cloth.

Creative fun

What could they do since they didn’t have books or pencils and paper? These two boys designed a game of flick the quarter using their thumb and a finger. Grandma didn’t say a word and just watched.

They took turns making little trench obstacles with a cloth on the table, and strategically located their other junk. The game rules were similar to golf, hockey and soccer. Then they took turns counting how many little flicks it would take for the quarter to reach the goal. The table top was rearranged into more complicated challenges as the games progressed.

Children are very resourceful when we allow them to be. A good time to try this is on vacation. Leave all the usual toys behind except a for a soccer ball or blow up beach ball. Think of how simple packing will be. What can be done with a ball? How many tries does it take to lob it over a shed or across the yard? How many times in a row can the ball go over a shed to a person on the other side? How many cans can they knock down if the ball is used like a bowling ball?

If at a cottage and there are fallen trees the family can make an obstacle course to run through. Children can tie a rope between two trees and play volley ball or play a game of kickball.

Paper and pencil

If the family is stuck on a rainy day dig up some paper and pencils. Most people know how to play the traditional version of Hangman. But what about kids who aren’t yet master spellers? Play it like 20 Questions. Think of a thing or animal. Ask a yes or no question. Each time the answer is no, add another part to the Hangman figure.

To play Zentangle everyone draws a zig-zag line or the year on 5×5 papers and passes to the next person. Everyone has two minutes to add to the design before adding it to the next person. The object of the game is to turn each paper into a work of vacation art. For more see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com, wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons, Facebook or Pinterest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.