In the modern-day of gadgets, screens and cyberspace it is refreshing to play a few old-fashioned, time-honoured games which involve nothing but a few willing participants. These games are, I often find, best played in moments of extreme boredom and/or desperation. I-Spy is one such past-time. Starting with colours (something that is…red) and, as my children learn to read, moving on to phonics (something that starts with….B). We are wont to play it in doctor’s waiting rooms, Pizza Express and on looong journeys. Having three kids, all of whom seem to have inherited my competitiveness, I have learned through bitter experience to take turns in having a go and not let the guesser get the next turn. Otherwise your eldest child will rule the roost and take great satisfaction in gloating over the weeping younger siblings.
Car games are always the best. Aside from I-Spy we play visual bingo which is who can spot certain, carefully chosen things such as a slippery road sign (my son’s favourite) or a living animal (we get a lot of road kill around here). This is, I unsuccessfully stress to them, not a competition, but a joyous observation game we can do as a team. Yeah, I know…
The favourite game to play in the car is The Lorry Game. This is not great for young children, so my husband and I usually play it when the kids are asleep and all our *ahem* stimulating conversation has ceased. It involves us choosing four lorries (only one supermarket allowed) and getting one point every time you spot one of your lorries and if you get all four, then the game is over. We have been playing this for years and so my four lorries are firmly established. Waitrose (I remain loyal), Norbert Dentressangle (although I can’t pronounce it), Argos (surprisingly frequent) and my pièce de résistance, Royal Mail or Parcelforce (who are diligently delivering parcels all over the UK and boosting my score no end). If you want to play, the lorry has to pass you (either side of the road) and be moving not parked. Try it – honestly the M1 has never been so exciting….
One last game, which is always a goodie, is what we call Amazon Zulu. Basically going through the alphabet in turns and trying to name different categories of things..fruit, breeds of dog, pop groups…that sort of thing. Good one to play with the kids or as a drinking game – such versatility!
Now, if you are sitting there thinking…crikey, the long winter evenings must just fly by in that household….don’t judge me. I don’t get out much. And I do like to win. Yes, even against the kids.