It all started in a tent. In the middle of a living room floor. I was putting the two older children I was watching to bed. In a tent. In the middle of the living room. Seriously.
The boy wanted to play a game before falling asleep. For this game, all you had to do was invent a game. Any game.
His seven-year-old sister rolled her eyes but immediately became involved. The five-year-old expressed his desire to have a game that involved dragons and knights and battles. And zombies. The girl was being silly and would like to see Pony Race, a game where ponies race each other, and you win a horse. My game (Evil Tooth Fairy), involved a battle between tooth fairies. You’d have to race against other tooth fairies to collect the most teeth, even if it means pulling them out of kids’ mouths after they are asleep. The girl asked me what the prize for winning would be. A cavity, of course.
I know I should have left that tent earlier, sat down at the table, continued working on a plot map for a novel I am revising. But how much fun is it to pretend you can invent ridiculous games? Imagine a game called Girls vs. Crocodile (tame a wild gator) or Psychedelic Zebra (dye a zebra different colors). Or a game in which you have to shave a beard that keeps growing, and you win a haircut (the kids loved that one). Or my personal favorite, Sandcastle Destroyer, where all you have to do is build sandcastles and then knock them down.
We were having so much fun that I didn’t realize it was way past bedtime. Try this game with your kids or yourself. Imagine a game, any game. The options are endless. What would you have to do to win? Would there be a prize?