Fun Frugal (and Educational) Game For the Whole Family

Something like this can be the basis of a really fun game.
Read on.
Wouldn't it be nice if there was a game you could play without needing to spend any money on any equipment, that was fun, in which everyone in the family could participate? Wouldn't it be great if this activity not only was fun, but also was educational? Wouldn't it be awesome if this game could take up a fews minutes if that's all you had time for, but could be continued for longer periods of time and still not get too old?

Well, fortunately, there's this one game that fulfills all the above, which we can call “Mystery Game” for now. But before we get to it, one thing is for sure. We all know that scrabble is among the most popular, group games you can play with family and never get bored. It’s been around since the 1930s, yet it never gets old. But over the years, the word-finder game has evolved into various versions that are even more fun, the most popular one being Words with Friends. The best part about this latter version is that whenever you’re stuck and can’t seem to create a word that will earn you high scores against a competitive opponent, you can always rely on the words with friends tool to help you out. With this online tool, you won’t have to pass when it’s your move (which could cost you a win). While it can come to your rescue when you hit a wall during a game, this tool doubles up as a practice tool and helps you improve both your gaming skills and your word power. Talk about killing several birds with one stone!

Now, did we mention a “Mystery Game” somewhere? I didn't make it up, nor do I even know its name, but its provided us with entertainment many a time. I play it with my 2 and 4 year old sons when they are bored and acting up because of it and I don't want to make a mess. I played it with my boys when I was nursing my baby on a shopping trip and was offered a private room in which to nurse more comfortably and I didn't want my boys to start playing with the computers and equipment that was in that room but didn't want them to get whiney either. I've played it with older kids as well. And ok, maybe not every adult would enjoy playing it, but its something akin to Charades in that its not too jeuvenille for adults to play. I, for the record, do find it enjoyable to play.

So, how do you play it?

You take something. Anything. Doesn't really matter what.

And then, you tell people what you think it is, ideally demonstrating it in action.

And then the next person has his turn and announces what he thinks it is, and demonstrates it in action, only his answer must be different than yours.

After that, the next person has his turn and announces and demonstrates what he thinks it is, only it can't be what other people said already.

When everyone has a turn, you go back to the first person and do it again, trying to come up with even more ideas what the object could be. At a certain point, it'll be too hard to think of ideas anymore, so you pick another object.

That probably wasn't so clear, so I'll give an example.

A big plastic basin is the object de jour.

Person A puts it on her head and says "I think this is a hat".

Person B mixes it with a pretend spoon and says "I think it's a pot of spaghetti".

Person C says "I think it is a garbage can" and mimes tossing in the trash.

Person A places it on her belly and says "I think its a pregnant belly".

Person B flips it upside down, sits on it, and announces "I think its a chair."

Person C flips it right side up, sits inside it, and says "I think its a train."

Person A flips it on its side and rolls it and says "I think it's a wheel."

Person B holds it in his hands and says "I think it's a steering wheel."

Person C pretends to bob for apples in it, and says "I think it's a wooden barrel."

Person A flips it upside down, and attempts to "scale it" while announcing "I think its a mountain."

And so on, and so forth.

You can play the game with a shoe, with a scarf, with a flashlight, with a ladle, with a disposable cup, with an earring, with a blanket, with a rock, with a leaf, really ANYTHING.

This game is so versatile precisely because you can pick up anything in your vicinity to play the game, so it can keep kids entertained on a bus, at a bus stop, in a doctor's office, at the grocery store while you're nursing the babe, as above, or even just at home when you're looking for something to do.
What I like about it is it stretches your brain and creativity to look at objects and the world in a way that you normally wouldn't... I assumed at first that Ike, at only 2 years and 5 months wouldn't be able to play this game so well, but he surprised me- he understood the concept of the game immediately and came up with some very creative ideas- better than mine even, at times, so don't automatically assume your child would be too young to play.

Have you ever played this game? Do you think its something your kids would enjoy playing? What is the name of this game if you know? If you don't know its official name, can you help me come up with one?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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