20 January 2020

| Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children | "Play, Folks, Play!" - The Importance of Games & Playtime

Games.  They’re a wonderful part of life.  For children they’re not just fun but learning experiences.

As infants one of the first games I played with my boys’, my Things’, was “How Big?”  They learned to stretch out their arms and legs to show me “So Big!”  Interaction.  Action and response.  Not long after came “Peek-a-Boo!”  That’s when they learned that things didn’t disappear just because they couldn’t see them.

As they got older, the games changed.  Go Fish and War are fun card games with numbers.  Uno is a game I loved playing with my Things’ and our middle granddaughters.  (Note:  Beware.  I tend to get -all- the kids and grandkids mixed up; their spouses included.)  It’s mostly colors and numbers, and you can ‘bend’ the rules to accommodate the playing field.  Our girls ranged from 3 to 5 when we first started playing, but it was our favorite game.  I love playing it with my aunt and grandmother too – but my aunt cheats.  I’ll get a -big- hug and kiss from my grandmother for writing so.

Yatzee is another favorite.  The roll of the dice with addition/subtraction lessons.  We could carry the score cards for weeks until someone won the game.

My Thing 4 learned Black Jack by the ripe old age of 4 from his Uncle.  Don’t ever play Black Jack with him.  You don’t stand a chance.  His mind and numbers are one.  The most trouble he got into was high school math/algebra.  He could look at a problem, write the answer, and never show his work.  He didn’t cheat, he just couldn’t explain.  (I do that with Sudoku, so I really can’t fault the child.  It still pisses my mother off that I do my puzzles in ink.  “One number for each square, Grasshopper.”)

Don’t play Thing 4 in Chess, either.  That child is a -master- when it comes to strategy games.  The last time I saw him play chess (I won’t play with him anymore) he had three of his friends playing against him.  He had to wear a head-set, music playing loud, while they strategized their next move.  Long story short, he won.  He’s also got a laser chess set.  Just don’t go there.

When the kids got older they got into more physical games.  That was good, too.  I didn’t play soccer or volleyball, but target shooting water balloons with a -massive- sling shot was way too cool.  I hung in there tough until they changed the rules on badminton.  When they got extra points for a body-shot on mom it was bad.  EXTRA-extra points for head shots on mom took me out of the game.

We got to spend some time with our 4 year old grandson this past weekend.  I have to admit I was a little disappointed when he first got here.  He kept his eyes on a screen.  Games, videos... I didn’t know they made special Ipads for little kids. 

He finally came around though.

I got out the “I-Spy” quilt my mom made.  It’s beautiful and -perfect-.  One side has a state map of the U.S. with road prints on the sides.  The other side is patched with almost everything you can imagine.  Animals, colors, shapes, sizes…  We played for -hours- on it.  On the state side I’d pick a state and he had to jump on it.  He knows where Georgia is (in a 4-year-old mind), and all the other states, to the best of his comprehension.  Bless his heart, he knows it’s snowing in Ohio, he saw the pictures my mom sent, but can’t quite comprehend snow.  We played “Pick the vehicle” on the roadways. Bus’s, cars, police cars.. we searched hard for a motorcycle, but we finally found one when we flipped the quilt over.  That’s when we started taking turns playing “I Spy.”  Colors, numbers, animals, shapes…  I do believe he beat me.  

Play, folks.  PLAY!!!

- Bess Tuggle