2 Brilliant Boredom-Buster Books for the Young (& Young-at-Heart) just in time for hours of Summer Fun

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Note: I was not compensated in any way or otherwise influenced in writing this post.  This post came about simply because I read a book and got so jazzed, I had to share its awesomeness with all of you.

I had a different post planned for today, but last night I finished reading Great Big Book of Children's Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids, Ages 3-14 and got so excited about it and its potential to catalyze your summer, I just knew I had to write about it immediately!

At first I was so fired up, I thought about doing a whole series of posts on the book, complete with photos of the games in action, along with details that highlighted certain games in the book that seemed especially riotous.

Then I remembered that I did not have a whole slew of kids in my house to photograph trying these games out and that the one child I do have has not yet reached the minimum age of three that is suggested as best for many of the games described in this enlightening book.

So even though we might not be playing any of these games around the Healy House for a few years yet, that won't stop me from eagerly anticipating and planning out future game get-togethers with friends and family in the meantime!

This book begins by suggesting several ways to choose "it," (or the player who will be going first).  Some, like Heads or Tails or Rock, Paper, Scissors came to my mind immediately, but others like Odds and Evens or Rotten Egg had been forgotten by my been-away-from-the-primary-classroom-for-a-year-and-already-I've-forgotten-some-kid-tricks brain.

A couple of these ideas were actually completely new to me and I think all of them would be helpful for not only teachers in the classroom, but even spouses trying unsuccessfully to decide which DVD to choose from their shelf of library check-outs to watch for the night... [ahem]

Section two highlights card games, ranging from basics like Go Fish to six different versions of Rummy.  Card games are always a great option for traveling, because they're so versatile and portable and don't take up space like a board game does.

The next three sections of the book don't require any supplies at all, or if they do, it's usually just a paper and a pencil.  These include mind games like I Spy, word games like Hangman, and pencil-&-paper games like Tic-Tac-Toe.  These game examples are some I felt everyone would recognize, but gosh, these chapters were just loaded with all sorts of interesting games I'd never even heard of.

Chapter 6 covers tabletop games, which sometimes make use of dice, dominoes, or a basic checker board.  Chapter 7 lists sidewalk and blacktop games like Hopscotch, Jump Rope, Jacks, and Marbles.

The three sections that follow cover kid classics such as hunt/hide-and-seek games (like Kick the Can), races & relays (like the 3-Legged Race), and tag & chase games (think Duck, Duck, Goose).  I immediately thought of how helpful these ideas could be to a teacher on the playground or for a field day.

Up next are ball games (like Dodge Ball), strength & wrestling games (like Tug-of-War), water games (like Marco Polo), and party games (think Musical Chairs).

The final section to describe is quite possibly my favorite: road games.  These include my all-time favorite Alphabet Game as well as the classic Find All 50 search for license plates.

Just writing about these ideas has me all crazy to go play them, so poor G might be in for a game-a-thon soon...we'll have to try them out ourselves before Gv gets old enough to join in on the fun, right?
Another thing I really liked about this book is the way the index was organized.  You can search for games by number of players as well as for certain age ranges.  I can already see using this index to help me choose which game to next introduce to Gv...probably even before she turns 3, because I just don't think I can contain myself that long!

Besides being a great resource for parents to have, this book would be great for teachers, baby-sitters, camp counselors, church youth workers, sport coaches, really anyone who works with the young (or young-at-heart) to have on hand to grab in a pinch when you need a fun time-filler, you're holding a kids' event, a family reunion, or throwing a birthday party!

Here's a link to the book again, so you can grab one for yourself:

The other book that I love for all-around fun that would be especially wonderful for summer playtime is The Games Bible: Over 300 Games - the Rules, the Gear, the Strategies .  This is seriously one of our favorite books - we got it for a wedding present and have since given it as a gift to several couples and families ourselves.  It's primarily geared toward older (tween and up) game-players, but provides many options for including children as a part of family game nights, too.

Like the previous book, it is conveniently laid out into well-organized chapters (many of the games in this book are original, so I'm linking to some of my favorite board games that are similar in order to give you an idea of what these types of games would be like):

1.  Icebreakers (get-to-know-you games, great not just for parties, but also training classes and even introductory meetings of college courses!)

2.  Guessing Games (think Charades)

3.  Indoor Frolics (movement & pure silliness around the house, like in Hallway Bowling)

4.  Conversation Games (good for interesting chats around the dinner table, although some of these scream to be played at bachelor or bachelorette parties)

5.  Literary & Word Games (similar to some of my favorite board games, like Malarky and Balderdash)

6.  Right-Brain Games (games that remind me of the board game Cranium)

7.  Games of General Cleverness (think of a board game like Scattergories)

8.  Victorian Parlor Games (my favorite one, Vowels, totally reminds me of an episode (You Jump, I Jump, Jack) of Gilmore Girls where members of the Life & Death Brigade couldn't use the letter "e" when they spoke.  Love that show!) 

9.  Holiday Games (great for family gatherings, some would definitely make fun traditions)

10.  Games for Gamblers & Bluffers (Poker stands out as an example)

11.  Trivia Games (taking the concept behind Trivial Pursuit to a whole new level) 

12.  Card-Game Refresher (Canasta or Pinochle, anyone?)

13.  Brainy Games for Two (Tic-Tac-Toe and beyond)

14.  Games for a Weekend Away (like Geocaching or a Murder Mystery Weekend, many of these would be perfect for families who like to rent beach & mountain houses together in the summer)

15.  Impromptu Games (Punch-Buggy!)

16.  Outdoor Games (think back to your summer camp days - Capture the Flag as well as lawn games like Croquet)

This book also includes a great index, listing the games by super-descriptive categories (many games fit into more than one category, making them really versatile!)

These are the categories of the games in this book:
  • Athletic Games
  • Cocktail Party Games
  • Family Games
  • Games Best Played with Strangers
  • Games for Quiet, Small Groups
  • Games for the Waiting Room
  • Geeky Games
  • New Games
  • Noncompetitive Games
  • Online Games
  • Silly Games
  • Theatrical Games
  • Travel Games
Again, this book would be helpful for youth-group functions, bridal and baby showers, and corporate team-building activities, in addition to game nights or parties in general.  It's one of the first things I pack for an extended trip, too!

Here's the link again to this fabulous book:
With both of these books in your personal library, you (and your kids) should never be bored again!  Best of all, pretty much all of the ideas in these books provide free entertainment (once you buy the book) and who couldn't use more of that this summer? 

Are you looking for a great way to store the board games you already have?  See if you're brave enough to do what I did with all of ours!

Do you enjoy playing games, or have a family game night on your weekly or monthly schedule?  These two books are indispensable for every game-lover's library!  Tell me what you think - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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