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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Play These Games, by Heather Swain

Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items is one of those practical idea type of books. Heather Swain uses basic household items (such as balloons, buttons, beans and even books!) to create fun diversions for little ones. If you aren't very creative when it comes to thinking up ideas for games your kids can play (with you, by themselves or with others) than this might be a useful book for you to browse through. I also rather think this is the type of book that a preschool through grade school teacher might like to have on hand to work game playing into their classroom.

In Play These Games, Swain begins by talking about the important role that games play in the lives of children. She argues that games teach socialization skills, and also contribute to brain development. She provides a basic list of materials that she uses in this book - most of which are household items. For every item she lists (e.g., a button or hoola hoop) she gives you about five or six game suggestions. The explanations and instructions for the games are extremely easy to understand and are frequently accompanied by black-and-white drawings to help illustrate her directions.

Whether or not you would enjoy this book is entirely dependent on how creative a person you are. Personally, I'm not all that creative in the game department. (My husband is the game player in our family and our kids tend to follow suit.) A few of the games Swain describes in this book are ones that my husband has "made up" with our kids, albeit with different names for the activity than she provides. Still, there were a few ideas in this book that I thought were rather clever and would prove to be laughing good fun - like the family photo memory game. (We are so going to have to make our own memory game using family pictures! I think our kids would think that a riot!)

Play These Games is a practical guide, encouraging you to look around your house for objects to entertain your children with. In a day and age when the idea of entertainment generally centers around buying lots of toys to clutter your house, it's refreshing to see books coming out which encourage you to make use of things that you already have. Such a book builds contentment and really plays (har, har) to the idea that a family who knows how to have fun together has everything that they really need already. That's a message I can get behind.

If this book sounds like something that you or someone you know might be able to make a lot of use out of, I'm happy to inform you that Penguin Books has offered to give one copy of Play These Games to one of my readers here at Reading to Know.

To win? Simply leave a comment below (including a valid e-mail address!) This contest will be open through Monday, May 7th and is open to U.S. Residents only.


THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER, as selected by Random.org, IS #5- MIKAILA! Congrats!


Many thanks to Penguin Books who kindly sent a copy of this book my direction, and who generously offered an additional copy to one of my readers!

15 comments:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Looks like fun! Sign me up!

shostagirl said...

My Dad had this game that we all played together when we were ready for church on Sunday morning and waiting for Mom and the baby to be ready. (haha... it was also an incentive to be dressed, ready, and have eaten breakfast early) He hid a red thimble in plain sight (so you didn't have to move anything to find it) and we wandered around looking for it. If you saw it, you had to run and sit on the couch and shout "huckle buckle beanstalk" before anyone else. Then you got to hide it.

Annette {This Simple Home} said...

OOO...I love the game that Shostagirl suggested! I do think this book would be fun. My kids will pounce upon a made up game when introduced...and my oldest like to keep it going later. However, I don't do it very often. :(

Queen of Carrots said...

This sounds really cool. I could use some game ideas. Candyland is getting old. O:-)

Mikaila said...

What a FUN and useful book! Jordan tried telling me last night that the TV "isn't always on" and that he just has "nothing else to do". Uh huh.

*carrie* said...

Neat idea. We're always looking for inspiration around here! =)

Rainbow said...

Thank you Carrie! I'm always on the look out for new games to play with our two sons.

texasrainbow2006@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the giveaway...love new ideas for fun times with the kiddos!

Jen N
artandjen at juno dot com

bekahcubed said...

What a neat idea. It's always great to have an abundance of game ideas up one's sleeve.

Tore said...

Sounds like a great book. What a good idea. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Alison said...

This book looks interesting to me because I'm in an anti clutter/toys phase right now.

Julia said...

What a fun book! My dad and I used to play a rhyming game, finding absurd words and trying to rhyme them with other words.

julesreffner(at)gmail(dot)com

alison chino said...

What a wonderful idea for a book!

I am so uncreative about games. It seems like we just play the same ones over and over!

I would love this resource for at home and at church!

Patricia said...

I'd love to win this! I'm always looking for ideas for games and creative play for my three young cousins.

patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

*carrie* said...

Thanks to your review, this book caught me eye last week in the new books section of our library. Haven't had a chance to crack it open yet, but looking forward to being inspired!

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