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.
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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!