Do you ever find yourself desperately trying to keep your family entertained in restaurants until your table is ready or until your food arrives on a busy night? Perhaps you’ve noticed your coworkers are a little down-in-the-dumps and stuck in the drudgery of the day job. Road trips are another place where parents often need to find quick and easy ways to keep their family entertained to stave off boredom and perhaps even a young child’s tantrum. Or even a teenager, I hear they can be pretty moody though I haven’t had to experience that yet.
I was fortunate enough to have the Tiny Games series of books with me in several such instances and they’ve become an easy and fun alternative to the Story Cubes I keep in my purse at all times. In this series of small books, you get options of creative ways to have a little fun with different groups or in different scenarios. There are four varieties to the series and I have tried them all. They fit very well into your purse or the storage slots in your car. If you carry an activity bag or box for the kids when you head out toss one or two of them in. You won’t regret it.
Tiny Games For Home came into use during a rather long power outage. An example from this book has the game players (a pair in this case though it is easily modified to work with more players) using a stocked kitchen cupboard to play a memory game. One person is the Looker and one is the Switcher. The Looker will examine the full cupboard, with the door open of course, for 10 seconds at which time Switcher closes the door and the Looker leaves the room. The Switcher gets a moment alone to open the cupboard, switch the spots of two items, then close the door again. Call the Looker back into the room and they get 10 seconds to spot the swap. If they do they win, if not the Switcher wins. What a simple and neat idea!
Tiny Games For Work has lots of little games involving office equipment and meetings. I don’t use office equipment such as copiers and fax machines much and my particular campus doesn’t have standard breakrooms but the games involving meetings are right up my alley. I am constantly on conference calls and will be playing many of these adapted to that platform over time to keep myself entertained and productive. One such game is to challenge one person to respond to everything they need to respond to in a meeting with a question. We decided this would work best if everyone except our boss knows what is up. I will be the person who has to respond only in question form and everyone else has to see how long we can keep it up before our boss gives in and accuses me of drinking on the job. Again. That one has been asked of me on more than one occasion thanks to my weird sense of humor. If I last the entire meeting I win. If not I’m the loser and the team gets to troll me until we play the next game and one of them has to take up a challenge.
Tiny Games For Trips takes the focus to things you can do from the car or another mode of transportation, or while waiting in line at attractions, or even about pit stops for potty breaks. I haven’t taken a road trip yet since I got this book but I have one coming up in just a few weeks and plan to play several of these with my car mates. In addition to the old standby of the alphabet game, we’ll try ‘I Do Not Trust Our Driver!’ In this game, everyone but the driver closes their eyes and the driver calls out phrases they see in front of them, such as on signs and billboards and bumper stickers. The driver might be telling the truth or they might be making it up. The players have to decide. If you think the driver has made something up you immediately declare “I do not trust our driver!” and open your eyes. If the phrase is there you lose horribly but if it is not you are declared the winner. There’s also a fun game involving maps and letter swapping to confuse the folks trying to find the right spot on the map that I can’t wait to try. It is on page 42 if you want to read more about it.
Tiny Games For Kids is very similar to all of the above just with a focus on keeping it simple and funny for children. ‘Stuffed Animal Airlines’ is a fun one where each kid picks a toy and you bring a towel. Stand back from the couch or sofa and help the kids hold out the towel tight and then one kid places their stuffed animal on the towel. Use the towel to launch the stuffed animal onto the couch. The rules around what counts and who wins can be modified for age and maturity quite a bit on this one with it being a competition for older children or cooperation for younger or just silly madcap fun for all with no rules at all. There is a sequel to this one out already though I’ve not had the pleasure of trying those yet.
You can find these books on Amazon for about $8 each (the prices vary a bit) or on the Osprey Publishing website. The games were designed by Hide & Seek and are marketed by Osprey Publishing. The website offers cheaper pdf downloads but I have to say I like the book versions for safe keeping in the black hole I call my purse. Paper items do not last long in that mess. If you visit their website check out their other games while you’re there. They have many more games as well as adventure books and an entire section on military history. And if you’re at a gaming conference and Osprey is there see if Christian Waters is doing the demos. I met him at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio this summer and saw him giving lots of demos to attendees. We spoke for a bit between demonstrations and he was just a great guy and passionate about his gig.
Review copies were provided to GeekMom