Day 289: Game Nights

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Around Christmas, we all leave on our PJs (as long as possible) an drag out all the games we can find. The game pictured above is what I like to refer to as a smart folks’ game. It is called Set. There are different shapes, colors and types of shading. I play turns because I’m too much of a space cadet to play free for all. Awesome game for thinkers and I highly recommend it.

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Hoopla is a super super fun game. It’s like a faster okay version of Cranium. Even better, the group works as a team to beat the clock. Competition, although nice at times, is not a strong suit of mine. It tastes yucky.

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Boys playing something on the computer. The serious faces paired with the festive hats just kill me.

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Frog Juice is a fun competive game where players try to collect ingredients for spells. It is a turn based game that is a mix of luck and wit of the player. The artwork on the cards are very enjoyable as well.

The final game I wish I had a picture of is a story telling game. I think it would be cool to play with younger children. The goal of the game, Gloom, is to kill the wretched family of five that you have and kill them in the most miserable ways.
Note, I said miserable not hack and slash gross. You get negative points (good) for making them miserable. You can collect those points when the character is dead.

Example, one of my characters was haunted by ghosts, Beth’s character won the lottery (uh oh, positive points!!), but he got robbed later. Murcia’s character got struck by lightening.
The better you tell a story of how the event on the card occurred, the more hilarious the whole game.
I want to add it to my collection soon.

Do you have a favorite boardgame or cardgame?

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).

Day 230: Laser Games

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I have had this game on my pinterest board for over a year. Have you ever seen those spy movies where the highly trained spies do extremely acrobatic maneuvers to dodge high intensity lasers?
If not, go watch Get Smart (Steve Carell & Anne Hathaway).
Back, yet? The rat was funny, right?

This game is dead simple to set up. Grab some yarn, ribbon or crepe paper ($1 for two rolls) and some tape. Find a room or hallway to set up that you can commit to solely gameplay for 30-60 minutes.

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The only thing to keep in mind is the skills and abilities of your group. We made out obstacle course much higher that you might for children because ours was made for adults.

I suggest shoulder height to ankle height, but don’t stress about the details. Just have fun setting it up.

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With tools as cheap as crepe paper and tape you can always afford to tape a laser back up if someone trips. We have very few mishaps because no one even wanted to get “burned” by the lasers, much less pull them down.

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Even the cat wanted in on the fun. She made the game look too easy. Once everyone had a couple of runs through the course (including a time trial), we stepped up the difficulty by adding more lasers.

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It was determined that loose fitting clothing was more likely to get your ‘laser’d’. My brother jacked up his pants so high that we were all in tears laughing.

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One final thing to keep in mind…

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If you want to play this will little kids, then make sure they don’t do this. My brothers are crazy. If you want to follow suit then please proceed with caution.

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This was by far the most popular game that we played on Thanksgiving.
We played this game for nearly TWO HOURS!!! 

Make a Story! Game Instructions

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In my Christmas Adventivities blog for kids I had a link to some printables and promised I would get instructions to the game soon. I’m sure there are similar games out there. In fact I have heard of this storytelling game in the form of dice blocks instead of cards.

Name: Make a Story!
Time: 5 minutes
Location: Anywhere not too noisy
Group size: 2 to 8
Equipment: Printed pictures prepped.

Preparation: Print off desired pictures and cut them out so each item is individually represented on a card. Shuffle and pile up cards facedown for game play. Giving the cards cardboard backing or laminating them will help to keep for many games.

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Introduction: Explain to players that they will able to make up a story. Whomever is ‘it’ is the storyteller for that round. The story can be about anything you want, but there is a catch, the storyteller must draw three cards from the pile. Those three items s/he draws must be somewhere in the story being told.

Play:
Pick a child to be the storyteller, draw three cards and tell a story. Once the story is finished, play continues with the next child picking three cards and telling a story.

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Tips and extensions:

Shy children may need coaxing or assistance in telling a story, while more outgoing children may need the leader to remind them they have a time limit. This could be as simple as saying, “what is the reindeer’s favorite food in this story?” Or “How will your story end?”

Show instead of tell. Younger children may need the leader/teacher to tell a story first so they understand how to play.

For the Christmas-time theme, I chose cards related to Christmas. This game could be played with any holiday or theme that compliments what your child is learning.

Instead of pictures they could be a list of spelling words your child has that week. Scraps of paper and a pen are easy to create a game while waiting on dinner to arrive.
This will also help children understand usage of their spelling words in addition to raw memorization.

This game would also compliment learning if the children were working on a writing section in school. Knowing the parts of a story would help in writing parts of a paper. After a story is told, ask the rest of the participants to find the beginning, middle and end

Take Aways from the game:
-Encourages creativity
-Enhances story telling and communication abilities
-Reinforces words/pictures
-Reinforces idea of taking turns

As always, please share suggestions or awesome anecdotes if you play with this game with your class or family!

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Once upon a time…..

Day 170: The Exquisite Corpse

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This is just one of our crazy creations. I have heard this game called a couple different names but the original (near as I can tell) is the Exquisite Corpse.

Famous artists through history that hob-knob together have played this game.

Three artists have one piece of paper. Less communication during the making lends to even more fascinating artwork.

First artist draws the head and neck then folds the paper so only the lines leading from the neck can be seen.
These neck guiding lines are used by the next artist to draw the torso of the creature.
Guiding lines from the torso and another fold down are left for the third artist who must render the lower half of the creature.

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After the three sections are drawn, artists can unfold and view their monster corpse.

We got some awesome creations…

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This guy even had two torsos.

Ridiculously simple and we drew tons of creatures by randomly passing them around the room until each were finished.