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Kids these days are so used to high tech toys and video games that when you introduce them to a really simple old-fashioned game, they get really excited and enthusiastic. Sophie and Juliette absolutely love the old classics I've introduced them to like Pass the Parcel and Pin the Tail on the Donkey and request them at their birthday parties and none of the other kids have ever heard of them ! They also love Apple Bobbing and Blind Man's Buff but I admit I try to limit those ones because they can quickly spiral out of control with a group (or even just my two !) over-excited kids. Others like Kiss Chase, Squeak Piggy Squeak and Postman's Knock have been purposely overlooked - kids seem to grow up so fast these days and I don't want to get slapped with a lawsuit from disgruntled parents for promoting promiscuity or indecent behaviour !
As soon as I saw the deliciously retro cover of 365 Everyday Games and Pastimes, which was released on October 28th (my birthday - it almost made me want to throw a retro kiddies' party with all the old-fashioned games just for myself !), I squealed with nostalgic delight and immediately started flicking through its pages.
The book is marketed as "A wonderful, timeless compendium of enjoyment and delight for all the family" and I have to agree. The blurb says : "Jam-packed with games and activities for all ages, this is a book to dip into at any day of any season, and a fun-packed compendium to savour for years to come. Whether it’s Charades at Christmas or Murder in the Dark at New Year, Mad Scientist at Halloween, or simply a wealth of ideas for things to play at children’s birthday parties, here are winning games for all occasions. Britain has a long tradition of truly wonderful pastimes, which are a welcome and inexpensive alternative to round-the-clock ‘digitainment’ and Martin and Simon Toseland’s comprehensive collection is a timely aide memoire and indispensable guide." It's one of those books that made me keep squealing "Ooooh yes, I used to play that - I'd forgotten all about it !" before dissolving into giggles as I explained my latest trip down memory to the girls.
It contains a whole host of games including party games, word games, memory games, classic card and dice games, traditional marbles and ball games, games for rainy days, magic tricks, games to play in the park, at the beach, in the car or even in the kitchen ! Different categories include : Children’s Party Games, Rainy Day Games, Seasonal Games such as Easter, Halloween, Winter, Christmas and New Year, Games for long journeys, and Word Games. I love the fact that most of the games need next to nothing and we had everything we needed in the house already so the girls just scurried off to their rooms for essential items like marbles and cards and we were ready to play. It also means that once you've learnt the new games, you can play them in the car on long journeys or on holiday without packing cumbersome toys or things requiring constant recharging - back to the good old days !
It is an absolutely lovely book for nostalgic parents to look through (not forgetting grandparents - some of the games go back hundreds of years !) and will provide hours of entertainment with the kids as you initiate them into the joys of having fun with not a gadget in sight ! It's a brilliant book to dip into during the holidays or wet weekends when the kids start saying "I'm boooored" and you really don't want them to spend the day in front of the TV or games console. I love it, especially as it explains the history of some of the games I used to play and love without ever thinking about.
star rating : 5/5
RRP : £14.99
for more information : http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/catalog/book.htm?command=Search&db=main.txt&eqisbndata=0224086545
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