The kids have been in school holiday mode over the last week. However, the last few days, they've been occupied with play dates and vacation care. Today, they stayed home with me while I worked.
At ages 9 3/4 (the boy) and 6 1/2 (the girl), it's not as 'challenging' to have the kids at home while I work, unlike when they were younger, when taking your eyes off them could make a difference between sanity and the house getting burnt down (yep, been there, though maybe not quite so dramatic ;)).
Nowadays, most of the time, they can get themselves occupied. Sometimes, they even know how to prepare simple snacks and help themselves to what they're allowed to eat. I just get asked for permission, asked for help, or asked to referee an argument every now and then.
Of course, when left to their own devices...
Well, they often end up just on their devices (iPods, Xbox, Wii, laptop computer, 3DS...).
So, I usually impose a few hours break during these times. I just need to be prepared to supervise whatever they're doing.
Today, I set them a challenge during their break that they used to love to do: Inventing new games.
In the past, they've invented board games and actions games, complete with scoring systems. They've designed cities and created maps to their own towns.
And, I must admit: I LOVE IT when they're in this kind of zone. Kids' imaginations are so amazing. I get inspired with how limitless they can be.
So, when I asked them to get going, even though I faced a little protest to start with, they ran away with the challenge. With no added input from me, apart from: "No, son, I am not letting you use a knife to cut cardboard" or "Oh yes, that looks interesting!"
The kids ended up inventing an arcade-style game to start with. In the photo above, you can see the boy creating a whack-a-mole type game using just a packing box, a small pair of scissors, a pencil, and a cardboard tube as a guide to make the holes. The tube was from a kitchen paper towel roll.
The box has about six holes and someone sits inside the box. That someone in the box will then make an 'arcade-type' sound and make an announcement when the game is on. Then, something comes out of the box that the player will then try and hit. Each time they get a hit, they get a point. When the game is over, the person in the box says how many points the player earned - and the corresponding tickets come out of a slot.
Yes, while the boy created the box, the girl made the tickets (see the green paper in the first photo above?). The tickets can then be exchanged for something else.
If dad or mum plays, we get a two-minute mini massage in their massage suite (more on this later).
Here's the game in action:
After they enjoyed doing this, they decided to take their game a bit further. They designed another game. They made a target on another box and made paper balls and matched them with a couple of small soft balls they had. They then need to hit the target with the balls to earn points.
With a couple of arcade games in place, they then decided to leave me in my home office and went into the lounge area to turn the place into a hotel. They had an apartment, a reception area, an arcade, a business centre (my husband's study), a TV area, and they even built a private area around our chaise lounge and turned that part into a massage suite.
Yes, I did enjoy a couple of two-minute massages from both the kids, after they gave me a tour of their hotel at the end of my working day.
And, even now, almost 6 hours after I've given them the challenge, they're still trying to play their new hotel/arcade game.
Looks like old-fashioned cardboard and pretend games won over new technology. At least, for a few hours today.
This is my fourth entry to the #31Days of New blogging project, where I’m exploring the concept of #31Newness. If you have any suggestions on future “new” topics that you’d like to read, please let me know. I’d love to find out what you think.
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.