Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Are eating and drinking the only ways to have a good time?
Unfortunately, most people have lost the skill of having fun (yes, that is a skill). Most of the time, we resort to various forms of consumption, such as watching TV, drinking, or eating. It's sad that we've lost the creative aspect of having fun in our society.
How often do you meet up with friends to eat, drink, or watch movies? Compare that to how often you meet up with people to play board games, go ice skating, play mini golf, or paint. It's not as common to have creative fun, which is sad.
I want to give you a few examples of ways that you can employ a little more creativity into your fun by playing games of various sorts.
Growing up, my family was very creative and we played a lot of really fun games that employed a lot of creativity. My grandpa played creative games with us and I played games with my brothers. We also played a lot of games as a family and spent a lot of time having creative fun.
I once had an eye-opening experience where I was playing magic carpet with my brothers and some neighborhood children. I was shocked that these children, who were no older than 10, stared blankly at me when I was pretending to be a monster. It was like they couldn't understand that we were playing pretend! They had absolutely no imagination.
That was shocking to me. I've seen adults who have had that inability to imagine, but to see little kids that were incapable of imagining really shocked and scared me as to where our society is going.
My guess is that we spend too much time being stimulated, consuming media and visuals that are so lifelike. We don't have to imagine anymore; our kids don't have to visualize these things, so they lose that ability. It's terrifying to me.
On the other hand, my family was always incredibly creative, and that's something that I'm glad I was raised with: the ability to imagine something that wasn't there, and to visualize/create new worlds with my mind.
That is something that I think is very important to preserve, especially in our youth. Children should be able to imagine things; that is what children are supposed to be good at. Thus, games that excite the imagination are helpful in getting kids to live up to their natural potential.
Types of games
Here are some games that I enjoy from several different categories.
Active story games
This is simply playing pretend. They were my favorite growing up, and are still probably my favorite when I'm playing with kids. I created several games of my own as well.
Islands - Post coming soon!
This is a game that we would play on the trampoline and on the play set. The ground was water or lava. We stayed on the islands and we had different things we would do. We would hunt, play together, and enjoyed our island life, whether it was in the arctic or in the Caribbean.
Space Pirates - Post coming soon!
Generally, my brothers and I would play this at the park. The playground was our spaceship. We came up with a few different species of aliens that we’d play. My characters were either from Spy-X or Technologica. We would usually go on a rescue mission, raid the bad ships, turn in their stolen goods, and rescue Prince Erzhia.
Dragon Riders - Post coming soon!
This will usually be played at the park. The playground was our castle and we rode dragons on the swing sets. Sometimes we had races, but we'd usually defend the castle from invaders and protected a magical orb, or whatever we wanted the plot to be about.
Magic Carpet - Post coming soon!
This was one of Grandpa’s games. The young adventurers would go on a mission from the queen to fight a bunch of monsters.
Fun kid games
A similar style of game is a “fun kid game”, as I'll call it. These are games that don't have a plot, but you're doing something fun.
Created by me and my brother Todd as a food code that forced various silly actions.
The Eyelash Monster - Post coming soon!
Also created by Todd and me.
Bob and Jenny - Post coming soon!
Created by me when I wanted to entertain Todd in the car.
Snuggle ‘n Lev - Post coming soon!
Created by Ross and me as a personification of our stuffed animal collection.
Created by my grandpa.
Created by my Grandpa for kids who didn't want to get up.
Created by my grandpa.
Created by my grandpa when he was tired.
These are easy games that are fun and get you moving around. They don't really have a plot, so we just played until we don't feel like it anymore.
These games are really good for creativity exercises and for acting abilities.
This is where three people are each given something to describe. The first person gets an activity, the second gets a variation of that activity, and the third gets an additional variation. For instance, the first one could be told to describe bowling, the second person could be describing bowling with an armadillo, and the third person could be describing bowling with an armadillo while wearing a towel. They can only speak in gibberish. The person who's guessing comes into the room, and the first person tries to show what the activity is. Then the two alterations are shown by the second two. It's a fun one.
You can see more improv game ideas here.
I'm not as much of a sports girl. But there are a lot of fun things you can play.
A continuous game of tag where you have teams that can un-tag each other.
My family played this a lot. We had long strips of cloth that people would tuck in the back of their shirts. If you have a tail, then you can pull someone else’s tail out. The goal was to be the last person with a tail.
This is especially nice as a date.
I prefer to play this as a no point game.
These are surprisingly easy to pick up, with practice, and they look amazing. It's a great stress release as well.
There are a lot of fantastic board games and these are great ways to get to know people.
My master’s thesis was on this three-player partizan game, which was created by my advisor.
A classic strategy game.
This is a great ice-breaker game, as you get to learn each player’s personal preference in random categories.
This is the ultimate strategy game, created by Avalon Hill. It takes hours, but it is very interesting. Unfortunately, it's hard to get your hands on now. We played it all the time growing up.
This is especially funny if you've played any D&D.
Also a classic and great fun.
Especially fun for those with mathematical inclination.
My family made this game up. The cards start a common expression, and then the players submit their ending. A particular memorable instance was: “Better late than…” and the winner wrote: “early to your execution.”
This is a card game of charades.
This is on my wishlist, so I haven't played it yet.
Sit around games
You're a true geek when you play D&D. It's a lot of fun, but my family made our own spin on it that we call, "Storyline". We focus on the plot, rather than all of the stats and killing monsters.
This is something you can do on your own or with friends to have fun and increase your creative capacity.
The point is to be creative and have fun. You can make something up; just do something that's going to be fun. You don't have to eat or watch movies to have fun. Try creating something!
I want you to think of one of these games, find a game you like, or make up a new game and play it with someone you care about. Have fun with it. See what you can learn about them, and enjoy!