• Anne

My Grandpa's Games

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Did you forget the games you played as a child?

My grandpa (we’ll call him Edward) is one of the sources of my family’s creativity. Granted, he came from a time period where creativity was all they had to pass the time. There were no phones, and the TVs had one channel, so the way he entertained his kids and grandkids was by playing with them.

My grandpa is over 62 years older than me, but my whole life, I have always loved being around him. Our conversations have become more “boring” in the childish sense (now we talk about investments more than dragons), but all through the years, he has always been a champion in giving his time. I can hardly ever think of a time he was distracted or too busy to spend time with me.

My sisters and I

My grandparents, like my parents, had three girls before they had a boy, so I’m told that Grandpa would do the same things with his daughters as he did with my sisters and me. Since I was the third child, I sometimes had to literally climb onto the back of the couch to see the book he was reading to us, as my sisters would sit on both of his sides.

Grandpa would read stories to us, tell us stories he made up (his were the best), and he would play all sorts of games with us. One of my favorite bedtime stories was about how he shot one bullet and took out a few dozen animals with it. I forgot the details, but I remember it was hilarious.

Games my grandpa created

  • Magic Carpet - Post coming soon!

This is one of the more intricate games, but the basic premise was that we were on a special mission. We flew around on a magic carpet and faced a bunch of monsters.

  • Phantom’s Head

Grandpa was the phantom and my sisters and I would try to touch him on the head. He would try to stop us. It was either when he stopped us or when we succeeded in touching his head that he would say in a stern voice, “Don’t touch the phantom’s head!” We generally played it on the couch and we sometimes tried to play it when Grandpa read to us.

  • Dying Cowboy

Dying Cowboy is a game my grandpa created when he was tired. Basically, the adult is a cowboy that died, so the kids have to hog tie him (you put his hands and feet together). The adult tries to keep you from doing that, so it can take a lot of effort. The game is supposed to end once you hog tie the dying cowboy.

This was my dad’s favorite game, since he only had to lie on the floor and keep us from hog tying him. I will admit, this game is a lot of fun, but use it with moderation. Eventually, we caught on that dad only picked that game because he was tired, which caused us to not like it as much. Plus, Daddy was pretty strong, so it was really hard to get all four limbs in the air. I’m pretty sure that we never actually succeeded in fully hog tying him.

  • Balloon Volleyball

This game involves any number of balloons with any number of people divided into two teams. We would run a string across the room and then we’d try to keep the balloons from touching our side of the floor while trying to get them to touch the floor of the opposite side. You can track points for this game, but I don’t recommend it.

  • Chooga Monster

Grandpa was the Chooga Monster. He would start a long distance away from the couch and would start slowly chugging towards the cough, saying, “Chooga chooga.” The kids would then try to stop him, by any means they could. That’s it! You have loads of entertainment for the children, just by trying to keep daddy/uncle/grandpa from getting to the couch (and it's not a bad workout for you either!).

  • Ceiling Circus

This is a game Grandpa Edward would play when kids didn’t want to get up in the morning. They would look at the ceiling and imagine a circus up there. Then they would describe all the fun and zany things they saw in their ceiling circus and it would help wake them up.

You don’t have to have kids to try this one out. If you’re having a hard time waking up, look at the ceiling and imagine something unique and fun to go in your ceiling circus, whether it be a man with snakes for fingers or a trapeze artist swinging around the neck of a giraffe. It’s a good imagination exercise.


The beauty of the past is there was more scope for the imagination. Nowadays, we don’t even need to spend time together, because we’ll be endlessly entertained. However, there is something precious and priceless about being bored together and getting lost in creativity.


I want you to think of someone you know from your childhood that used to play games with you or tell you stories. Take a few minutes to recall and record some of those memories.


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