Updated: Feb 1, 2019
This past September while at the Bloggycon conference, I was introduced to a company called "The Genius Of Play". While speaking to the representatives at the booth, they told me about their premise, which anytime prior to the 2000's would be normal but in these current times is BRILLIANT!
On a high level observation, the objective is to reunite kids with the one thing we did during our childhood, play. In these current times, the word play to a child is related to picking up a cellphone and sitting for hours "playing" Roblox, Minecraft, Welcome To Bloxburg, Fortnite or any of the other current popular titles that work your fingertips more than the million other muscles in your body (your brain included).
This past Sunday I logged onto TheGeniusOfPlay.Org and was really in awe at the vast number of different games that were available. You can search by game or age and have an almost endless supply of options to choose from. One thing I noticed while skimming is that the beauty of these games outside of providing a fun way for kids to use their minds (without feeling like homework, which is key), is that they also provide a way for parents and kids to interact and create family time that is beneficial to their mental development and physical stamina.
I went to find the kids and sure enough they were all piled in Scoops room zeroed in on their cell phones (MJ apparently was in such a zone, when he sat up, I thought he just underwent a lobotomy). I had them come down so we could give the games a whirl and when I said "I have some games I want y'all to play", Scoop replied "But we have games on our phones" and this ladies and gents is the crux of the problem.
We picked 3 games from the site to try and added our own little twist on each one.
The first one was "Tape Tornado" where instead of playing on the floor we used our kitchen island. I took some electrical tape and split the table in half and gave each player a cotton ball. They were given 3 chances to blow the ball to the other end of the island without crossing the center line. The first couple of rounds someone would use all of their might to blow the ball in one breath and end up pushing it across the line, but as the game progressed, they learned to adapt and strategize on how to effectively win within the rules of the game! This made it not only a competition but a challenge for them and they were using their minds in a creative way!
The next game was our spin on "Pass The Bacon" where we substituted the "Bacon" for a spray bottle! They were split into 2 teams, with each player being assigned number 1 or 2 and once called, they had to crawl on their knees to the center line and grab the water bottle first. The loser obviously got sprayed with a healthy dose of water. This was also a hit!
The last game was "Back It Up" where 2 players would start at the end of the hall sitting back to back and have to use each other to get off the ground and then walk down the hall and sit down, without the help of their hands of course. When I first explained this one to them, they thought it would be a breeze and didn't seem too excited about it however once the first team went and fell over each other trying to stand up, the laughter ensued and everyone was on board! Unlike the 2 previous games we played, this one put an emphasis on teamwork and it was fun to see them communicate while trying to figure out just how they would be able to stand up in unison! Oh Yea, they were timed too! Mj and Chipmunk ended up wining with a final time of 57 seconds! I think Munchie and Scoop however are still in the hall attempting to get up!
The kids had so much fun that the next night when they got home from practice and finished their homework, instead of the usual ritual of holding their phones like a pair of vice grips, they jumped on my computer and logged onto TheGeniusOfPlay.Org on their own and went for another round of "Tape Tornado"! That in itself is a major kudos to the great idea the people at TGOP have presented and it shows that there is life outside of a data plan, we just have to make our kids aware of it!
And to think this was more entertaining than a $1,000 cell phone!