Rock-paper-scissors

Rock-paper-scissors-instructionsWhat it is: An easy, fast game that everyone probably already knows. But I like to be comprehensive, so here we go with some rock-paper-scissors instructions. Rock-paper-scissors is a quick win-loose game that is often used to determine who will go first or who will win some other small privilege.

Best for: Two players. But you could have a giant rock-paper-scissors tournament with tons of people!

What you need: Nothing! Well, technically speaking, each player needs to use their two hands.

How to play: In rock-paper-scissors, two players will each randomly choose one of three hand signs: rock (made by making a fist), paper (made by laying your hand flat), or scissors (made by holding out two fingers to look like scissors). Both players show their signs at the same time to see who will win. Here are the rules that determine which sign beats another:

  • Rock wins over scissors (because rock smashes scissors)
  • Scissors wins over paper (because scissors cut paper)
  • Paper wins over rock (because paper covers rock)

(If that last one doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to you…you’re not alone.)

If both players show the same sign, it’s a tie. And that’s basically the whole game! It’s often played in a best-two-out-of-three format as a quick contest to decide who gets to go first or something like that.

To make sure things are clear, here’s a short video on the game:

It’s essentially just a game of chance. But if you’re young, rock-paper-scissors is a legitimately exciting game that can provide hours of fun…or, if not hours, at least minutes.

I did find this video that gives some interesting insight and tips at winning rock-paper-scissors. Who knew there could be that much strategy involved in a game of chance?

Variations: I’ve never played it, but there’s a variation invented by Sam Kass and Karen Bryla that includes five options instead of three: Rock-Paper-Scissors-Spock-Lizard. And I guess you could include the rock-scissors-dynamite variation. 😉

Say the same thing

say-the-same-thingWhat it is: A cooperative talking game where players try to say the same word at the same time.

Best for: Two players. I’ve seen it done with three, which is more difficult but could be doable.

What you need: You don’t need anything to play, other than your brains.

How to play: This is a simple game that can provide hours of fun. It’s kind of addicting, almost, once you get started.

After I learned the game, I found out it’s from the band OK Go (you know, the ones with all the awesome music videos?). (This one isn’t really official, but I think it’s my favorite…except a lot of them are kind of my favorite.) OK Go actually has a video that explains the game really well, as well as an app that lets you play even when you’re not with friends. Go check them out! So though I know this post won’t be as entertaining as OK Go’s video, I’ll go ahead and explain how to play here, too.

You start by having two people each say a word at the same time. Any word. It will be a random pair, and that’s okay.

Let’s say Adam and Liz are playing. These are the two words they say:

  • Adam: See saw
  • Liz: Trip

To make sure they say their words at the same, one or both of them can snap their fingers three times. After the third snap, or on an optional fourth snap, they each say their word.

After that first round, Adam and Liz go again. But this time they’re going to try to say the same word. They do this by trying to find a word that connects the first two words, or something they have in common. You could also think of it as finding the intersection between the two words. So the second round might look like this, with the players’ thought process included:

  • Adam: Playground (because this is where you’d trip over a see saw)
  • Liz: Fall (because if you tripped over a see saw, you would fall)

Everyone thinks a little bit differently, so it might take a while for Adam and Elizabeth to finally say the right word.

  • Adam: Push (because if you fall at a playground, someone might have pushed you)
  • Liz: Merry-go-round (the most likely place to fall at a playground)

It’s good for them to take time between rounds to think and come up with the right word. Otherwise, if it’s just about speed, it could get difficult.

  • Adam: Exercise (because pushing a merry-go-round is essentially exercise)
  • Liz: Spin (because when you push a merry-go-round, it spins)

But it can be a little bit about speed. They don’t want to sit around waiting forever.

  • Adam: Treadmill (a form of exercising that involves spinning equipment)
  • Liz: Dancing (because this is a way you can spin and exercise at the same time)

Finally, though, they’ll end up on the same word.

  • Adam: OK Go! (because they have the best treadmill dance music video of all time)
  • Liz: OK Go! (because they have the best treadmill dance music video of all time)

It’s a very rewarding feeling.

This game could be over quickly, in three or even two rounds. Or it could drag on for a while. It’s fun to see the way someone else thinks, and to laugh (or get frustrated) when you think an opposite way. It can also lead to some funny moments, too. Once my husband and I were playing and, I can’t remember what the preceding pair was, but we said Luke Skywalker and Mark Hamill at the same time. (We weren’t sure if that should count as a win.) Another time my sister and I had the words love and brown to work with, and we both came up with chocolate.

I like this game because it’s cooperative instead of competitive. It’s a great time-killer and fun to play. So thank you, OK Go!

Build a cabin in your mind

cabinWhat it is: An imagining game where players talk out loud, describing a dream cabin or house.

Best for: A small group of players. It’s ideal for playing on long car rides.

What you need: Nothing. It’s just a talking game.

How to play: My husband introduced me to this game. He said he and his family played in on car rides often. (He’s the oldest of six boys, and they took a lot of road trips.) The game starts with everyone agreeing to build an imaginary cabin. Then each player takes a turn and adds a feature to the cabin. My husband said these usually included things like these:

  • Rooms full of bunk beds
  • Soda machines around the house
  • A movie theater in the basement with an all-you-can-eat popcorn machine
  • Observatories
  • Underground pools
  • Slides or firemen poles leading to lower levels
  • A big beautiful bay window right outside the dining area (This was the type of addition my mother-in-law would make, as opposed to the brothers, if you can’t guess.)

Kind of along the same lines as the dream homes my sisters and I would draw as kids. The features can include things inside the cabin, the structure of the cabin, and the surrounding landscape.

My husband did say that sometimes the game tended to break down, as arguments might erupt about placement or functionality of features (e.g., “You can’t put a giant trampoline that catapults into the lake! I already added the boat dock there!”). My husband said this often led to an alternate version of the game where, instead of everyone building onto one collective cabin, each person has their own. Players then still take turns adding on features, but this time to their own personal cabin. Maybe everyone can still be neighbors, at least. 😉

Variations: My sisters and I did a similar activity growing up where we would draw our dream houses. I think it’s kind of neat that when my husband was ten years old growing up in Colorado, describing the indoor slides his dream cabin would have, I was ten years old in Texas, decorating my dream house with indoor slides, too. :)

Actor/movie loop

actor-movie-loopWhat it is: A version of the six degrees of Kevin Bacon game – you’re basically trying to find links between actors via the movies they star in.

Best for: A small group, maybe up to six players. Two players work fine, too. You could even play by yourself.

What you need: Just your brains! If you want/need to cheat, IMDB on your smartphone would be a good resource.

How to play: My siblings and I would play this game on car trips or to kill time. We would start with someone naming an actor or actress. For example, Kate might name Anne Hathaway.

The next player, Michelle, would name another actor that Anne Hathaway appeared in a movie with. For example, Anne Hathaway appeared in Ella Enchanted with Cary Elwes. The next player might say that Cary Elwes appeared in The Princess Bride with Billy Crystal. It can be entertaining to simply name actors and movies and come up with a big long chain. This is also how you could play competitively. If someone on their turn can’t think of an actor and/or movie that hasn’t already been said, they’re eliminated from the game. The last player left wins.

In our version of the game, though, we played cooperatively. Our goal as a group was to get back to where we started (so in this game, Anne Hathaway). The whole loop might look like this:

  • Anne Hathaway appeared in Ella Enchanted with Cary Elwes.
  • Cary Elwes appeared in The Princess Bride with Billy Crystal.
  • Billy Crystal appeared in Monsters, Inc. with John Goodman.
  • John Goodman appeared in The Borrowers with…with that boy who helped the Borrowers…what was his name? [Quick IMDB check] Bradley Pierce.
  • Bradley Pierce appeared in Jumangi with Robin Williams.
  • Robin Williams appeared in Night at the Museum with Dick Van Dyke.
  • Dick Van Dyke appeared in Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews.
  • Julie Andrews appeared in The Princess Diaries with…Anne Hathaway!

It can take a while, but that’s all part of the fun. We really didn’t play that seriously. Half the time we didn’t even know the actors’ names: it was “that guy from ___, the villain, you know?” And our loops probably could have been done more efficiently, but we didn’t care if it took a while. (Also, side note, it can take a while/be harder if you’re keeping your blog family-friendly by trying to name only PG or G movies.)

There are some rules you might want to consider. Can you mention a movie or actor if they’ve been said before? (We said no.) Does voice talent in animated movies count? (We said yes.) Does it count if you don’t know the name of the actor? (We said yes, because we weren’t huge movie buffs.) Do multiple movies in a series (for example, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) count as the same movie? Do cameos count? Do TV shows count? If so, do guest stars count? Things like that.

Hope it can be an entertaining game for your and your family or friends!

Feather

feather

What it is: A really simple game kids can play in a car. It’s not so much a game as an…activity to pass the time? Or a way to tease/persecute the person sitting in the middle of the backseat.

Best for: Three or four children, however many are sitting in the backseat of a car.

What you need: A car with a backseat and a road to drive on. The road also needs curves – sharp turns on residential streets are best. Highway driving, not so much.

How to play: In this game, players basically use the momentum of the car to squish each other.

It’s simple. When the car makes a left turn, everyone in the backseat leans as hard as they can to the right. When the car makes a right turn, everyone leans as hard as they can to the left. In theory I guess the passengers are just responding to the natural forces of momentum, but it’s more about exaggerating and slamming into each other as hard as you can.

This game is the least fun for the person in the middle. The people on the edges get smashed against the windows, true. But half the time they get to be the ones doing the smashing. That poor middle-seater? They just get smashed and smushed each and every turn the car makes. Same applies to the smallest person playing. I was younger and smaller than my cousins who taught me how to play. Guess who was smushed the most? Luckily, I’m the oldest of my siblings, so when it came time to teach my younger sisters how to play, I experienced sweet recompense.

The thing is, even when you’re getting squished, it’s kind of a fun game. And luckily the game never lasts longer than a car ride, so if you’re in the middle, the next time you get in, you can hustle for a window seat.

Good luck, and I hope you don’t get squished too bad.