Daily Illuminator

April 13, 2014: More Walking, More Gaming

As I mentioned recently, my wife (the inimitable Nikki Vrtis) and I like to come up with diversions that we can do with our seven-year-old son while walking (because, really, there's only so much conversation you can come up with if you engage in daily walks). One game that was a favorite of Nikki's family on long Michigan car trips was -- appropriately enough -- "The Trip Game."

In this game, one player starts with a premise and the first letter of the alphabet: "When I went on a trip to the store, I brought . . . an awfully angry antelope."

The next player continues, trying to remember previous installments: "When I went to the store, I brought an awfully angry antelope and a big blue baseball."

And so on: "When I went to the store, I brought an awfully angry antelope, a big blue baseball, and a charming caterpillar."

Each letter-phrase can be as many words as players find reasonable. Players continue trying to muddle through as best they can as the sentence gets longer and crazier. If playing with younger folks, consider dropping it to one word. (If playing with my son, be prepared for words like "czar," "pterodactyl," "knowledgable," and "gnome.")

For those determined to pick a "winner" or "loser," the loser might be the first person who can't remember everything, or perhaps the first person who forgets a certain number of times (say, three strikes?). However, we just play these walking games as a way to pass the time . . . and with the Trip Game, it's fun to see what crazy phrases we can come up with. Plus, as I've learned while getting trounced at Munchkin by our son, building memorization skills of what's come before is incredibly handy in board and card games . . .

-- Steven Marsh

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