We find a lot of inspiration from books, during all of our projects. Most of our games so far this month haven’t come from books, but I did finally find out how to play checkers. I mean, I knew how to play checkers at one point in my life, but somehow I forgot all the real rules. S. and I were playing renegade checkers, making up our own rules, which is actually a lot of fun, but I felt a strange obligation to teach him the ‘real’ rules too.
I found a copy of Play with Us: 100 Games from Around the World by Oriol Ripoll – it includes many versions of checkers, clear illustrations, and easy instructions. It was originally published in Barcelona in 2002; an English-language version was released in 2005. The author does a nice job categorizing games with headings such as “Games of Solitaire”, “Games of Strength”, “Games of Chance”, and “Games Played with Teams”. He also includes game board templates, and an index of games organized by world continents. The author’s web-site also looks interesting – it’s written in Catalan, which I don’t read (yet!).
Below are six other books we’ve been perusing. Each one has a unique and interesting perspective on playing games.
Made to Play! by Joel Henriques. This is more about toy building, but the overall focus is play and games. If you don’t follow Joel’s blog already, I highly recommend it, for all types of creative inspiration.
The Big Book of Games by Dorothy Stott. The author includes almost fifty games aimed at younger children, divided into “outdoor games”, “indoor & party games”, “car games”, and “singing games”.
The Kids’ Winter Fun Book by Claire Gillman and Sam Martin. In addition to sections devoted to indoor and outdoor games, the authors also write about winter crafts and cooking projects.
Child’s Play – Easy Art for Preschoolers by Leslie Hamilton. Although this isn’t really a game book, the author includes a chapter called “Easy Art Games”, which is worth checking out. Her art activities are very open-ended and experiential, so I love that aspect too.
Games & Puzzles by David Kirkby. This book is from a series focused on math. There are twenty short chapters, with several number-based games in each chapter. It’s a little advanced for my five-year-old, but we still enjoyed looking at the different ideas together, especially the short section about mazes.
The Games Book: How to Play the Games of Yesterday by Huw Davies, illustrated by Lisa Jackson. The goal of the book is to “…spark lots of happy memories, and also rekindle enthusiasm for all the games in danger of being drowned beneath the tide of the digital age.” It’s similar to the titles by both Ripoll and Stott above, but each book has a slightly different mix of games, so it’s worth checking all of them out to see which style of writing and presentation appeals to you.
What wonderful books have I missed? Are there any great game compendiums that you’d recommend?