One of the best things of having friends with little kids is that it lets you re-live your childhood by re-awakening your own inner child and remembering how to play and have fun.
Our good friends L & V have a darling little daughter N, who goes to a German kindergarten in Cape Town. Earlier this year, L was tasked with the responsibility of co-organising a Children’s Festival Food and Craft Market at the kindergarten – which also meant coming up with a couple of fun games that would be suitable for little kiddies.
We brainstormed, and then decided to try out a couple of games.
Game 1: Dropping a coin into a small container in water
We filled a large basin with water, placed a small round container inside, and tried to drop coins into the water, so that they fell inside the small container. This proved surprisingly tricky. As the coins glide through the water, they tend to be flicked sideways by the resistance they encounter, and actually getting them to fall inside this little blue bowl was hard.
Well, until yours truly decided to try it out, after V, L and Richard hadn’t succeeded. I don’t know how I did it, but I slid a couple of coins inside the little container in quick succession, much to everyone’s surprise.
“That was a fluke, you have to go again!”
So I did, and again dropped a couple of coins neatly into the container, though one or two slid off to the side. Several successive attempts were (un)successful to varying degrees.
In the end, we decided not to use this game, as we wanted a game that would be tricky, not easy to master! One can’t make it too easy to win a prize, after all!
Game 2: Using chopsticks to pick up coins from a bowl of water
We filled a glass bowl with water and threw in a whole lot of coins of different sizes. Each of us took a pair of chopsticks, and tried to pick up one of the coins, and to remove it from the bowl. It wasn’t easy! But then we aren’t accustomed to eating with chopsticks either – whereas someone who regularly eats with them would probably have no difficulties at all!
We conceded that this was probably not a suitable game for the fair, as we might have too many winners walking off with all our coins!
Game 3: Feeding Lucas the Hungry Lion
Changing from the water theme, we thought it would be a cool idea to make a ball throwing game, in which players have to throw a light plastic ball into the mouth of a lion.
We started by drawing the outline of a lion on two large sheets of thick paper, which would be laminated together to make up an even larger sheet of paper.
I had brought along my acrylic paints, and while our friends prepared supper and Richard and N threw the colourful plastic balls all over the kitchen, I coloured in Lucas the Hungry Lion.
We left a large opening for his mouth, so that it was possible to throw balls through it.
L and V got a large cardboard box that had been used to transport a fridge; they cut a hole in the bottom, so that the balls would roll out again, and stuck Lucas onto the side.
It worked brilliantly.
Game 4: Fishing for sea creatures
We recalled playing with a childhood game that involved fishing rods with magnets and various cardboard sea creatures that had to be ‘caught’ from a large container. As we didn’t know where to find such a game, though, we decided to make one.
I started by finding some easy-to-draw designs for fishies and assorted sea creatures, which I scanned and printed onto thick paper, before colouring them in with acrylic paints. We laminated the sheets and then cut out the individual creatures; we stuck on some funny eyes to make them look more three-dimensional.
When they were all spread out, it wasn’t a big pile of fish, so I repeated the whole process again, and made an additional batch of sharks to mix together with the pretty and colourful starfish and octopuses – now we’re talking! We used an inflatable pool as the ‘fishpond’.
And one day, L and I drove out to a company in Somerset West that sells small magnets, which we needed for the fishing rods. A paper clip was glued onto the back of each of the sea creatures. It wasn’t all that easy capturing the fish, but that made it all the more exciting when you succeeded!
The whole process of coming up with and making all these games had been so much fun – and of course we had a loads of laughs trying them out too! And we really look forward to playing with them at little N’s next birthday party!
I took some photos at the Kindergarten Fete too – I hope you enjoy the slideshow!