What do children play with these days?
You might think that in 2017 they are stuck up in their bedrooms with the curtains closed, lights switched off and the only light in the room is from an iPad a mere millimetre from their faces.
Or maybe they are lying belly down on the living room floor with their head resting in their hands while they stare at the widescreen television which is tuned to their favourite children’s channel.
All this while their toys are sitting unloved in their toy box gathering an annoying amount of dust.
Well, I have told you before in this column that all toys bought for my daughters at birthdays and at Christmas have to pass a test.
I call it the ‘will-they-actually-play-with-it test’.
In their five and seven years as citizens of planet Earth, I’ve seen many toys and games that have been opened excitedly and played with, just once.
So, lots of thought goes into purchasing a toy before we commit and take it to the checkout.
Both my daughters like to play on the iPad and they also enjoy watching the children’s channels.
But I’m pleased to report, that in 2017, board games and toys still have a place in children’s lives.
For example, there’s Monopoly, which they got for Christmas – a game I used to play with my family on our dining room table.
I still remember being elated when I was the first to purchase Park Lane and Mayfair as I could charge my fellow players a high rent for landing on them.
Well, the rules are the same and the Monopoly board is often a welcome addition to our living room floor with us all sprawled on the floor around it counting out our fake money.
I hope we continue to play and it doesn’t end up unloved on top of a wardrobe.
Another family favourite that seems to be favoured by my daughters over their modern toys is Connect Four.
It’s a simple but fun game that can be played by just about anyone.
I thought I was the master at this game, having played it many times when I was a youngster.
But it appears my daughters have inherited their father’s skill of being the first to get four in a row.
I think the secret is that you must pay attention to where your opponent is placing their coloured checker.
When I’m not, because I’m secretly trying to multitask, my daughters are happy to exploit this lapse.
I’m pleased to report that the old-fashioned games are still alive and well and just as enjoyable as ever they were.
Give it a few years and I’ll be able to show my daughters who is the king at Scrabble.
MY TWISTED ROLE AS THE REFEREE
Have you ever played Twister?
It’s a game of physical skill that has been around for decades and is easy and fun to play.
It is played on a large plastic mat that is spread out on the floor. The mat has six rows of large coloured circles on it with a different colour in each row: red, yellow, blue and green.
One player takes the role of the referee and spins the ‘spinner’ which will land on a colour and the left or right foot or arm. The player then proceeds to do what the spinner tells them. As the game progresses, players will often end up in odd positions and they will lose once they fall or if their elbow or knee touches the mat.
My daughters received this game as a Christmas present and at the weekend they requested I play it with them. An offer I accepted.
The mat was spread out on the living room floor and I was slightly worried I might cause myself a back injury.
I needn’t have worried.
I was assigned the role of referee and got to stay seated on the comfy sofa.