Let’s Play a Game

Games are an important part of a young child’s development and if you’re not playing lots of games with your child, chances are you’re not a good parent. Trust me, I’m a really good judge. You might want to ask yourself why you refuse to put in the time. Are you selfish? Lazy? Just not that into it? Well, now that you’ve spent a few moments being really tough on yourself, maybe you’re ready to try harder. Here are a few of my family’s favorite games and I’ve included some instructions so you can try them for little to no expense on your wallet, but a high price on your sanity.

Baby-So-Soft! This fun game is for two players and requires only one entire bottle of baby oil (choose your favorite brand because you’ll be smelling it for a week). After your child emerges from the tub, let them catch a glimpse of the baby oil. If they are anything like my child, they will want the baby oil in their hand so badly that any attempts to disuade them will be met with copious amounts of crying. Give in and let your kid have a little oil in their hand which they will then rub on their body, your body, your hair, the couch and the dog. Repeat 20 times or until you are all crying.

52 Thousand Pick-Up: Similar to the beloved card game only with toys and a lot more of them. Here’s how it works: let your kids loose in a room that contains a lot of boxes of toys preferably toys that contain lots of small parts. The game really plays itself but the clean-up is a bitch.

What Am I Saying? Do you love a good guessing game? If so, this is for you. All you need is one child who is a little behind verbally but in addition is easily frustrated. Now get eye level with your child and let the game begin. Are they asking for jammies? Apple juice? The latest National Enquirer? God only knows but you can burn off a good hour trying to figure it out. P.S. if you’re a speech therapist, that’s cheating.

Oh My God Are You Choking??? Caution – this game should not be played if you are suffering from high blood pressure, panic disorder or a heart condition. OMGAYC is great at mealtime but can be played anywhere choking hazards exist. Leave your kids unattended for any amount of time – 10 seconds works equally as well as 10 minutes. When you return, there’s a good chance your baby will be red in the face and have a suspicious lump in their cheek. This is a good time to shriek, “Are you choking? What do you have in your mouth? Show me what’s in your mouth. Let me see that! Oh no, can you breathe?” If your baby is coughing or crying they’re not “officially” choking so you may resume blogging, vacuuming (kidding), sleeping or watching Judge Judy until it’s time to play again.

Sugar Olympics – The most simple of all the games we play: see how long your child can go without asking for a cookie, candy, muffin or other treat. Give yourself 5 good parenting points for every increment of five minutes. Once you hit 20 points, you’re a better parent than I am. Also? Yogurt counts. Come on, it’s all sugar!

Will It Flush? Fans of Letterman and Elmo alike will enjoy this plumbing challenge. Allow your child to gather a ton of objects of various shapes and sizes from around the house (if they can reach your underwear drawer, it’s not off limits). Keep the bathroom door unlocked and then watch them throw one object at a time into the bowl and try to flush it down. If it goes down, they win. If it doesn’t, the plumber wins. For more advanced play, let them throw all the objects in at the same time. This game is best played with all players naked.

Give Mama a Kiss See if your self esteem can withstand the beating that is your kid refusing to kiss you no matter how much you beg. Try asking as sweetly as possible and never show how much it hurts your feelings each time they pull away like you’re suggesting they shove a toothpick in their gums rather than simply granting you a tiny peck on your cheek. After twenty minutes, if you haven’t successfully talked your kid into kissing you, admit defeat and try again later otherwise you may need therapy. If your child refuses to kiss you but happily smootches your husband, your coffee cup and the couch with more passion than if it were Leonardo DiCaprio, you may want to ask yourself something, “Am I playing enough games with them?” And then go back to the beginning of this list.

Feel free to add your own game suggestions in the comments. I can always use the amusement. Unfortunately I had to add the word verification to my comments because I was getting spammed up the butt. I will take it off as soon as I can since I know how annoying it is.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on November 3, 2009 11:52 pmTwins48 comments  


  1. Stone Fox said,

    another fun kid game:

    Couch-oline: have your child jump on the couch as though it were a trampoline, and then jump *off* the couch and land on his neck. if your kid doesn't end up paralyzed, he wins!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:10 am

  2. Rita said,

    holy crap this is like the funniest thing I've ever read and reflects my daily life perfectly

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:18 am

  3. Aunt Becky said,

    "How Badly Are You Hurting Your Sister" See how long it takes from moment toy makes impact with child's soft head to when the baby starts wailing. If you can coo "it's okay baby" from across the room without having to come and comfort the baby yourself, YOU WIN!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:22 am

  4. Carey said,

    Thanks for the laugh… hilarious!! I think it's supposed to rain on Wed. We'll have to try a few of these!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:44 am

  5. Kimberley said,

    OMG this is hysterical.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:54 am

  6. Katie said,

    Video Olympics – Like Sugar Olympics, except instead your child constantly asks to watch some or other video. The longer you go without giving in, the higher your points. If you do give in, you can treat yourself to five minutes of peace followed by many more minutes of berating yourself for rotting your child's brain.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:56 am

  7. Robin said,

    The carseat game: If you can get your kid into her carseat immediately upon entering the car, you win. However, if she screams, thrusts her hips forward, refuses to let you put her arms in the straps, etc., then she wins. If she crawls up into the shelf by the back window, she gets the bonus prize.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 5:29 am

  8. Karen said,

    Thank you again. I'm okay and am still a bit confronted by the 'fate stuff' you also seem to be hearing from many fronts since the 'coming out' last Spring and Oz event of late. I'm a Joannie come lately, and I think the fate is true-ish enough…I believe. Still.

    Re previous blogs (I'm not all that familiar so apologies for outsiderness) don't worry about pleasing anyone or being 'professional.' WTF, the nature of blogs is to relay, not prescribe. If I wanted professionals I'd pay my $400 deductible only to learn I'm still nuts and like to drink. In two minutes of you on a TV show I'd never heard of, I saved all of that analysis and learned I can no longer drink and be the person I want. And I'm doing okay. Re "keep the humour vs the-step nature" You never asked for me/others to write you after Dr. Oz. You never asked for anything other than readers, which is I guess why you write. With readers come respondents. Don't feel obligated. You've done so much already, if only for the four in your house, which is, quite frankly, enough. I enjoyed your latest entries. 'dog tackle without getting slimed' is a fun game in our house. Our mutt can hold a gallon in his jowels.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 6:05 am

  9. Nanette said,

    I like:

    "Damnit, Why Won't You Perform?!?!" — that game starts when you're hanging out with friends while trying to get your little one to do that HILARIOUS thing they do ALL THE TIME…except that one time in front of your friends.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 6:47 am

  10. Lil Mouse said,

    We like: scream no matter what. It works well. You see your baby starts by screaming, and you work through what it could be and figure, oh god, you smell like shit, you must need a diaper change, then, they quit crying when you pick them up, only to start wailing again when you lay them down to change the diaper, and don't stop, no matter what toy/diaper/plastic bag (kidding)/sock you give them to chew on in between until you pick them up again. As soon as you set them down, the screaming restarts. Repeat until you fall exhausted into bed.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  11. Anonymous said,

    Where's My Keys

    First decribe what keys are to your two year old with your spare set, then have her trot you around the house showing you all the places they're not.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  12. Shannon said,

    If I can stop laughing enough to post something, here it goes:

    Let's pretend were at the beach!!!
    Fun for kids all ages!
    While in the tub and have a nice, full tub of water, pretend we are in the ocean. Start swaing back and forth to see how high we can make the waves go. Yeah, they go so high that the fucking kitchen counter's are clean and I'm wondering why you sister is all wet when she was DOWNSTAIRS the whole time! It's loads of fun, and you can kill two birds with one stone. Wash a kid, and scrub a floor! How cool is that?

    | November 5, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  13. Mary Freaking Poppins said,

    Can't. Stop. Laughing. Must go play a game now.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  14. Lisa said,

    We really enjoy "Trash The Room". Spend hours cleaning your childrens' room or playroom then let them come back into that room and see how long it will take before its completely trashed and worse than before you started! Anything under 30 seconds, the children win. Anything over seems like like heaven and for that one minute you had a clean room!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  15. Sarah said,

    My kids' newest game is called "Who can break Mommy's nose first?" Colin put himself in first place last night when he chucked a sippy cup of milk at my face. Not to be outdone, my oldest wanted to see where Colin hurt mommy and then poked the bleeding wound. I guess it was a tie.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  16. Lisa said,

    Thank you for making me quietly laugh so hard I cry at my desk, again.

    I swear some days my 1yr old hates me – d@mn kiss mommy game. I lose every time – but that girl can deep throat the remote like nobody I've ever seen.

    Don't forget the get dressed and brush your teeth before mommy gets fired for being late again dance.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  17. Angsty Jen said,

    At our house, we really enjoy playing "Sleep is for losers." All you need is a 3-year-old, two tired parents and a bed. If the child stays awake past 10 p.m., she wins 100 points. If you fall asleep before she does, she's Grand Master of Sleep Avoidance. And if she wakes up at 6 a.m., you win a year's supply of Xanax.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 3:08 pm

  18. Mommy on the Spot said,

    Geez! I am playing with my kids WAY more than I thought I was! Thanks for the self-esteem boost!

    In addition to Sugar Olympics and Video Olympics, I would like to add my own version: Computer Game Olympics. That's right, my 3 year old knows how to use a mouse! Judge away!!

    I also like to add Pass the Bug (as in virus bug). How fast can your preschool aged child pass her bug that she picked up at Germ Warfare (aka: Preschool) to her unsuspecting 7 month old brother, mother, and/or father? How much is it going to cost in office copay visits (which I think should go toward the deductible)? Ah, yes, the fun!!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 3:14 pm

  19. Caroline said,

    Roly-Poly on the Bed is always fun when you have a nearly 7-month-old who is starting to get that you don't just have to roll over than then back again. You can roll over, and then roll over, and then roll over, until you find the funny looking drop off that leads to a hardwood floor. The trick is to reach the precipice of doom before mommy catches you and moves you away from the edge, making you start the game all over.

    Awesome. Times.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  20. Lisa Page Rosenberg said,

    We're really into "What did you do to the dog?" Game pieces include: sidewalk chalk, glitter glue, Elmer's, dried leaves, Handy Manny puzzle pieces, Mod Podge, and a very patient black lab named Daisy.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  21. KAM said,

    We like to play "Where's my Nuggie?", in the middle of the night. Child wakes up in a panic because she can't find one of 5000 pacifiers in the bed, and screams until someone comes and locates all 5000. She always wins, we always lose. Ugh. And don't even ask why my 3 year old still has a to have a nuggie at 3 years old, I just can't take it.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  22. Anonymous said,

    Our twin (boys) toddlers like to play "how hard can I headbut Mommy". I will be holding of the boys with him facing forward and he will lean far forward and then slam his (remarkably strong) head back in to my esophagus (1 pt). Or sometimes he gets my nose (5 pts) and this realllllly hurts!

    He is usually upset because I have picked him up to change his bum and he was having fun playing so he is mad. He has done this a number of times and it always stops me in my tracks.

    Good times.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  23. Anonymous said,

    How loud can my blood curdling shriek last?

    How long can I cry until I am chocking on my snot and drool?

    and my favorite how long can I cry before mommy lets me vacuum. Yeah you heard me right, my 20month old has hissy fits until I give her the central vacuum, holding the hose for mommy doesn't cut it anymore.
    Also have a video of her using the dustbuster at 15 mths old. LOVE IT
    little t

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:28 pm

  24. feefifoto said,

    This was sooooo funny and so true and so perfect.

    Here's a trick that worked on all my kids: "Don't kiss me… I'm warning you — you'd better not kiss me… I mean it — if you kiss me you're getting a giant time out…"

    Worked every time. Except for my mother, who'd run after the kids with her arms out and lips puckered repeating "don'tkissmedon'tkissmedon'tkissme…"

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  25. TJ said,

    I think I am reading it all wrong, or maybe it will start to make sense once I HAVE a kid, but NONE OF THAT SOUNDS FUN AT ALL.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  26. Anonymous said,

    You are funny, funny, funny

    | November 5, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

  27. Rebecca said,

    Sibling Mediation – This game can only be played when you have at very least two children. You need to leave the children in the same room, with toys you know both love. Sit back and vacuum, wash the dishes (yeah right!) or blog. Listen to the screams, cries, yelling, pushing and shoving. The longer you can stand listening to the bickering the more points you get. You win if they settle the argument on their own, you lose if you have to pull them apart and put them in separate rooms.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  28. kys said,

    My husband likes to play 52 Thousand Pickup, too. Big stupid baby.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

  29. GingerB said,

    "Getting Child to Eat in 45 Minutes or Less"

    Points are earned by threats, negoitation, bribery and rewards, and eventually wiling and gnashing of teeth. If she eats, YOU WIN!

    | November 5, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  30. Jasmine said,

    My favorite game is "how many things can I ask for at bed time?" In our house if you deny it without guilt parents win, if you can not deny the request, child wins.
    Examples: water, medicine, snuggle animals, sleep with brother, hug, kiss, snuggle time, blanket, check for monsters, nightlight, etc.

    Three year old is currently champion as the new request is for a kiss.If denied, the comment is "mommy, why won't you kiss me." child 50 points, mom – crippled by feelings of inadequacy.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  31. Robin said,

    the comments on this post were hilarious! My personal favorite:

    How long can I cry until I am choking on my snot and drool?

    I'll go one further and add barf. That's the best.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

  32. Anonymous said,

    Our favorite game, only played once. Toddlers stand just beyond the reach of Mommy who must be on the kitchen phone (an old school corded phone). Toddlers see how many cereal boxes and food canisters they can empty into a huge pile on the floor, while dancing and jumping up and down in the mess. Mommy is not allowed to yell because she is doing a phone interview with a company she's tried to get ahold of for several days. Mommy is allowed only to wiggle her fingers and make faces at the toddlers. Mommy wins points for each creative face and silent gesture. Toddlers win points based upon the height of the cereal pile and how much of it they can get to stick to their bare feet. Mommy loses when Daddy comes home and shrieks during the phone interview. Mommy laughs later even though she didn't get the job. Daddy didn't understand why Mommy couldn't get the toddlers to behave while she was on the phone. Ultimately Mommy won by demonstrating what she had been telling Daddy – it is not possible to seriously hunt for a job while being home with toddlers.

    | November 5, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

  33. Stillie said,

    My favorite one you'll have to wait until they're older, but I just love "Are You Smarter Than A College Graduate, Namely Your Mom?" This is best played with teenagers, and it seems more like a game they can never win, really, but they just keep trying. They get all the points by actually knowing it all, or knowing better than their mommies! Moms win by…well…they never do. It sucks to see your kid make mistakes, no matter how crucial it is to their development and character!

    | November 6, 2009 @ 12:50 am

  34. Jennifer June said,

    Don't worry that the games will stop as the kids get older either. I have three teenage daughters and although they are mostly guessing games, the fun never ends around here. We're always up for a good round of "Where have you been for the last 3 hours?" "Who left all this crap here for me to clean up?" "Guess whose principal called today to say she skipped class again" "You have 3 minutes to delete those skanky pictures of yourself off Facebook" and of course, one of my all time favorites:"whose dog is that?"

    | November 6, 2009 @ 5:30 am

  35. Anonymous said,

    Hey Robin,
    Glad you liked the snot and drool.
    I have totally seen the barf happen too, after the crying and freak out. Luckily it was on TV and not first hand experience.
    little t

    | November 6, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

  36. Susan said,

    I actually like playing Sniff-the-Butt. It's especially entertaining in public places like Target or a kids' birthday party. From behind, pick up a child yet to be potty trained. If you smell shit, you lose. If you don't smell shit you get another turn in ten minutes.

    | November 6, 2009 @ 5:31 pm

  37. Vicki said,

    My 2 1/2 year old plays poop and barf. Basically, you push so hard to poop you barf. Unfortunately, no one really wins this game.

    | November 6, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  38. Lisa said,

    Oh My God Are You Choking is my least favorite game. It has resulted in me pulling various things out of baby or toddler mouth's including a roly-poly bug…

    | November 6, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  39. Chris Mancini said,

    I've just submitted three of those to Milton Bradley. So is "getting spammed up the butt" code for something?

    | November 7, 2009 @ 4:22 am

  40. lonek8 said,

    I play What Am I Saying on a regular basis with my son -who knows quite a few words that somehow manage to all sound like monkey or milk. In our house that game typically ends with an admonition that in THIS house? We speak english. I am also a fan of Stealth Photo, which involves sneaking away to get the camera and snap a candid shot before any of your children notices. bonus if you can get all three in one shot. often evolves into a rousing episode of Pretty Please, in which I beg my children to smile or sit still or just stop crying so I can take a picture of them. For the younger set, I also quite enjoy Distraction Diaper Dash, which involves trying to change my 9 month old's diaper as fast as possible using only one hand because the other is engaged in trying to distract her with anything possible so she won't roll over before I have finished. I'm getting quite good, although sometimes I cheat and lean on her a little.

    | November 7, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  41. 6512 and growing said,

    I love to play the thrilling, extreme sport game: "how long can I ignore 2-year old's jungle alarm cry screams (because I won't carry her down the stairs) before the neighbors come running out of their house"

    I am perfecting my nerves of steel.

    | November 7, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

  42. Anonymous said,

    "Name That Blood-curdling Scream" (requires 3-year-old sister to translate)

    a) sister stepped in fire ants
    b) sister pooped in the tub and thinks her insides are coming out
    c) sister saw a spider/bee/fly

    | November 7, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  43. Aspenchick said,

    Thank you for that. I was laughing so hard I cried at my desk. I can totally relate. I'd like to add "Rate how mad the cat is when I sit on him".

    | November 9, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  44. Anonymous said,

    We like the " What can I do to get mommy's attention" game. It starts when mommy gets a phone call. Children get 10 points for every time mommy has to say , " Be quiet, I am on the phone." and 100 points for " Don't sit on the baby's head". Mommy can earn points if said children forget or do not notice her on the phone

    | November 11, 2009 @ 1:57 am

  45. Mommy Melee said,

    We enjoy "Just Try to Get My Pajamas On" and "Where's the Poop" and "WHAT DID YOU EAT"

    | November 15, 2009 @ 1:29 am

  46. Anonymous said,

    When my husband is deployed my son and I play, "nighty night in your bed or mommy's big bed" If I can say "your bed" without him crying, I win.

    | November 17, 2009 @ 11:46 pm

  47. tamar said,

    wonderful! so funny, so real…

    | November 19, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  48. My Bambino said,

    All these are very interesting games.


    | December 17, 2009 @ 10:26 am

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