Do you remember how to play?

I’ve never stopped playing with toys and to be honest, why should I? OK, so I have a 5 year old Step Daughter and could happily use that as an excuse for playing but when I really think about it, I was still playing with old toys way before she was born. Reading the news the other day I couldn’t believe what I read

WHO recommends zero hours screen time babies

One of the most important things I have done since day one of being a step parent is getting on the floor with my girl. We have actively encouraged her to play and when she wants us to, we join in with whatever her imagination can create. I might get sick of being ‘Baby Richard’, a doll that was handed down to her, but seeing the joy in her face when I put on a squeaky voice and join in her game is heart melting.

At this point I will make a candid admission: She does have her own tablet which we do allow her screen time on. I’ll even admit that there have been times when it has been easier to sit her down and let her watch her favourite things on YouTube kids. This hasn’t always been the case and having an already great understanding of play means she often gets bored after 20 minutes and wants to play instead. The tablet was introduced AFTER much deliberation and with how technology driven the world is becoming, was required to ensure she wasn’t blindsided at school.

Back to the main topic, do you remember how to play? Whether it’s picking up a deck of cards, unpacking a particularly trying board game or running about like a look; do you remember what to do?

On a recent trip to Rome, my partner (ooh, I can refer to her as Fiancee now!) and I would retreat to the hotel room to recover from the many miles walked. We caught up with a few films in the room, discussed dinner plans but one of the most entertaining ways we counted out the final minutes of an evening was with a €1 deck of cards.

Not the actual cards

Starting with a few games of ‘Rummy’, Gem dug down deep and remembered rules to a game from her youth called Black Jack (after researching the game I found it’s actually called ‘Switch’: ). It’s surprising how many card games I had totally forgotten but with a little effort, slowly recalled them. Firm favourites include Cheat (aka Bullsh*t), Scabby Queen and Slam to name three.

It’s often been a thought of mine that as adults, we would probably benefit still going down the park and playing; Manhunt, tag, these are great games to get the heart pumping but also gets incredulous looks from passers by. Football, Frisbee and other sports don’t get the same looks even though you technically are just playing. How cool would it be to have play parks built to accommodate adults too?!

More adult ball pits please!

Being able to play isn’t just important if you have a child, it gives you a release that many other hobbies also do. The only difference being that as adults, if we can’t label something as an ‘adult activity’ then it’s considered childlike and not worth pursuing.

If you could play one thing that you haven’t since childhood, what would it be?I guess what I would like you to take from this is that no matter how old you are, toys and games don’t have to be stopped.

Screwball Scramble: It says 3+, why wouldn’t you want to keep playing?!


Originator of Weekend Lollygagger and second part of Video Game Basement, Tom is a big geek at heart. Happily doing random things left right and center allows the world to view his insanity in all it's technicolor glory.

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