I enjoy creating games out of random things. Sometimes I make games out of necessity, and sometimes it’s just a fun way to spend time together. Creating a game while also telling a story of what the game is for helps to give it a context. Most of the computer games I played as a kid and still do have a creative storyline that gives purpose to why you play. Whether it’s to save the princess or to turn back the dark forces threatening the kingdom, giving a game a story makes it change from a simple test of skills to an epic battle of warrior awesomeness.
Here’s an example of a game-with-story that I made up and played with my kids. I called the game: “Ninja!!”
Story (It doesn’t have to be long, just a quick reason that answer’s the “why?”): The training of the Ninja is a time-honored practice taught for centuries amidst the misty mountains of Imaninja. During the once in a century meeting called “The Only One I’ll Be Alive For”, or “TOOIBAF”, the sensei masters of the Imaninja Dojo have agreed to reveal the entry-level test to the world.
The goal is to have your kids sneak up on you and touch you on the shoulder 5x’s (or however long you want the game to be and as the kids stay interested). If they achieve 5 taps, they will be given the entry-level title of Mouse, or make something else up. You can do this by adding their favorite animal, or something sneaky. The entry level makes it repeatable.
If you have a child who is not interested in staying entry level but wants to be a full Ninja Master, you could add to the story by saying, “No one has ever completed the entry-level test as quickly as you have. I have been given the authority by the ninja counsel of the Imaninja Dojo to bestow upon you the rank and title of Master.”
Set Up: First, place a chair in the middle of a room, this will be where you will sit with eyes closed for the game. Second, pick the distant place from where your kids will begin. The starting place could be the corner of the room or down a hallway etc. When everyone’s ready, you begin the game by shouting “NINJA!!” If you hear them you open your eyes and if you see them they have to start over. You can turn off the lights to make it easier for them to evade you. You can also help them by snoring. You can occasionally wake yourself up which makes them have to decide to freeze or move to hide.
If caught, your kids have three options:
1. They can throw down a smoke bomb to become invisible and have 3-5 sec. to hide, but they only get one of those per attempt. Smoke bombs can’t be used for a tap, they are for hiding only.
2. They can pretend to be an animal by meowing or barking etc., thus tricking you, but this only works when they are farther away and low to the ground.
3. Sing a lullaby which lulls you back to sleep.
This entertained my kids for a good 1/2 hour. No props needed.