Path to Story, Ch. 41: “Snakes, Sharks, and Crocodiles!”

If you’re waiting during an in-between time, maybe before a meal or trip, and playing a video game or watching TV would require too much commitment, playing a random game with whatever you can find with rules that are made up on the spot may be just what you need! “Snakes, Sharks, and Crocodiles” was what recently worked for my family while we waited for something.

Much like at times with the “Blanket of Mystery” in chapter 35, I had no idea what I was doing till I did it. I just knew I had to do something before things got too complicated. At times, my kids would complain about being bored, which can often provide the perfect environment for innovation. A messy room provided the palette of useable toys/supplies.

On the floor was a tri-bladed Nerf boomerang that one of my kids had tied a rope to. Also on the floor were two rugs, they gave us the setting and the challenge for the game. I placed myself between the rugs and stretched out my arm like a branch (I soon had to replace it with a pool noodle reinforced with one of my kid’s bo staffs because of rope-burn). The goal was to wrap the boomerang around my arm with a toss so that it would hold as my kid would swing on it from one rug to the other, sort of a live version of the old Atari game “Pitfall!”. Two stuffed animals also in the room: one a shark, the other a snake, were the enemies/danger. The crocodile was played by another of my kids. He was very excited to eat his siblings.

We started out timing the attempts- as many as you could do in 5 seconds. If you failed to get a wrap, you were considered crocodile bait, but this became an issue so we took the timer off and limited it to 5 attempts.

A missed throw was simply that, a miss. Everyone would yell, “Miss!”, and it would count against your allotted 5 attempts. If your attempt made a wrap but failed to get secured as you tugged on it, then everyone would yell, “Snake!”, and you’d get the stuffed toy snake thrown at you. It resembled when ‘George of the Jungle’ thought that he had grabbed a vine to swing on, only to realize he had grabbed a snake! This also counted as a fail taking another of the allotted 5. If your attempt made a wrap and almost held in time for you to get to safety- the other rug, but still fell, then everyone would yell, “Crocodiles!”, and you were then considered croc bait, which my awaiting son- when not attempting himself, would then attack. This yet again counted against the 5. If you failed all five attempts to get a ‘secured wrap’, then everyone would yell, “Shark!”, they’d throw the stuffed shark at you and you were shark food. After the allotted 5 attempts or a ‘secured wrap’ was achieved, it was then the next person’s turn.

A Secured Wrap and Winning the game: If however, you made a wrap and it was secure, (You know it when you do it because you can’t tug it free), then you’d get a victory point- first one to 5, up to 10, won the game and everyone would cheer, “Yay!” Everyone except crocodile boy…

Creating games may not always keep tempers calm, but it can make time fly with a lot of fun. Besides, if peace is what you want, you can always make your kids read a book while they wait. Boo!