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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

No screen required

July 2, 2013

Many are best done outdoors while others are really intended for indoor use; some require special accoutrements, others none. They were once called "diversions" and although the names have changed, games are still around and in fact, have never gone away. (There is even evidence that ancient people in Greece, China, and even Sumeria played them.)

And summer is the time when there's more down time for children or even adults to learn or revisit games.

I was reminded of the pleasure of play when I read a recent book, Stone Skipping and Other Fun Old-Time Games (Imagine) by J.J. Ferrer.

Remember playing a game called Horse? It's when two or more players try to sink baskets and get one letter in the word for each success. (Christopher Myers recalls playing it in his Coretta Scott King honor book, H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination (Egmont)). Ever play stoopball? How about "twenty-one"?

These are just a few of the ball games that are introduced (or re-introduced). There are games that require thinking; games that can be played solo or with a partner and games that are meant for groups; plus car and card games. Some are the same activities that I grew up with; others were completely unfamiliar; all are easy to do.

Games benefit children (and adults) in lots of ways — developing or perhaps refining social skills, using academic skills in a different way, becoming active physically and mentally and more — all while making enjoyable summer memories. Plus, no screen is needed!

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