Ever think that being stuck in an airport could be the best afternoon of your week? It was for me! On a recent trip, after a grueling week of lots of board work and little sleep, I was finally on my way home and got as far as Detroit. I had a 3 hour layover, and lucky for me, so did Justin and Anna.
I had just sat down with my cup of coffee and sandwich when they did their first fly-by. Justin, about 3 years old, chased by his little sister Anna, just shy of 2, and rounding up the rear was Grandma, who was giving it a good try but looked like she wouldn’t last long. I had my coffee, ate my sandwich, and watched. They ran circles around the chairs, pushed every button on the phones, jumped, rolled, and touched everything they could. It didn’t take long before I saw Grandma go down for the count and sit, letting them continue their circling.
While Grandma had been apologizing for their energy, I had been applauding it! They were absolutely adorable, and doing exactly what a child in a big open space that’s new should be doing: running, exploring, enjoying to the fullest. When I just couldn’t help myself any longer, I got up, balled up my sandwich bag – and got an idea. I purchased 10 paper cups and grabbed the straws. (They made me pay for drinks to get the cups and thought I was nuts walking away with empty cups and $20 less in my pocket!)
I approached Grandma, and motioned to the kids saying “Do you mind if I show them a game?” She was clearly happy to oblige. I knelt down and introduced myself to the children, who politely shared their names, and we started to play. And play. And play! After about a half hour, Grandma leaned forward, looked at me intently and said, “Who ARE you?” I smiled. I get this response often while traveling and not being able to help myself!
Here are 10 of the games we played, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
1. Bowling: using balled up paper bag as the ball, doing the easy way, cups upright, and the hard way, cups upside down.
2. Stacking – inside each other, then upside down on top of each other, then in a pyramid, then randomly using books and other items to build a castle!
3. Ball toss – setting up the cups in a row, tossing the ball to the closest one, then farther and farther to see how far out we can make it.
4. Straw toss – tossing the straws, spear-like, towards the open cups to get them in.
5. Paper Mic – singing and yelling into the cup. (Grandma’s favorite, it mutes the sound, but sounds really echoey and loud to the child!)
6. Paper cup mitts – put the cups over your hands and try and pick up the ball and toss it back and forth.
7. Cup jump – set up cups in a row with lots of room between, jump over the cups.
8. Line up the straws on the floor to make letters from the child’s name.
9. Fort – build a fort by placing cups in a circle around the child.
10. Shooting Straws – tear the end of the paper wrapper off the straw, blow into the straw to shoot the paper wrapper as far as you can.
Best $20 bucks. Ever. Thanks Justin & Anna!