Monday, August 26, 2013

The Game That Has No Name

 .. taken while sitting on the porch
at the Shuswap ...
From my own children, I sometimes receive requests for games from the past – ones that will support some kind of learning for their own child or for a group of kids they are working with. Today’s request was for a game for teen-age boys. The game has to use no words and be one that people can play cooperatively. I have a limited number of games in my backpack of games from the past. When they are games that Doral taught me when I was a child, they may or may not have a name.

I remember one popular game that involved searching the faces of others with your eyes, looking for clues in their faces as to where to find a hidden object. “The Quarter Game” came to mind. Not that anyone who has ever played that game will need the rules rehearsed for them. The two teams sit across the table from one another, passing a large coin and then one team slapping all of their hands on a table in unison so as not to let the other team know who has the coin hidden in their palm. I think that game will work for the purpose of learning cooperation and using no words.

A second game came to mind. Do you remember as a child how someone of us would stay in the front room and would hide a coin? The coin had to be in plain view: if not all of the coin, then at least part of it. No climbing on chairs or having to crawl under couches to find it. When the group who has been in the hall returns to the room, as soon as you saw the coin, you will sit down on the couch with your secret of where it was and let others search until everyone had found the coin.  No touching it.  No grabbing it.  No giving away to others that you have seen it.

What made the game fun was Doral would hide the coin in his ear, or on top of his ear or in his sock, or it would be on top of his bald head or tucked in the laces of his shoe. He must have had fun watching our eyes as we would first discover the coin and then make a straight face so that no one would know where it was as we sat down to watch others look for the coin.

Did the game have a name?

It may have ended with “You are getting hotter / colder” but when the game began there were no clues – just all of us running pell-mell into the living room to be the first to find the coin. That game also meets the specs of using no words, just your eyes and your face, either in subterfuge or by being aware that you couldn’t suppress the happiness on your face of finding the coin in such odd places.

That is my best shot at today’s request.

 It comes freely given to all, except to the person who asked me for the game and I shall invoice her.



  1. I am going to see how good the nurses are at the game at coffee break tomorrow. gotta get my moneys worth.

  2. Are you testing the nurses out on "The Quarter Game" which should really be called "The Looney Game" since it should be played with a heavier coin than a quarter. When I was young we used to use a silver dollar, which was sometimes hard to find in my dad's pocket since there wasn't much spare change in those days.

    Or are you testing them out on "The Hide the Quarter Game", and if so, are you going to use a shiny quarter for those with dimming eyes?