A sure way to add excitement to a game of cards is to add the element of consequence. And nothing screams consequence like the prospect of having to shovel a heaping spoonful of garlic, turmeric or curry powder into your mouth. This is Crazy 8 Countdown… for spices. Continue reading
“One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” Weaving old milk bags into sleeping mats for people living in poverty may be one of the coolest examples of this. For several years now, my Step-Mom and Dad have been turning bags of milk into Bags of Awesome. Continue reading
Croquet: The Gentleman’s Game? Not where I come from. Growing up, my brothers and sisters used to play this backyard game in very un-gentlemanly ways. We’d send our opponents’ balls flying into the bush, down our long driveway and into the little creek that ran next to our house. Out-of-bounds was for sissies and sending other players flying was as much a goal as winning. Continue reading
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on my Josh Martin Ink blog.
In an age of iPads, Xboxes and $200 shoes, our sources of entertainment and activity require increasingly sophisticated technology, equipment and infrastructure.
But there’s something to be said for the simpler activities. Activities that nurture creativity, ingenuity and imagination.
In 2005 the cardboard box was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York. The stick made the cut in 2008. “[T]here aren’t any rules or instructions for its use,” said Christopher Bensch, the museum’s curator of collections. “It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight’s sword, a boat on a stream or a slingshot with a rubber band.”
In a time when it seems that every toy requires 17 triple-A batteries and every activity requires mountains of gear, it’s nice to see the simple stick and cardboard box be recognized for the limitless entertainment potential that can be unlocked through imagination.
Here are twenty activity ideas for children and adults alike that require one item or less. Feel free to whip out this list if you ever hear a kid whining that they’re bored.
- Tag. I don’t mean tagging your friend puking on a cop on Facebook. I can’t count how many hours I’ve spent chasing friends around the schoolyard yelling “You’re it!”
- Soccer. It’s no surprise soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Whether you’re from Richmond Hill or Rwanda, all you need is a soccer ball and some open space.
- Ultimate Frisbee. Like soccer, but for hippies, the only thing you need for Ultimate is a disc (and perhaps granola).
- Cards. There are hundreds of games you can squeeze out of a single deck of playing cards. Perfect for games night or a rainy day. I come from a huge card-playing family. Euchre, Bugger your Neighbour, Hearts, Pork Chop—we grew up playing them all.
- Hopscotch. Any sidewalk or blacktop can be transformed into a playground with a bit of chalk and imagination.
- Yoga. Although many people go to yoga studios and gyms for this activity, all you really need is a yoga mat and a familiarity with the bizarrely-named poses.
- Red Rover. Oh man. No other game has been responsible for more clotheslines, bruised wrists and sprained fingers than Red Rover. “Red Rover, Red Rover, we call the paramedic over!” A personal favourite.
- Hide and Seek. Another favourite. All you need is a group of people and a good place to hide. Just don’t hide next to a bee hive like I did as a kid. That hurts.
- Charades. Great party game that doesn’t require anything fancy. Giving an easily embarrassed guest something x-rated to act out is always hilarious.
- Arm wrestling/thumb wrestling. Requires nothing but your own bodies. Think this is a lame activity? Watch Sylvester Stallone’s “Over the Top” and think again, buddy.
- Duck Duck Goose. Thrilling suspense. High speed chases. Patting people on the head. This classic has got it all.
- Bloody Knuckles. Taking turns rapping each other’s knuckles until they bleed is admittedly a bit violent and juvenile. But I wanted to mention this because it was a pretty common activity with my schoolmates.
- Touch football. If you remove the contact element from football you remove the need for all the pads, helmets and mouth guards. And the need for medical attention (in most cases).
- What time is it Mr. Wolf? I’m not sure how familiar people are with this game. It involves players calling out “what time is it Mr. Wolf?” to the “wolf” who has her back turned to them. The wolf calls out a time, like “7 o’clock!” and the players take seven steps toward her. This continues until the wolf thinks the players are close enough to catch and the next time they ask “what time is it Mr. Wolf?” she replies “LUNCH TIME!” and chases the squealing players around the playground.
- P.I.G. All you need is any sort of projectile – a ball, Frisbee, hard-boiled egg – that gets tossed back and forth between players. Drop the item and get a letter. When you spell P-I-G, you’re out.
- Rock Paper Scissors. I’m pretty sure more decisions have been made amongst my friends using Rock, Paper, Scissors than by thoughtful discussion.
- Tai Chi. A great activity I’ve wanted to try since my days in Taiwan. All you need is some instruction (and a cool paper fan if you want to look extra awesome).
- Tabletop football. Two players on opposite ends of a table. Object is to move a coin across the table in 4 or less pushes/flicks (downs) and have the coin partially hanging over the edge of the opponent’s end of the table (end zone) without it falling over. Harder than it sounds.
- I went on a camping trip/other car games. Before the days of DVD players in cars, iPods and PSPs, families going on a road trip had to occupy the long hours with driving games like “I went on a camping trip”, “eye spy” and “would you rather”.
- Debating. Probably the easiest way to pass the time of all these ideas is to open a controversial topic up for discussion.
These are just some of the ideas that came to my mind. What are your favourite simple activities?
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This week’s Buddha Belly Badge of Awesome goes to Jon Webster and his youth group in Streetsville, Ontario. Though perhaps not as violent as the KO Cancer event I told you about last week, as the video below shows, this kick-ass pillow fight from a few years ago still packs a great punch. Continue reading
Mom always told me that violence doesn’t solve anything. The Canmore Fight Club in Alberta, however, may beg to differ. For the past 3 years, Canmore Fight Club owner and Alberta Golden Gloves Champion (and this blogger’s baby brother), Nick Martin, has been hosting a Rumble in the Rockies as a fundraiser to fight cancer. The KO Cancer event raise thousands of dollars each year in support of cancer research and local hospitals. Continue reading
I grew up in rural Southwestern Ontario. So I’m no stranger to cow poop. But in all my years of smelling it, stepping in it and hurling it at my cousins, it never once crossed my mind to use it to raise money for charity. Continue reading
I’m not quite sure where the cockles of my heart are located. But, after watching this video of Caine’s Arcade, I know they’re pretty damn toasty right about now. You may have already seen this bouncing around the ol’ social media channels. If you haven’t, you need to. Continue reading
“…something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.” – TheFunTheory.com
Ever have your folks tell you they used to walk 40 miles to school, uphill both ways on streets that were paved with broken glass and vinegar? They probably exaggerated. Continue reading
What’s cheap, dusty and awesome all over?
If you think sidewalk chalk is only good for hopscotch, tic tac toe or draw boobies on Old Man McCallum’s driveway with your grade school chum, think again. Continue reading
Flash mobs have become wildly popular in recent years. And for good reason. They’re fun, unexpected and can be an effective way to grab people’s attention. As such, a kick-ass flash mob can be a great way to raise awareness about your charitable cause or event.
I got to participate in a flash mob in 2011 as part of the University of Guelph’s Get Swabbed campaign. Continue reading