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We love playing games at our house, although with the small girl still not reading yet it is often difficult to find games that she and her big sister (and any unsuspecting adults they may lure in) can play together. Since the afternoons are getting winter-dark early now, playing outdoors in the evening has ended until the spring. So this week Mom and Dad have gone on a quest for playable games for two.

First they came home with Cootie by Milton Bradley. I remember Cootie from my own childhood (very long ago), and although the pieces are a bit more detailed than I remember, it is still silly fun to build the bugs one body part at a time. Grandad, too, admitted to playing Cootie with his mom as a kid.

Next came Don’t Break the Ice and Don’t Spill the Beans, both also by Milton Bradley. (The girls were interested to learn that Milton Bradley was a real person long ago who invented many games for children.) Don’t Break the Ice involves beating on plastic ice blocks with hammers while trying not to send a bear into the icy depths. Fun, but annoyingly noisy!

In Don’t Spill the Beans, two players alternate placing plastic pinto beans onto the lid of a soup pot…which tends to swivel and — you guessed it — spill the beans. I think it is more fun when you are five or younger!

Last to come home was Battleship. Over the years I have watched this one in various versions, including digital. I had the misfortune of playing it with my oldest granddaughter this evening, and if I am really lucky I will avoid it from now on. I’m not sure whether my strategy was insufficient or I am just too much of a video game junkie, but it was excruciatingly boring. No, BORING! And I lost to the 8-year-old, besides.

With many pundits and naysayers complaining about the amount of time children spend “plugged in” to electronics, it is reassuring to realize that the majority of the games we baby boomers played with in our childhood still exist, even though often in slightly updated versions. The board game is alive and well, just waiting for cold-weather evenings. Play on!

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