I love playing games with my kids.
My middle school daughter, Nina, and I sat at a coffee shop with chalkboard tabletops and chalk and Nina introduced a new game instead of the usual Tic Tac Toe. “It’s War,” she said, “but it’s Creative War…First, draw a stick figure,” and she drew a stick figure with a round head, stick hands and stick legs.
So I drew a stick figure, but I put boots and mittens on mine—better to be prepared.
Then she said “Now you draw an attack of some kind, and I’ll retaliate with a defense.”
So I drew a red circle with a stick figure inside and a diagonal slash across it.
Nina sighed. Her defense: a big welcome sign. A really big one. She won.
Then it was her turn to attack, so she drew a puddle of glue at my stick figure’s feet. She announced that my stick figure was stuck, despite the boots, I should probably draw boiling water to dissolve the glue.
So I drew a coffee pot full of steaming hot water and my stick figure poured it onto the ground to wash away that glue. This time Nina said “Good Mom.” I won.
Then for my attack I drew hedge clippers in my stick figure’s hand to chop Nina’s stick figure to pieces.
But Nina drew a wall around her stick figure as her defense.
As soon as I saw that wall going up, I got a head start on my next attack, but Nina stopped me midway to ask what I thought I was doing.
“My termite army is getting a head start,” I explained.
That just didn’t work for her, so she reached across the table, erased my termites, and said try again, her wall was made out of steel.
I drew a tall ladder and she countered with a steel Quonset hut. War was escalating.
So I pulled out the big guns: I sketched a barn with a silo with a missile coming out of the top.
“What’s THAT?” she asked.
“It’s a Silo Missile,” I said. “See: Silo. Missile. They were popular in the ’80s. Do you want to hear about it?”
“No, Mom,” she sighed, and took her hand and erased the whole table. Oh well.
We played at the coffee shop for two hours–a really big win for me.