Playing in the Real World

Get everyone off their phones and social media and into family recreation with some help from the Fauquier County Public Library

by Lisa Pavlock, Public Information Coordinator, Fauquier Public Library

In a year fraught with many uncertainties, one thing is certain – the holidays will look different from years past. Celebrations will be smaller and the season’s greeting will be delivered via phone, text or zoom. 

With fewer traditional holiday activities available, start a new one – get comfy around the kitchen table and have a go at a new card game, gather around for a family craft afternoon, or play a challenging game of chess. And for those plagued by screen-fatigue (and let’s admit it, who isn’t these days?), these activities also provide a much needed break from our devices.

Ready to get started? Fauquier Public Library can help. 

Our collection includes books on traditional, new and even unusual games – with choices for young children, teens and adults. Here are just a few of our favorites. Additional resources can be found in sections 794 and 795 on library shelves, or stop by the reference desk of your local library; our reference librarians are happy to assist you. 

The Treasury of Family Games by Jim Glenn & Carey Denton

Basic rules, illustrations, and strategies for hundreds of classic board, card, party, travel, and outdoor games are included in this family resource. With more than 300 diagrams, variations on original rules, and suggestions on how to keep children entertained, the possibilities for good old-fashioned family fun are limitless.  

Cooperative Games and Sports by Terry Orlick

The premise of cooperative games is that everybody wins and has fun. These versatile games allow you to adapt the rules, equipment, and number of players to your own participants’ capabilities and to different settings. With activities like cooperative musical chairs, partner gymnastics, and math and spelling games, children learn valuable concepts. There is even a chapter dedicated to how to create your own games. 

The Golden Book of Family Fun by Peggy Brown

The Golden Book of Family Fun is the go-to book for today’s families looking for creative games, activities, party ideas, and crafts to do together. There is something for everyone in this book — making a backyard water park, classic outdoor games such as Kick the Can and Ghost in the Graveyard — even easy-to-make snacks. 

Catch a Fish, Throw a Ball, Fly a Kite: 21 Timeless Skills Every Child Should Know by Jeffrey Lee

Catch a Fish, Throw a Ball, Fly a Kite is for parents who want to teach their children what they enjoy learning — even the skills mastered as a youth or those unpracticed in a few decades. Activities range from practical, like locating the constellations, to completely frivolous fun, like turning a blade of grass into a musical instrument or making a far-flying paper airplane. Some are simple enough for four year olds, and others will appeal to the most jaded adolescent. Each skill is illustrated and is rounded out with funny jokes or fascinating trivia (did you know that the world’s largest sand castle measured six stories high?)

Knowing how to fold a paper airplane may not be an essential life skill, but it just might impress the kids or spouse – and could lead to hours of family fun.

Screen-Free Fun by Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Check out this handy collection of over 400 family activities ranging from DIY projects to outdoor adventures or easy day trips. Since many of the activities work well for kids at various ages, families can grow along with the different projects and make plans for both younger and older siblings. Try indoor projects like homemade slime, and outdoor activities like building a fort or a socially distanced neighborhood scavenger hunt.

The Everything Tabletop Games Book by Bebo

For those with fond memories of playing board games as a child, the resurgence in board games as a hot new hobby comes as no surprise. 

The Everything Tabletop Games Book shows how to play some of the best tabletop games in the world, from strategy games like Settlers of Catan to new games like Gloomhaven. Throughout the book, learn the different genres of tabletop and board games: how to play each game, rules, and winning strategies — even new expansions to keep favorite games fresh and exciting.

Games of the World: How to Make Them; How to Play Them; How They Came to Be by Frederic V. Grunfeld, editor

Games of the World is more than just a “how to” book of games. In addition to back-and-white photographs, paintings, and diagrams providing complete details on how to construct and play each game, it includes the history of over 100 games from around the world, from backgammon to the 3000-year-old Royal Game of Ur.

Great Games: Old & New, Indoor/Outdoor, Travel, Board, Ball & Word by Sam Taggar with Susan Williamson

Whether you want to play games indoors or out, this collection of games — tag games, board games, ball games, neighborhood games, and word games — is sure to inspire even the most cynical game-player.  There are even tips on how to choose who goes first and game-playing strategies.

Crazy Eights and Other Card Games by Joanna Cole & Stephanie Calmenson

Prefer cards to board games?  Crazy Eights and Other Card Games is great for beginning card players.  It introduces the different suits and face cards in a deck of cards, explains how to hold, shuffle, and deal them, and provides instructions for games like Aces Up, Go Fish, and Spit.

Hoyle’s Rules of Games by Albert H. Morehead & Geoffrey Mott-Smith

More than 250 years ago, Edmond Hoyle first published a guide to the game of Whist. Since that time, the name Hoyle has become synonymous with the rules of games. Hoyle’s Rules of Games is perfect for both casual gamers and the most serious game player, with rules, strategies, and odds for card, board, parlor, and computer games including backgammon, blackjack, and Scrabble.

Whichever game you choose to play, have fun, stay safe and enjoy the holidays! 

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