Shall we play a game?

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 27, 2008

Ollie and I invented a new game last night. Actually, it's more fair to say that he invented it and I followed along. The playing field consisted of two couches facing each other with a coffee table in between. All the furniture was raised off the ground so that the ground-level lines of sight were clear. He started by crawling around one of the couches. I gave chase and caught up with him; he saw me coming and started laughing and crawling away faster. I overtook him and he started chasing me. So I crawled around to the back of the other couch, intending to ambush him from behind. But Ollie peeked underneath the furniture, saw that I was going the other way, and turned around to catch me. There was so much laughing when he ambushed my ambush...he was just so tickled that he'd figured it out. Then it was my turn to chase him again. We played this rudimentary game of tag — chase the other person until you "catch" them and then you become the hunted — until my knees were all red and sore.

I thought kids had to be much older before they could start playing like this, much less inventing their own little games. But kids are amazing little adaptive sponges...Ollie understood the rules of the game at least as well as I did, even though we hadn't actually agreed on any rules (or that we were even playing a game!) before starting. He just crawled off and followed his instincts.

This is going to be fun.