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Top Ten BETs April 28, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance, People.

The  T.O.A.D.Y. awards got me thinking about BETs . . . Best Ever Toys!

Unlike high-priced molded plastic office cubicles, BETs entertain for hours with low or no start-up costs ~ nothing on my list costs anywhere near $2,599!

* BETs get the blood pumping and/or the imagination soaring by moving kids off the sofa and away from TV and video games.

* BETs encourage kids to entertain themselves . . . rather than passively being entertained by the latest techno-gadget.

* BETs encourage kids to interact with the world and each other as they stretch their imaginations and learn to “play nicely” and “take turns.”

These BETs do what toys and games should do ~ let kids be kids rather than consumers:

1. Frisbee ~ great for any size group.  Toss back and forth for 2 players.  Form a triangle with 3 players, or a pentagon with 5.  Play Monkey in the Middle with 3 or more players.  Set up a target and see who can hit it with pin-point accuracy.  Catch behind your back.  Get the dog involved.  Play Frisbee golf.  Take your Frisbee with you to the beach, the park, or the schoolyard.  “Run, Sally, Run!  Catch that Flying Saucer!”

2. Chalk (for pavement) ~ any number of creative uses.  Sketch out a Hop Scotch Board, find a couple of pebbles to toss, and practice your balance and coordination alone or with friends.  Play Tic-Tac-Toe ~ filling the board with Xs and Os.  Play Wheel of Fortune ~ take turns guessing words and phrases by filling in the blanks.

3. Tennis Ball ~ like Frisbee, a small tennis ball is great entertainment for any size group.  Catch for 2 or more.  Monkey in the Middle for 3 or more.  High Throw ~ see how high you can throw it and still catch it on the rebound.  Long Throw ~ see who can throw it the farthest.  Toss and Clap ~ toss, clap once, and catch . . . toss, clap twice, and catch . . . take turns and see how many times you can clap without letting the ball drop.

4. Hide and Seek ~ great for indoors or out.  No equipment necessary ~ other than a few available hiding places.  Everyone can play.  Other games which can be played with no equipment:  Mother May I? *  Simon Says * Cemetary (the object is for everyone to lie as still as a corpse while “it” tries to make them move, for example, by making them laugh).

5. Hide the Thimble ~ excellent for quiet indoor play.  Whoever is “it” takes a thimble (or other small object) and “hides” it in plain view.  No stuffing it in drawers, pockets, or behind curtains.  The thimble has to be visible  to the seekers as they quietly walk around searching for the object . . . without moving or touching anything else.  Whoever spies the thimble first gets to hide it for the next search and rescue mission.

6. Jump-rope ~ excellent way to burn off calories and energy while toning muscles.   Kids can learn short poems and rhymes to recite while jumping or they can count each revolution of the rope and see how high they can go.  One thousand sixty-six . . . one thousand sixty-seven . . .

7.  Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys ~ after a small initial investment, these building toys allow kids to create villages, playgrounds, houses, towers, or whatever is needed for the day’s activity.  Both allow kids to use their imaginations to construct (and de-construct) fantastic temporary creations.

8. Crayons ~ like chalk, crayons can provide hours of entertainment on a rainy day with nothing more than a few sheets of paper to write on.  Color your favorite scenes.  Write a short story, poem, or thank you note.  Draw your favorite place, animal, or thing in the world.  Play word games.  Practice addition, subtraction, or multiplication with number games.  Doodle fantastic creatures . . . like Dr. Seuss.

9. Deck of Cards ~ inexpensive and portable fun for kids and adults.  Starting with simple games, like Go Fish and Old Maid, kids can learn number recognition as they play.  War teaches relative value (7 is greater than 5, and 3 loses to 4)  without relying on graphic depictions of blood and gore.

10.  ????

You tell me.  What are some of your BETs ~ Best Ever Toys???

Aah . . . BETs are better!



1. Loreen Lee - April 28, 2010

Art, Beading, The ropes, can’t spell – macrome? and reading were what my kids were occupied with during the seventies. Mainly I took them to the science centre and down on the island to play under the tents set up there. No TV so I didn’t have to worry about commercials, etc. Hope this is a help, but I know times have changed…….

2. nrhatch - April 28, 2010

Those are wonderful BETs ~ macrame, art, beading, reading, etc.

And also educational field trips to the science center, the nature center, or playgrounds.

Thanks, Loreen!

3. nrhatch - April 28, 2010

Per Nancy Curteman ~

Here’s the toy: a large cardboard box the size a washer or dryer would come in.

My kids play creatively with them until the box literally falls apart.

nrhatch - April 28, 2010

Boxes create a world of imagination ~ play houses and forts and camping tents and . . .

Excellent suggestion, nancy!

4. Loreen Lee - April 28, 2010

I forgot to mention the boxes. Their own home. We fixed one of them up as a castle-fort one time I remember. Painted it and everything. With turrets if I remember. I think it was originally a refrigerator box. But that was oh! so long ago. The important thing is to keep them ‘busy’ creatively. I think that still holds. And yes, crayons, the whole bit. My mother used to have us make scrapbooks (collages) out of pictures from the magazines. There’s no end to the possibilities.

5. nrhatch - April 28, 2010

Yes! Collages out of pictures from magazines ~ favorite foods, favorite places, favorite colors, favorite shapes, favorite animals, favorite plants.


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