Friday, February 4, 2011

How I Won at Baby Monster Skee-Ball

Yesterday I had the day off with the two kids. Since we had an ice storm earlier in the week and there is now at least two inches of solid ice covering absolutely everything outside, we opted to stay in the house all day. My husband was at work, so it was just the three of us.

While I cherish these days with the kids, I have to admit that they are challenging. My son is 4 years old, and my daughter is 6 months old. They are both wonderful ages in their own right, but it's difficult to find activities that both of them can enjoy. So yesterday, in my desperation, I created a new game.

Baby Monster Skee-Ball.

I've always been a lover of skee-ball. I was never all that great at arcade games, but I was always good at skee-ball. And, as much as I hate to admit it, I could play it for hours. There's something strangely therapeutic about slinging that little ball as hard as you can and not worrying about breaking anything. The little tickets that come out are just a bonus.

I'd been wanting to create our own version of skee-ball at home for a while, so this seemed like a good time to do it. I knew my son would like it. So, we decided to use a set of stainless steel mixing bowls (5 bowls in different sizes) as the holes to aim for. Always looking for an educational opportunity, I had my son write point values (1-5) on pieces of paper that I taped sticking up out of the bowls. The smallest bowl was worth 5 points, and the largest worth 1 point.

We then gathered a couple of small toy balls to throw into the bowls. He made a "starting line" (another piece of paper) and we were ready to go. We arranged the mixing bowls on the kitchen floor and placed the starting line a few feet away.

In case you're wondering where my daughter was, she was napping when we were setting up the game. However, since the game was going to be loud with the banging of stainless steel bowls, we decided to wait until she was awake to play. When she woke up, I put her in her walker in the kitchen and prepared to play skee-ball with my son.

That's where the "baby monster" part came in.

She's only had the walker for a few days, but she's already getting pretty good at it. So good, in fact, that she wasn't at all deterred by the clanging of the bowls on the tile when we hit them with the toy balls.

So undeterred that she used her little legs to plow that walker right into our skee-ball bowls! Smiling her two-teeth smile, she proceeded to plow over our game and move the bowls all around with her "car." My dad always used to say you had to look out for kids "once they get wheels under their butts." Well, he's right.

After we both stopped laughing (and stopped trying to play skee-ball around her), my son and I decided that it was part of the game when the big "baby monster" comes in and crashes the skee-ball bowls. The game then turned into Baby Monster Skee-Ball, in which we let her crash through the bowls and try to hit them where they end up. For once, we had an activity that everyone loved.