How to Turn a Fun Toy Into a Fun Game
Consider the following paragraph. Do you notice anything unusual about it?
When you first set foot in her house, you see a red couch. The bright couch all but hits your eye when you walk through the door. Next, you see two black chairs. They all form a small group, so you can sit down and chat with friends. The couch and chairs look old and worn, as they get used quite a bit. Lots of folks have sat in this small space. They chat. They sip tea. They laugh. Her house is a good place for friends to have fun.
Did you notice that the entire paragraph used only words with one syllable? And yet, it sets a scene. It also creates a vivid mental image.
We gave ourselves a creative constraint. The constraint was “use only words with one syllable.”
We love the creative constraint of simplicity. Do you think you could write an entire paragraph using only one syllable words?
Go ahead. It’s fun to try.
Here’s another exercise in creative constraints:
With Uncle Goose Sight Word blocks, you get 168 different words. Not all of them are one syllable, but they are all simple words.
They’re also words children learn without sounding them out. Instead, children come to recognize these simple words when they see them — or “by sight.”
So here’s your next challenge. Can you write an entire paragraph using only sight words?
Of course you can! It’s easier to do when you have the set of blocks in front of you, though. You get to find the words you need and move them around.
When you play games like these, you end up learning words faster. You build literacy and writing skills more quickly.
You can even put more constraints into your games. Time, for example, is a constraint. Can you build a whole sentence in under a minute? In under 30 seconds?
The number of words is another constraint you can add. Who can write a 7 word sentence the quickest? Who can write the longest sentence within one minute?
You can even use emotions as a constraint. Who can write the funniest sentence? The most boring?
Try inventing your own word and letter games. Give them a little constraint, or a little limitation. That's the secret.
When you add a constraint like time, length, emotion, or type of word — you create a little challenge. What other constraints can you create?
It’s your game, so you can make your own rules. Attempting to play within the constraints you create can turn any fun toy into a fun game.