#abookandagameaday during social distancing, Third Week of March 2020


Sorry for the lull in posting my #abookandagameaday challenge, this social distancing thing has changed my schedule a bit so I’m adjusting. The afternoons are more full of free time for my kiddos so I’m finding the balance of work (meaning supervision from me) and free play. I can’t exactly remember what books went with what days so the following is my best guess.

Here’s what we did the past week:


Thursday 3/12: We went to visit some friends’ alpaca ranch. Our game for that day was playing with alpacas. Or rather feeding alpacas and learning how to peacefully interact with them. 🙂 I was OK with just taking pictures. I’m totally not much of an animal person which is funny because my bachelor’s degree is in zoology.

One girl got kicked because she got a little too aggressive in interacting. Lesson learned and she didn’t get kicked again. That night I had a parent-mentor date. I played football catch with my 10-year-old and then took him out for a treat. I surprised myself by willingly doing football drills with him even in the dark and drizzling rain. We played until it was absolutely dark. We ended up thrifting after the treat, imagine that, where he was delighted to find a golf club that I bought him for $2. He had been miniature golfing at the alpaca ranch house the weekend before and discovered the game of golf. The next day he spent hours outside playing with it. It’s so fun to see such simple pleasures. I didn’t track the book I read to him that night but he’s always good about asking me to read to him. I hope he keep asking for it even up until he leaves for home. Maybe we have started a reading streak like in The Reading Promise. My older kids never asked for my bedtime reading to them at age 10 like he does, they always just gravitated to reading on their own and allowing me to bedtime read when I insisted. For our books I read the one above and the one below. The Elijah book is a sweet passover picture book, which aren’t exactly abundant, and the one below is silly but not too silly. A good book for talking about the idea of introverts/extroverts.

Wordy Birdy Meets Mr. Cougarpants by [Sauer, Tammi]


The amazing cookies the alpaca owners served us!

Friday 3/13: My two boys played football. That night I got to play games with adults. See the games above at the very top of this post. Yep, we played all four: Say Anything, Spontuneous, Letter Jam, and Telestrations. It was a ton of fun! Say Anything is great a as a “getting-to-know-you” and “I don’t want to think too hard” game. I’m having fun getting with adults more often to play games that the kids can’t play, full of trivia questions and references that apply to Boomers (my husband and the older couples I invite) and Gen Xers (me and the younger people I invite). The night was totally worth it just to find out that my neighbors are totally into music lyrics (hence the wife won Spontuneous). Also to see the same neighbor smile more than I’ve ever seen her do so before. I’m learning my husband is really good at this game! He loves to break out into lyrical phrases I had no idea he knew!


Dear husband is digging up the lyrics in the deep resources of his memory, about to break forth in song.

Saturday 3/14:

The best book for Pi Day! Written and drawn in the same whimsical spirit of Dr. Seuss, but educational at the same time. I wish I had found this one in time to read to all the kiddos for our gameschooling Pi Day the Tuesday before. It’s easier to follow than the Sir Cumference book.

This was date night just for hubby and me, after having the group date night the night before. For the first time ever, we played a 2-player board game for our date. We need to do this more often! We were in such a rut of just always watching a movie at home. I picked Davinci’s Challenge. I have supervised this game for our gameschooling twice but this was the first time I actually got to play myself.


I figured out a great strategy that allowed me to win. It involves pattern building and recognition, based on patterns that all come from the Tree of Life/Circle of Life motif, so perfect for Pi Day.

While we played I had this music playing from a YouTube channel I just discovered, Sounds Like Reign. A wonderful date!

Even after date night, my little guy sometimes asks me to read to him for his bedtime settling down. I think I read the one below in addition to the Pi book above.


Sunday 3/15: This was my hubby’s birthday. We had a birthday party online for him to include my four adult children and the three still at home. He’s a big Dave Ramsey fan so we played  “Dave Ramsey Taboo,” using my homemade Taboo cards below. It was a hit! We played brown-eyes vs. blue-eyes. It just happened to work out that way after I divided up the group so that a parent and one older child were on each team with two younger children. (The oldest two children had left at that point otherwise we could have had two big children on each team.) I texted pictures of some of the cards to the people who were remote.



For our book that day, we read the Book of Mormon, as we do every day. I gave hubby Fiddler on the Roof as his birthday gift in VHS format, found while thrifting of course. It’s based on a book. We watched Part 1 that night and Part 2 the next night. Such a bittersweet story and the songs are so wonderful!


Monday 3/16:

We had already planned to have spring break for our gameschooling group and spring break for seminary (which means no getting up at 6 AM and driving up into town at 7 AM) so social distancing didn’t change things for that. What changed was having no track practice to drive my son to in the afternoon. I went to the library anyway and I’m sooooo glad I did as that was the last day the library was open! I got restocked just in time! Whew! If only I had known I would have doubled up! I did gameschooling with my own kiddos anyway because I love games and I want them to catch this love of games, especially when this is such a great time when everyone should be home playing games, LOL!  I had been itching to play Quelf since finding it while thrifting two weeks before, in what will forever go down as “The Wondrous Game Haul at my Local Goodwill Instead of the Goodwills Faraway Where I Usually find the Best Treasures,” the morning of March 6, right before the moms’ retreat. 6 games for $13.55 with two still brand new in shrink wrap. More on that here.


This was the first time I’ve ever played Quelf. Some of the stunts it asks you to do are a bit awkward and will put some people outside of their comfort zone. I found myself smiling when I did one just because of the sheer funny-ness/randomness of it. I can see that it would help to play this game with a willing crowd who aren’t afraid of randomness and spontaneity. I can see that my kids would enjoy this more with my nieces and nephews with all that youthful energy of their cousins. So I’m definitely bringing it on our next Utah trip. Also we will play it when all the older kids are here for sure. I’ve created a house rule that you can skip whatever card you don’t like and keep going until you find one you want to play. As we increase our level of skill and ability of sportsmanship, i.e. willingness to try something new and unusual and maybe hard, I will drop that rule.


I call it a cross between Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, and Fluxx. The stunts and questions are similar to Cranium and TP and the rules are constantly changing like with Fluxx. People find their inner actors. I like that it got my 15 year old to do a math problem without any prompting on my part. Did you know that 111,111,111 times itself creates a number palindrome for the answer?


Tuesday 3/17: We played Scotland Yard, which I had picked up thrifting two weeks before for less than $3.

It’s a great deduction and strategy game. Everyone but the player who plays Mr. X tries to catch Mr. X as he runs through London. The person who is Mr. X wears the visor so the other players can’t see his eyes looking at where he is. Mr. X puts his pawn on the map every six turns or so and then disappears. Bugsy (my 10 year old) discovered he liked sunglasses instead of the visor to block his eyes from our view. I enjoyed looking up the real sites of London in Google Maps, showing them to the kids, and finding YouTubes of some of the places, like the British Museum.

Tuesday’s book was:

Wednesday 3/18: Book was Fiona’s Lace which is the greatest St. Patrick’s day picture book ever because of its theme of Irishness and family roots and sacrifice. Such a great, wonderful book!

Fiona's Lace

We played three games that day: more Scotland Yard, Getta Letter at dinner, and then Taboo with Dad after he got home from work, after dinner. We got to unbox the brand new Taboo game I picked up for $2.49 while thrifting. Woo-hoo!

I was surprised that Getta Letter was such a hit among all the kids. I let them pick whatever card/category they wanted to play. I picked this up years ago thrifting in Utah. It’s so old the mechanical timer is broken so I just used the timer on my phone. It’s the reverse of Scattergories. You are given a category and then say as many things in that category as you can, one thing that starts with each letter of the alphabet, with “XYZ” as one letter. We played to see who could get the most. I think the older son got 15 or 16. We had fun using our own made-up categories like “picture book authors” and “podcasts”  and for the boys, “NFL players” and “country music songs.” My son actually beat me at naming podcasts. You could totally DIY this game, just toss out a category and have people write down answers. Don’t shell out the high price charged on amazon.

Later that night, after dad was here, we played Taboo. I was pleased to see my Taboo skills were as sharp as they were when I played this three decades ago. I loved this game as a kid! I even made a “Taboo Baby Shower” version for when I hosted a baby shower for my BFF from childhood.  I feel like I missed out on a lot of great potential family fun nights not playing this game when my older kids were home. The game became a pleasant and faded memory instead of a key player and I regret that. So cheers for it coming back into my life. I like that the “buzzer” is now a mild squeaker that doens’t require batteries, instead of the harsh buzzer that does. Anyway, we played kids vs. adults then boys vs. girls and I won whichever team I was on. Ellie Dix in The Board Game Family book has Taboo on her “Top Ten List” of Dangerous Games but we didn’t have any fighting during it like she warned. Maybe if we had played with the older kids who are more sticklers we would have. Another great DIY game that you can adapt to themes as I did with Dave Ramsey above. Just Google for oodles of ideas for cards.

Thursday 3/19:

A comical Easter book, not really about Easter, just about an Easter egg. Very funny!

The Bunny Who Found Easter Gift Edition

This one is a lovely dreamy book about the cycle of life. I love Charlotte Zolotow.

I wanted to play something involving music and the kids on Thursday. I had picked up Hummm…ble, a board game involving humming and “Name that Tune.” last fall and have been really wanting to play this ever since. It’s close to $70 on amazon. I found one for $2 thrifting. I like my edition better than amazon’s because it’s purple.  Remember what I said about playing with Boomers and Gen Xers? Yeah this is a game for that. Not kids. It does say 12+ on the box. That would be 12+ twenty years ago, LOL! The pic below shows how excited they were to play it with me.


We used YouTube clips of a lot of the songs instead of humming them, with me taking an active role in cue-ing up the songs and encouraging them to just guess the title based on the lyrics. So instead of humming I let them hear the actual words. The 15 year old picked out “You’re the One that I Love” from Grease after I played it from YouTube. I love that it’s a great game for musical cultural literacy, and pop culture history as well!

Here’s how to make it more fun for them next time: let them pick whatever song they want in the category that they land on, if they are the clue-giver and don’t know the song suggested on the card. Then they can stump me, especially my 15 year old with his country music.

That was during the day. Then at night we played Brain Games. I love the question cards. The four categories are logic, language, mind and body, and vision. This is a great game for my kids Pyramid Math/Science Class. I’m going to suggest we play it virtually during the coming weeks of the school shutdown where we aren’t meeting in person.


I’m thinking next time we play Quelf I will put the mind and body cards from Brain Games in substitution for the Stuntz cards in Quelf, because they aren’t silly like Quelf’s are. I’m OK with silliness, to a point. Then let people choose.

Friday 3/20:

The boys played Stratego for our game of the day. I love seeing my kids visit classics from my childhood. This is technically my 26 year old’s game but he hasn’t claimed it and taken it with him yet. He’ll probably just buy his own when he’s done playing all his other more tantalizing games.

Hasbro Gaming Stratego Nostalgia

And that’s a wrap! Another gameschool week in the books!

Want a how-to on gameschooling?

Here’s my intro to the #abookandagameaday challenge. Perfect now that we are all homeschoolers!

Here are two PDFs about gameschooling, including how to build a gameschool collection on a budget and instructions for how to play 7 games right away.

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1 Response to #abookandagameaday during social distancing, Third Week of March 2020

  1. Pingback: #abookandagameaday Mon. 3/23/20: Abigail, Winnie, and Lola, plus…the amazing Codenames! | Tree of Life Mothering

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