I will admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I tend to try to make the world a sweeter, more innocent place for my kids. Sometimes that means not allowing them to watch a particular movie or read a certain book until they are older. Sometimes it means changing the game "hangman" to what we call "girlfriend", where no one gets hung, and the draw-er gets to make the "girlfriend" as fancy as she wants during the course of the guessing game.
Recently we've been checking out some math games online, and Eliza came across Battleship. I remember loving the plastic version we had when I was a kid, playing often with my little sister. This particular game is not graphically violent - you're not actually drawing a person hanging, but the premise is that you are bombing someone's fleet of ships, which just isn't very nice, is it? So in comes one of my late-night brainstorms for a morning's game...You Ate My Radish!!
This game takes place in a garden, and as you tend your own bevy of veggies, you are also acting as a critter - we were thinking rabbit - who is nibbling from your opponent's garden.
To play you need:
- two grids for each player (we used graph paper, with the garden outlined); along the top mark each column with a letter, along the left side mark each row with a number.
- two each of the following colors of crayon, marker, or colored pencil: red, orange, green, brown.
- something, like a binder, to offer some privacy for each player. a clipboard for each might work.
After creating your grids - ours used the letters A through J and numbers 1 through 18 - it's time to use one of the graphs to create your own garden. We used one red square to signify a radish, three consecutive orange squares to signify a carrot, and 3 green squares, corner to corner, in a "V" shape, to represent kale. You can of course make up whatever veggies you like in this way!! Beets could be 2 purple squares, pumpkins 4 dark orange, etc...
The second graph represents your opponent's garden. When you make a guess and have a "nibble", you use your colored crayon to mark it on this grid. "A-5? Carrot!" Mark A-5 orange. The gardener with the nibbled carrot marks an "X" over that square on their garden. On the many many many occasions when there was nothing to nibble, the reply was "dirt!" and the square was colored in brown. On the lucky turn when a vegetable was completely nibbled, the response was an enthusiastically outraged, "You Ate My Radish/Carrot/Kale!!!!!!"
The one thing we would change about this game would be to either make the garden grid smaller or to fill it in with a LOT more vegetables! We were kind of winging it this first go and ended up saying "dirt" a whole lot, which got a little boring. The important thing might be to decide together how many of each vegetable there should be.