Today's edition of Travel the World brings us to the Netherlands. The book is Playing with Stuff: Outrageous Games With Ordinary Objects by Ferry Piekart and Lars Deltrap. The first American edition is 2004; the publisher is Kane/Miller.
Playing with Stuff is a strange little book. It is full of activities, crafts, games, etc. for children to play indoors and out with ordinary household items or "stuff." Some of the games, I think, would be a hit with children. I'm not sure all of the games would be a hit, however, with parents who would most likely have to clean up afterwards. I'll be specific. I'm not sure parents would get excited about the idea of their kids using rolls and rolls of toilet paper and playing "Robber Roundup" a game where the children first take rolls of toilet paper strips and make a confusing pattern weaving it up and down and around all the furniture. Most likely you've seen it in the movies--when a burglar breaks into a building there's usually high-tech security. Laser beams criss-cross the entire place and the slightest touch triggers the alarm: beep-beep-peep! Risky business. That's why real robbers practice. And you can too (even though you're not a robber). How? With lots of toilet paper of course! Another toilet paper focused game is Story Boardy where kids use rolls of toilet paper to make a game board around the house. Six squares of toilet paper equals one game square, and kids are encouraged to write on the toilet paper funny game instructions. And of course, the kids themselves are the players. While I'm not denying that it is probably fun to be your player in a board game and have things be life-sized, I am sure it would require quite a bit of set up time. And clean up time. But there are many, many other games that require less time and cleanup. For example, Calendar Caper just requires an old calendar, two game pieces, 2 markers, and dice. And Cheese Squeeze just requires a slice of cheese, a plate, and two straws. Both of those games sound like fun to me.