Monday, May 17, 2010

Dad50 #15. Donating for the Cause

You are out in public and in an all too familiar situation: you are tasked with keeping Jr occupied for "a few minutes". Now, us Dads know by now that such a term invokes some kind of time-distortion device. It could refer to 2,3 or 5 minutes, or 48. And you don't know just how long it's really going to take your better half to buy the socks/pay the bill/sign the kids up for soccer/find the flowerpot she wants/(insert variable here). When placed in such a position, Dad U pulls out a sure-fire kid entertainment game (for ages 2 to ~10):
  • COIN ROLLING (it's really just another SGD (Dad50 #9), but deserves a slot of it's own because it's so effective)
All you need is a relatively flat surface (Shopping mall marble, carpark sidewalk, any foyer with low carpet works great. Grass does not. You get the idea), and a coin (check your wallet). Pennies work OK, although small, but get you entry level buy in to the game. Nickels are better due to the wider edge, but are a bit light. Quarters are perfect, although you will be playing with more of a financial risk!
Now, Dad U has made the observation that kids seem to come hardwired with a money-trigger (not surprising since they are just starter adults). They will literally pounce on a rolling coin or chase it till its retrieved. Interestingly, coin-chasing enthusiasm seems to track higher in proportion to increasing denomination. Hence the impact of a quarter compared to a penny.
You need to avoid playing this game where kids laughing and tackling each other might be frowned on, or there are too many pedestrians in the area (who might get trampled if they get in the way).
Here's how you play. Take note, it's complicated:
Step 1: You roll the coin.
Step 2: They run and fetch it.
Step 3: They bring it back.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 until Mom shows up.

It's best to roll one coin for each kid. Unless you want to make it a contact sport. But that can be fun too if the big ones know who is fair game for a tackle, and who is in a green-jersey.
Dad U does not know why this game triggers such a primeval inner fascination for kids. Could be the motion of the coin rolling,  the sound of a coin on marble, the opportunity to pounce, or to find something valuable that escaped their vision temporally and was "lost". Could be the competition of "full contact rolling", or the joy of getting lost in fun instead of the mindless tedium of waiting. Or, it could have something to do with the only real "rule" of the game:
When the game's over they always get to keep the coin.

Dad U
-happy rolling

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