During March Break, my kids went for a play date with some dear friends. Thankfully their parents are also my friends, from back in university times, so it's good for everyone to visit. All our kids love playing video games together (Wii, DS, etc.) but today something pulled them away from their consoles - a LARP (live-action role playing) game for them I like to call "Kids vs Zombie".
I was the zombie and naturally, I was hungry for brains (and for eyes - if you ask the zombie, it takes like either grapes or bubble gum). The kids were around and I tried to eat their brains. Thankfully, they had an area of the living room which, for some unknown reason, the zombie could not penetrate. So, the three kids (my daughter and the eldest of the group had a nose bleed so she just watched) brainstormed how to deal with the dead menace lurking just outside their protective borders.
They attacked the zombie and barely got away with their eyeballs intact. They sent distractions out. They tried to offer the zombie money to stop his reign of terror. This didn't work, although it was thrilling to rescue a fallen comrade by kicking and punching the zombie and jumping on the zombie's back as it growled "must ... eat ... brains". Finally, they soothed the zombie with some music and then gave the zombie some eyeballs and brains as the zombie wanted (these were made out of paper) - but it turns out that the eyes and brains were bombs in disguise and it blew up the zombie.
This was a lot like the video games they play - multiple chances to solve the problem, exciting, action-packed, collaborative. "It's neat how they are all working together" commented my daughter as I was pummeled and then left alone as they strategized.
Playing like this is fun. I hope my kids remember with fondness the games we played together - just like I remember my mom taking out her dentures and hiding in one of the rooms leading from the hall as my siblings and I quietly crept down the path, scared silly but delighted too.
And if it so happens that their play brings them other benefits, like this writer mentions in his blog, super.