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*Playing With Stuff: Outrageous Games With Ordinary Objects* by Ferry Piekart & Lars Deltrap- young readers book review

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Playing With Stuff: Outrageous Games With Ordinary Objects
by Ferry Piekart & Lars Deltrap
Grades 3-6 48 pages Kane/Miller February 2004 Paperback    

Have you heard “I’m bored” lately? What ever happened to those innovative and often zany games kids used to invent with little things they found around the house? Playing With Stuff to the rescue! I must warn you - there is some danger in passing on this book if you are not inclined to a toilet paper-filled house or other such outrageous uses of ordinary objects.

When I first read the book, I was extremely skeptical – kids these days are used to sophisticated video games, organized sports, and structured board games – boring old stuff from around the house would never go over. Would it? Then I thought of some of the “stuff” that had really gone over well with some of the groups of 9 to 11-year-olds I had worked with recently. One of their favorite was building rocket launchers out of film canisters, paper plates, and Alka-Seltzer. Then I realized that not only would they like some of these outrageous games, they would love them!

How about Rabbit Runnel – a game of tag that gives everyone the perception of a rabbit through the use of toilet paper tube goggles? Of course, this game comes with the warning to play in open spaces to avoid collision with objects outside their newly limited view.

Not only is this book funny to read, it kick-starts creative and innovative thought processes. Sparking game modifications or a whole new idea generated from one of the crazy suggestions in the book, the biggest benefit of the book is the realization that you don’t need fancy new toys to have fun; the box is probably more useful! Come to think of it, kids have been trying to teach us that for years.

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