I spent the entire weekend packing up old toys, video games, board games and trading cards that my children haven't touched in years. As I sorted and sifted through hundreds of these items, I realized that we have spent a lot of money entertaining our children. However, of all the games and toys in the house, the most memorable one, which was the greatest fun, was a game we invented, called Three Spoon Balloon. It came with no cost, no rules and no shortage of laughter.
My children and I armed ourselves with long handled, wooden spoons and batted a simple balloon around the living room. Everyone was well aware that the balloon could never hit the floor. We have jumped across chairs and tables with arms outstretched in order to catch a slowly falling balloon before it hit the ground. We have each taken an elbow to the face and skinned our knees on the carpet as we crashed into one another in a group effort to keep the balloon "alive" and in flight.
Perhaps, not the safest of games, it did come with gentler moments when each of us lightly tapped the balloon into a new course as it softly climbed and fell around the room. As the peaceful rhythm of the wafting balloon became hypnotic, someone would always break free from the trance and take their wooden spoon and whack the balloon into oblivion. It was game on at that point, and players became very territorial in their corners of the living room. I preferred the far corner by the fireplace in an attempt to prevent children from flying into the brick. Of course, while it was called "Three Spoon Balloon," no player was ever turned away. Others have joined in the fun with plastic swords and assorted kitchen utensils. Everyone worked hard to make sure the balloon didn't hit the ground in their area of the living room. With spoons in the air, the balloon was protected at all costs. We have had five or more players at times and while everyone had fun jumping and diving over one another, the best games were always with three spoons and the undivided attention of my two children.
My daughter's spoon was covered in bling with dozens of stickers of penguins, smiley faces, lady bugs and more. My son's spoon is a few inches longer than the others, giving him some kind of unspoken edge over his sister and me. My spoon is a simple no frills wooden spoon worn down on the edges from stirring Kool-Aid and spaghetti sauce, at different times, of course.
Three Spoon Balloon delivered more fun than thousands of dollars worth of toys and games. Tonight, my house is full of teenage girls who are happily swimming in the pool. Can you only imagine the looks on their faces, later tonight, when I hand each of them a wooden spoon? Only one will know what's coming next and I know she will smile when she takes hold of her decorated spoon. It's game on, once again.