Guest article: "Inventions .. a game"

A few years ago I helped evolve a game that’s a natural for anyone with a mismatched bunch of stuff lying around the house – certainly a snap for most American households. I began by wandering all over my own mismatched home, garden and garage earlier in the day, collecting a pile of both ordinary and not-so-ordinary household items; i.e., light bulbs, clothes hangers, unused electrical and plumbing supplies, yard décor, odd clothing, shoes, plastic bags, intriguing looking kitchen utensils (colanders and wire whisks are especially useful), assorted odd containers, various pieces of cords, ropes, hoses and other household items, basically anything that looks like it might be worthy subject for what’s to follow.

I then divide the objects into various piles of approximately the same size – one pile for maybe every 5 or 6 people you’re expecting – and put each pile into a bag. When it’s time for the activity, I find a creative way to get folks into groups of the approximate size and give each group one of the bags of stuff. I tell them their mission is to get together with their collection of junk and figure out how to use all of it for a new invention which solves a basic need of humanity or whatever. Only rule, if it is one, is they have to use everything. Or I suppose they could throw what they don’t want out a window when I’m not looking. I give them 30 to 60 minutes to work out their challenge - depending on how much fun they’re having doing it - and provide them with pens, tape, string and anything else they want that I can locate.

I also invite them to devise a skit showing off their invention to the rest of the group .. this may take the form of an “infomercial” or trade show display or street huckster or whatever scenario they want. I suggest leaving it as open as possible to allow the creativity and humor to flow. It’s always amazing what ideas the group devises and the humor that comes especially through their sales efforts. Oh, and the “audience” can vote unofficially for their favorite skit with their applause and other sounds of support or criticism – which pretty much happens naturally. This is always a hit with all age groups – usually a highlight of gatherings.

I do find it’s more fun for me collecting the stuff and visualizing how it may be used than it is putting it all away the next day, but it’s worth it all the while. Shows you how much junk you have lying around the place, too. Maybe the next logical step is the nearest donation drop – except you may want it again next time. I’ve even been known to keep the stuff in its own boxes in the garage awaiting the next party.

Gordon Rosenberg


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing you might enjoy: the not-opposite game.

A friend and I once concluded that the square root of a sausage was its inside. Would that we were still capable of such meaty leaps of insight today.


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