Last week I challenged readers to fabricate a game or a sport using various mundane objects — things we see every day in the same way and don’t give much thought to — by allowing the imagination to take over and to see them as objects of fun instead. Today I share some of my favorite invented games that make use of simply, ordinary objects and everyday surroundings.
Balloon-Couch Volleyball: This sport is a variation of volleyball and can be played in most any family home. It makes use of two everyday objects in an unexpected combination: a balloon and a couch. Rules: two teams face each other on opposite sides of a couch (front and back) and hit the balloon back and forth, trying to make it touch the floor on the other team’s side before anyone from the other team can get to it. Any body part can be used to hit the balloon or to save it from falling to the floor. Each team has three touches to get the balloon over the couch. The couch itself is neutral, meaning that the balloon is allowed to bounce off it. The balloon’s lightness makes the game both harmless to the surroundings and a blast to play.
Saltshaker Curling: This sport is a variation of the Winter Olympic sport of curling, where players from two teams slide round objects on the ice, trying to get them to stop within a circular target area. Saltshaker Curling brings together two ordinary objects in an unconventional way: a kitchen table and a tabletop saltshaker. Rules: two players, seated at opposite sides, take turns sliding the saltshaker toward the other side of the table, trying to make it stop as close to the edge as possible without falling off. The game goes on for twenty attempts each. Once players get good, the winner often gets the shaker to stop where it partially hangs over the edge of the table without falling off.
Speed Leaf-Catching: This is a very simple but exhilarating out- door game. It requires only one common object: an autumn tree with falling leaves. Rules: players position themselves around the tree, and they try to catch as many falling leaves as possible before they hit the ground. The game is played for five minutes. The winner is the person who grabs the most leaves.
How about it? Are you motivated to try one of these games or perhaps create your own variation? If you need a bit more inspiration, try this: whenever you have the opportunity, give children some random objects, ask them to make up a game, and watch them play. Observe how they think, how they relate to the objects and to each other. Learn and be inspired.
More about overstepping perceived limitations in your business and personal life in my book Slingshot: Re-Imagine Your Business, Re-Imagine Your Life.