Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Masterful Inactivty

Masterful inactivity: My definition: The art of doing something worth doing when doing nothing.

My children have free time scattered throughout the day. I read with them one or two at a time, after having Bible time in the morning, then math and other “together” subjects. The children that I am not reading with have free time and help keep an eye on the smallest children. There is no T.V. or video games allowed before Daddy gets home, and sometimes, not even when he is home. So what do they do? They are engaged in masterful inactivity! What are some of the things they enjoy?

Legos, Legos, Legos!

My six and older set love to play chess with one another. They are also learning backgammon. Other board games are also popular. Some favorites: Battleship, Harold and the Purple Crayon (Polly’s pick!), Mastermind, Abalone, Stay Alive, etc.

The Dice Game: Gather five or six dice, set a winning number…for example, 300 points, and take turns rolling the dice and roll and add until one person reaches the goal. It’s simple, but very fun for the kids!

Card games such as Go Fish, War and Slap Jack. We also have a ongoing BlackJack tournament going on with the four oldest Lambies and Dad and Mom. We play it once in a while and keep track of chip totals. Trixie is the only one in the black!

Bible verse challenges. Have one child read the address of a verse and the others try to be the first to recite the verse.

Hangman and other whiteboard games are always fun.

Puzzles are a favorite.

My older girls cross-stitch, crochet and sew clothes.

My sons love to disassemble old electronics.

Garden areas can be tended (read that play in the dirt).

Animals are cared for and loved on.

Reading of “free-time” books is often indulged in.

The younger children like to play "The Animal Game". I (or an older sibling) provide clues and see how quickly they can identify the animal. I also play a variation with people from the Bible. For example: I am not an Israelite, but helped defeat Jericho. Two spies hid on my roof. I let them down a scarlet cord. Who am I?

Drawing, painting, watercolor pencils, clay, playdoh, etc. come out and engage their creative sides.

Physical games, like “Hide and Go Seek Back To Camp” (which involves both hiding and racing to a safe spot, eluding the person who is It), “I’maDarlin’” (plot narrated by Trixie): a gamewe made up where one child plays a parent, and the rest are children and the children, when they go to bed, they have to escape and the parent has to run after them and try and spank them, but when they get in bed they can’t get spanked, the parent has to hide in the hall and catch the children as they try to sneak past. ***I haven’t any problem putting the children to bed due to their playing this game!***

Playing outside on bikes and scooters, or playing tag is a top choice!

I hope some of these ideas will help you and your family enjoy some “masterful inactivity” during this long holiday weekend!


  1. We just got Abalone this Christmas and are loving it. It's neat how the longer we play it, the harder it gets.

    I love the idea of no TV until Papa gets home. That's pretty much what I strive for, unless I totally don't get any sleep the night before...then I fall off the wagon.

    Last, at what age do you start having success with card games and kids? I keep trying with my 3 3/4 y.o., and she's clearly not there yet.

  2. Hmm... card games. The only thing my four year old plays is "Go, Fish", and he doesn't play an entire game. He also knows how to balance the cards against themselves to build triangles. He's played "Slap, Jack", too.

    By about seven, the Lambies have learned how to play "Spike and Mallet" (aka Spite and Malice, but my mother didn't like that name). Here's the rules:

    I taught my seven and a half year old daughter a solitaire game (Klondike) when she was in the hospital. She caught on easily.


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