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Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items Paperback – May 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Heather Swain is a former third-grade teacher, a mother of two, and an award-winning fiction author. Her articles have appeared in American Baby Magazine and Time Out New York Kids, and on Salon. You can visit her blog, One Cheap Mother, and find out about her young adult novels at

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Perigee Books; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399537449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399537448
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Heather Swain is the author of the young adult novel HUNGRY. She has published four novels for young adults, two craft books for kids, and numerous short stories, personal essays, and non-fiction articles for grown ups. She lives in a crooked house in Brooklyn, New York with her husband, two children, a barkless dog, and two rescue cats. You can visit her at and, follow her @HeatherASwain, or stop by her Facebook fan page to say hi.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marcie on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
There's 104 days of summer vacation, And school comes along just to end it, So the annual problem for our generation, Is finding a good way to spend it, Like maybe...." This is the beginning of the opening theme song to Phineas and Ferb on The Disney Chanel. If you have kids or work with kids there is a good chance you are familiar with this cartoon. If not, you should look it up. It's actually very entertaining for a kid's show. However you might be asking yourself what the cartoon and Play These Games have in common. Well, just like the cartoon you might be wondering what to do on your (kids) summer vacation. Heather Swain has some pretty good ideas in this book. "101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items." This is one of the things I like best about this book. These games use everything from balloons, paper, buttons, books, and much much more. Even if you do need to go out and buy a few items, it won't be that expensive. Swain also introduces new variations to classic games such as tag and ping pong. Swain also gives facts about the materials mentioned in this book to go along with the games. You can play these games with just a few kids or a larger group. These games are easy to play with minimal preparations. This book would be great year round for rainy days or birthday parties. This is a great book to have to get the kids out from in front of the television/video games. The only danger in this book is having too much fun!
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By Romancing the Book on July 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
Posted on Romancing the Book's blog
Reviewed by Sarah L.
Review Copy Provided by the Publisher

Play These Games is the perfect handbook for those looking for inexpensive, easy to play games for a variety of ages and number of players. This book would have been a lifesaver for me the summer I was the games instructor at my son's day camp or even back when I had my own in-home daycare. Each game has good detailed instructions including how many players, a brief overview of the game, materials needed, prep work and how to play. While the illustrations are fairly basic, they are still easily understandable.

The games are broken down by categories such as balloons, hula hoops, paper, cardboard boxes, etc. Each category starts off with interesting tidbits about the main item. For example, did you know that "early balloons were made from dried animal bladders"? The book is filled with lots of fun, interesting facts. Most of it probably could be called useless trivia but the kids and I got a huge kick out of it.

The book kind of reminded me of the game show Minute to Win It. I like how basic everyday stuff around the house was used in fun and unique ways. One thing I would have liked to have seen included was alternate directions for some of the games involving lots of players so they could be adapted to smaller groups. Some categories like balloons seemed to have mostly games for 3+ players but buttons however were geared more for 1 or 2 players.

Finally, I like the variety of skill levels throughout. Some games such as balloon battle or house of books were pretty basic but some like the pinball machine and mini foosball were much more elaborate and will be tackled sometime in the future. My family's favorite so far is indoor tennis.
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Format: Paperback
What do you do on a rainy day or even on a nice day when you'd like some variety in your family or friend's gathering? Heather Swain has put together 101 games that range from the simple to complex but which are guaranteed to involve everyone who want to have fun!

How about a goofy game of "Loony Balloons?" All it takes is writing paper, pen or pencil, scissors, plenty of balloons, and the ability to write goofy directions on paper, like "Rub your belly and pat your head while singing the Star Spangled Banner," which will be inserted into the balloons. The game involves bouncing the balloons until they pop when one discovers secret directions to follow. Silly but can liven up a party for sure or a boring afternoon. Trivia questions can be substituted in place of silly directions for any age group.

Or perhaps you might like a game of "Money in the Bank" where one plays with buttons representing a nickel, dime or whatever value you choose. On the other hand, maybe you love puzzles and can create your own with craft sticks, messing up the sticks after drawing your picture on the sticks and then giving your players a set (or no definite) time to reassemble the puzzle pieces.

These games also involve beanbags, books, cardboard boxes, dress-ups, felt, foam boards, paper cups, digital camera and photo printer, ping-pong balls, and so many more items that are cheap and will provide hours of planning and fun. The games range from easy to complex which obviously covers a broad age range.

This is a great book and one this reviewer intends to keep and use with my next day or evening with friends, family, and acquaintances. Eating and drinking are great at a get-together but adding one of these games will provide a memorable time for all! Unique and very nicely done, Heather Swain!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on May 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items is a book that everyone should pick up a copy of. This book had tons of fun and interactive games to play. Mrs. Swain does show you how to have fun without spending tons of money with this book. Some are new games and others are games just with a new twist to them. Games like:

Loony Balloons


Writing paper

Pen or pencil



Write silly actions on the papers like..Bark like a dog, act like a chicken, Moo like a cow, etc. Write enough actions for each person playing. Put the papers in the balloons, blow them up.

How to play:

Everyone sits in a circle on the floor. Hand the first balloon to the first person, who bounces on it three times. If it pops, the player finds the instruction and follows it, than moves to the outside of the circle. Repeat until everyone has had a turn.

Love to play golf or even miniature golf. Well you can play it at home. Stuffed animal charades. There are so many games that I know me and my nephews will have tons of fun trying them all out.
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