My little brother likes to play the same game a hundred times in a row, and I feel worn out. Do you have any suggestions?
—Needing Ideas in Needham
Dear Needing Ideas,
I know exactly what you mean! I love my five-year-old brother and sister to pieces, but sometimes I get tired of doing the same stuff over and over.
Take last Sunday, for example.
“And the little chipmunk lived happily ever after,” I said, closing Indi’s favorite book.
“Read it again!” she said.
“I’ve read it twice already.”
“Pleeeease!” she begged.
“Hey, will you guys do this puzzle with me?” Tex asked.
“We’re in the middle of reading a book,” said Indi.
“When you’re done, will you do the puzzle?” said Tex.
I sighed. “We just did that puzzle this morning.”
“So?” said Tex.
“This house is a mess,” my mom said, coming into the living room. “I need everybody to spend one solid hour straightening up.”
Now, I’m not the world’s greatest fan of housecleaning, but I was a little relieved to get a break from Tex’s favorite puzzle and Indi’s favorite book.
“Hey, look!” cried Tex. “I found my Stegosaurus in this pile.”
“And here’s the spinner that goes to my game,” said Indi.
I lifted a couch cushion. “And I just found Charlie and Cow’s missing kitty toys.”
When the hour was up, our mom came into the room. “Wow, wonderful job, kids. Thank you!” She looked at the stuff we’d found. “While you were finding things, I lost some socks in the wash.”
“The sock monster is stealing them again,” said Indi.
“Someone needs to have a talk with that naughty guy,” Mom said, pointing out a few unmatched socks in the basket.
Tex slipped his hand inside one of the socks and held it up like a puppet. “I’m the sock monster, and I’m never giving back those socks.”
I giggled. “Good idea! Let’s have a puppet show.”
And that’s how we ended up taking out the craft box and making some super-silly sock puppets. We used markers and felt and buttons and feathers and all sorts of other bits and pieces. Of course, our cats wanted to be part of the fun. Cow jumped onto the table and rolled in glue-covered feathers, while Charlie kept knocking stuff to the floor.
Once we’d finished creating the puppets, we figured out what the show would be about and who would say what. Then we tried a few different stages and decided that kneeling behind the couch worked best.
It just so happened that my friend Ollie and his grandma, Abuela, were coming over for dinner that evening. With them plus our parents, we had a good-sized audience.
Tex’s rabbit puppet was first onstage as the announcer. “I’m hoppy you could join us for ‘The Mysterious Case of the Missing Socks.’ Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”
“La, la, la,” I sang, entering my puppet onstage. “Here I am, an ordinary lady doing her ordinary laundry without a care in the world. Hey, wait a minute. I put two socks in the washing machine, but now I have only one! Something fishy is going on. I better call a detective.”
“Knock, knock, knock! It’s the detective from the Super-Sneaky Detective Agency at your service,” said Indi’s puppet. “What’s the problem, miss?”
“My socks keep disappearing,” my puppet explained.
“Hmm,” said the Indi-detective puppet. “Where’d you last see them?”
“In the laundry room.”
At the other end of the couch was Tex’s sock-monster puppet.
“Aha! Just as I thought,” said the detective. “This sock monster has been stealing your socks.”
“It’s so cold in this laundry room!” Tex’s puppet cried. “Those socks keep me warm at night.”
“I’ll make you a deal,” said my puppet. “You return my socks and I’ll give you a toasty blanket.”
“Deal,” said the sock monster.
“The end!” we all shouted, jumping up from behind the couch and taking a bow.
Our audience cheered. Then Ollie put the sock-monster puppet on his hand and growled, “Next time, you better let Ollie be part of the show.” It made us all laugh.
So, dear Needing Ideas, when you get tired of playing the same games with your little brother, use your imagination to mix things up. Try inventing new rules to a kickball game or making up silly verses to a song. You’ll both have more fun that way. And if you want to put on your own puppet show, ask your mom or dad if there are any unmatched socks hanging around. I’d bet there are!
Ciao for now,
From Highlights magazine