An old fashioned game of BINGO


There are many games that adults take for granted or as being boring or as not suitable for any occasion. Many of these overlooked games are in fact the highlight of many a kids party I have attended. I recall a couple of years ago, when my own children where 8 and 10, going to a Christmas party with a group of children their own age. At some point in the proceedings the hostess brought out this large wooden box and placed it in the middle of the dining table. The children began to gather around as the hostess opened the box to reveal a large game of Bingo (or Lotto as it is sometimes called).

The game, at the party, was not as elegant as the Victorian version pictured which includes cowrie shells to cover the numbers. What was interesting about the appearance of this game, at the Christmas party, was that about one half of the guests had played the game before and they were just as excited as the guests who had not seen this game before.

One of the attractions of this game, for the kids who knew how to play, was teaching the other kids who were unfamiliar with the game. For the younger kids, it was quite a challenge to keep up with the numbers and older children would assist (whether asked for or not!).  Apart from number recognition the game teaches (if that is the correct word) patience. In the party I attended the series of games did not end until every child had called Bingo and won a small prize. This is relatively easy to accomplish as you play until half of the guests have called Bingo, then start another game. On subsequent games you make a note of who has previously won a prize and that person cannot win another prize. Although to adults this arrangement seems condescending the kids understand and take pleasure in getting their prize after they have called Bingo for the first time, regardless of how many others are ahead of them.

The great aspect of this game is that a very large number of kids can play at the same time and the game is pure luck so kids can beat their parents (which is always entertaining to both of them).

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