Weekend chess

Lil D loves a challenge.  D Daddy taught her well when it comes to being competitive- she can do the trash talk, can revel in victory and be gracious in defeat (though that happens less and less often these day).

She also wants to find as many games to beat her aunties at as possible!

So.  Papa got a chess board for Christmas.  Papa loves a crossword and claims to understand chess, yet he has had nine months to prove his skill and somehow avoided it.  Which is why it’s good to have dotes around- they will always want to try the new thing in the house.

Shortly after Christmas we experimented.  Lil GN loved the idea, but decided that rules don’t really matter when all the cool little figures could have a battle on the board.  So we played something, just not chess.  Lil C had no interest (much too busy making the other dotes laugh).  Lil D wanted to try it for real, but it was a little complex for her to keep inside her head.

Last weekend, a nasty cold put my energy levels low and Lil D suggested we try chess again.  Boy what a difference a half year makes to a dote’s tactical understanding.  Firstly we played a warm up game or two of draughts- where she obliterated me basically single handedly.  I’m no expert but really?!

Then came the main event.

The room watched.

D Daddy and I explained the rules, how the pieces move, how she sometimes needs to think ahead for her moves.

And then (with a little help from the audience) Lil D patiently took my pieces from the board and had my king in check fairly swiftly.  It was all downhill for my dreams of chess glory after that, and with some glee Lil D earned the right to say checkmate.

Ahh… well done Lil D, well done.

Playing by the rules

When it’s a rainy afternoon and you’ve watched one too many episodes of Scooby-doo, why not break out the playing cards, gather in the troops and play Jack Changes?  It’s what we do when Lil’ D comes to stay, and we aunties quite enjoy the challenge of remembering all the rules and trying to beat the already remarkable skills of a 7 year old!  Perhaps her daddy’s insistence that she learn to play without help will create a master card player…

You will need:

Jack changes

Domo-kun Japanese playing cards

one pack of playing cards- these are ours →

3 players + (it can be played with 2 but it becomes predictable)

Each player is given 7 cards and the rest are placed in the centre of the table, the top card is turned over beside the pile.

The idea is to get rid of all your cards and you can only put down a card if it is the same suit or value.  You must pick up a card if you can’t put one down.  Easy right? Continue reading


Growing up we played all kinds of board games – from the classics (Trivial Pursuit) to our own family favourites, which may or may not have been played by anyone else (Journey Through Europe).

Now we get to pass some of the joy of board games on to the wee dotes, but we’re starting small. Continue reading

Where in the world?

‘Not all those who wander are lost’ so said Tolkien

Especially not if the great sites of the world are found on cards as gorgeous as these!


We aunties have been lucky to travel in all kinds of wild and wonderful places and sharing this with the dotes is a big part of the fun with these travel cards.  (Probably more so than making them sit and listen to us, for now anyway…)

Continue reading

Zombie apocalypse…

Or spy village, or pony town (the more terrifying option!)

What do you do if you acquire a cardboard village?

IMG_1638IMG_1639 You let the dotes do a little town planning, a little squabbling over whether the church should be in the centre of town or in the suburbs, then you settle in to get swept along in the mayhem.

This little village has had some bad traffic jams due to escaping convicts (in toy cars), a surprisingly destructive infestation of sparkly eyed ponies (courtesy of Lil’ comedian) and of course a zombie attack from all manner of toy monsters that happen to be lying around the playroom.

We aunties sometimes find that we’ve set the bar high on imagination that we struggle to keep up with, but having props like this has given the dotes a chance to lead the story.  All they ask (demand) is that we get involved!

Challenge Auntie


When life gives you lemons, make Trivial Pursuit.

One minute you’re experimenting with felt citrus and then BOOM! you’ve suddenly and wholeheartedly committed yourself to a whole lot more felt time.

You know that moment when you’re cutting out fake lemon segments and you realize just how similar they are to Trivial Pursuit pieces?

Take the next logical step and yep, I’m making myself a Trivial Pursuit board outta felt.

Never has an idea felt so right ❤ Continue reading