Blanket, Hopscotch and a Pack of Dominoes

Whilst out on my last February morning walk with George, I was going through last week’s events in my mind, trying to pick my favourite moments and the one day worth the title of ‘highlight of the week’. This is usually a difficult process, since our philosophy as a family is to try to only do things that we like and value, and our weeks are therefore packed with favourite activities. This week, however, one day sprung to my mind instantly: Thursday. A could-have-been-ordinary day best described by three ordinary key words: blanket, dominoes, hopscotch.

That’s all it took to keep my entire family – and my daughter in particular – entertained for the whole of last Thursday: a makeshift tent, a pack of dominos and a paper hopscotch. As every parent knows too well, children’s school holidays can be a really tough time. This is a time when you have to up your skills and divide your time and attention between work, home and preventing your child from getting bored.

Well, my daughter was on holiday last week  and we happened to be busier with work than normal. A very unfortunate coincidence, I must say. Although she’s a good and thoughtful kid who likes her own company and is able to entertain herself due to a vivid imagination and the bouncy presence of George, by Thursday she’d had enough and requested that everybody takes time off to play with her. We had taken turns in keeping her occupied up until that point, but now she wanted all of us to spend time together “like we normally do”.

The weather was not warm enough to go for one of our mammoth nature walks, so we were bound to stay indoors and find something to do. And then, Eureka! My husband had a brilliant idea: why not make a tent in Brianna’s room and go camping?

The little bedroom quickly became a frantic construction site, with the huge blanket I use to cover our over-sized family sofa being draped over the dining chairs and tied with Brianna’s hair baubles. Within 10 minutes, the set had changed completely and a dark-brown canopy tent was reigning proudly in the middle of the room. The curtains had been drawn to create atmosphere and a feeling of authenticity, and the tent had been packed with indispensable camping items that we always take with us on our adventures: an ancient, tiny radio bringing us the latest tunes, a pack of dominoes, bottles of water, all the snacks we could find in the house and, of course, George’s cuddly dinosaur and chewy bones.

All we did for our first two hours in the tent was chat, listen to music, have a laugh and play games. Once again, our treasured pack of dominoes proved to be very successful with the entire family. Even George showed an interest for the smooth pieces, but then decided the game itself was not challenging enough for a whippet, so he concentrated on his chewy stick instead.


The middle of our camping adventure was marked by lunch time, when we had to rely on our stocks of instant soup that we’re saving for when the real camping season starts. We ‘cooked’ them outside in the garden on our small camping stove, and ate them in the tent, sitting bunched up together on the floor ‘to keep warm’. Nothing beats a bowl of hot soup on a chilly day. Again, the dog refused to join in, claiming that ‘human food is no good’ and requesting his bowl of raw mince to be placed in the middle of the tent.

The tent did not survive long after that, mainly because Brianna didn’t want to play dominoes anymore, the adults had started to get backache, and George had abandoned ship altogether and was sulking on top of his sister’s pink duvet.


Whilst the tent was going down and the house was being restored to its original, Brianna came up with a new idea for the rest of the afternoon: a hopscotch. We do not own a manufactured hopscotch, so she had to rely on her resourcefulness and make her own out of paper and sticky tape. Here is the result:


Needless to say that this makeshift hopscotch kept both of us, girls (Dad said he’s past the hopping age and George was still in a mood) busy for the rest of the day. And the next day, for that matter. I have a feeling that we’re up for another play session this evening, too. I can’t wait!

I know that our Thursday may not seem like anything special to other people. I guess most have stopped reading this unusually long post by now. But I am hopeful that the few of you who have had the patience to read on will get the point that I was trying to make: there’s magic in the simple things, as very often it’s these simple things that count the most. Happiness is not measured by expensive trips and fancy items, but by the quality of the time you spend with your loved ones. Last Thursday we improvised and created a fantasy scenario which brought us closer together. We really enjoyed ourselves, and the smile in Brianna’s eyes was our biggest reward.



Filed under Whilst walking the dog

15 responses to “Blanket, Hopscotch and a Pack of Dominoes

  1. Love it…the best things in life are the simplest. Inside camping + dominoes + hopscotch sound like a fabulous way to spend a day. 😀

  2. lifewith4cats

    Thank you for letting us share this most pleasant of days. Making a blanket fort is so fun.

    • Thank you for the nice comment, Sara. I have to admit we have a passion for tents and camping in general, so it was inevitable we’d put one up in the house. I guess we can’t wait for the good weather to come so that we can go off in the wild.

      • lifewith4cats

        I can sure relate to that! I need to see some green grass and hear some bird-song. My yard is snow, and slush.
        This thread has been nice to follow. It starts out with good times, camping, forts, and family, and now remembers our dads. A girls memory of dad-times. again, I can relate and it makes me smile.

      • If it has made you smile and brought back memories, then it is mission accomplished! This has, indeed, developed into a nice thread, mainly because of the comments you guys have contributed. It’s really nice to see that, although we all live in different parts of the world, we share similar memories. I just hope the children of today – many of whom unfortunately don’t have proper families anymore – will be able to do the same in the future.
        There’s three of us already in the “memory of dad-times” club as you call it (love the phrasing), so there must be some truth in the “daddy’s girl” concept.

  3. i DID get to the end and you’re absolutely right.
    p.s. that picture of george on the duvet really made me smile. he looks like he’s sleeping though his eyes are wide open. and …is that a smile?

    • First of all, well done for getting to the end and thank you for your patience 🙂
      George wasn’t asleep at that particular moment, but he often sleeps with his eyes half open, especially when he’s dreaming. And yes, that is a smile…He’s good at expressing his feelings and emotions: he always smiles when he’s happy or content, and you’ll definitely know when he’s upset or thinks he’s been treated unfairly. It’s funny, really, I believe that in his head he thinks he’s a human.

  4. The magic of those simple times is that they are what your daughter will remember into adulthood. It’s sad to know that there are many families who never do that sort of thing. I grew up on a farm and my dad made my sister and me go out one summer with him, putting up new electric fence at a neighbor’s house. He told us that we were making memories, and darned if I don’t still remember that so vividly!

    • I completely agree, and that’s the reason why we try to ‘do things’ as often as we can. That’s a nice childhood memory you’ve shared, which reminds me that I also used to follow my dad around doing jobs with him or just messing about together. If I close my eyes I can bring everything back in a flash. One of my most vivid memories is my dad and I lying on the floor on our tummies, shooting paper arrows through plastic tubes at each other’s chess-piece soldiers. Just a silly game, but I loved it.

  5. postadaychallenge2011

    This is truely heart warming: spending time with your daughter as a family. I loved hop scotch as a kid (now age: 44). The tent thing from blankets, oh I did that and loved it too. Domino’s my favorite as a kid. I am so glad Dad participated too! I am past the jumping age too, but when It comes to my daughter I do anything. I raised her 11 years alone, working three jobs…so the guilt thing is bad. But, she is now 17 I made it, she made it, and her favorite thing she tells me now, is that I would make up stories and tell them to her. It would always involve Her and two of her friends that were real. LOL I didn’t remember that! So kids grow up and become teens: they know more than we go, lol…I love her and I love this post, thanks. ♥ Jackie Paulson

    • Thanks for sharing your and your daughter’s story. I admire you for raising her alone (I can only imagine how hard that can be) and giving her beautiful memories to treasure for the rest of her life. I understand the guilt feeling, I think all mothers get that once in a while because we’d all like to be perfect. But look at it this way: what a great example you’ve set for your daughter working as hard as you did to make sure that she’s got everything that she needs, and how much she must love you for it.
      As for the stories you used to make up, I’d love to read some of them on your blog! 😉

  6. Mom says she used to have indoor and backyard camping all the time when she was a kid. Maybe that’s why she grew up to work for Virginia State Parks!

    • That’s so cool, childhood experiences shaping up your future! We do sometimes wonder if what we do as a family will have an impact on what our daughter will choose to do in the future. You seem to be the living proof that there’s some truth in this.
      We’d love a bit of backyard camping ourselves, but our back garden is too small and putting the tent up in the front garden would be too weird, even for us 🙂

  7. Pingback: Seven Oldies In One Go | my little dog

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