You may have done this with girlfriends on a sleepover in the 80’s. I know I did.
You may have done this as part of a talent show at camp. Yup.
But you may not have thought of doing this with your kid.
Here’s why you should play…
It’s funny: This game is the ultimate goof-ball move. This game will get you in the “play zone” with your kids. I’ll take any opportunity to get a laugh from my kid or my students. Putting some googly eyes and drawing a nose on my chin is no exception. Laughter is healing, cathartic, and bonding of course. When our to-do-lists have to-do-lists and our time with our children is so pressurized, it’s great to find a simple way to laugh together.
It’s irreverent: Normally markers can only go on paper…but now we use them to draw on our faces! You can get elevated to hero status for playfully breaking rules like that! (Just please don’t use a permanent marker by accident!)
It does the work for you: Put on the face and they will laugh. You can assume a different voice or a different status than you normally have. I like to make my chin very fancy and a little entitled. As such a small weird creature, it tends to make things even funnier.
It helps your child grow: Don’t underestimate the power of play, even a simple game like “Silly Chins”. Play “influences children’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development. Play allows children to communicate their ideas and feelings and to verify their knowledge of the world.” (Saracho, 1998). A game like silly chins allows you to structure the game just enough to play with them. It still leaves room for their dramatic play to unfold naturally and for you to have meaningful dialogue with them.
It gives a platform for communication: Sometimes you may want to discuss to your kid about what’s going on at school or at home and having the context of this game can give you a playful format to talk to your kids.
There’s no right or wrong: Play how you like – name your chin, give it a new identity, interview each other, funny characters will emerge naturally.
Here’s when to play…
Carve out at least 20 minutes for this game – or 10 minutes a person. Do it as a study break with older kids or as a silly Sunday morning activity. Use it to get the “play”-ball in motion at a sleepover or birthday party.
Here’s how to play
Now, I’d love to hear from you! How did you make this game your own? What characters/scenarios did you come up with? Tweet us your silly chin – @childsplaynyny and make sure you pass along this idea to parent-friends who would enjoy it too.
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Saracho, Olivia N., and Bernard Spodek. 1998. Multiple perspectives on play in early childhood education. Albany: State University of New York Press.