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Feb 19, 2016

In an effort to(1) get my children away from computers and the television, we play games. Mostly we play cards, but we also have a cupboard full of games of different kinds. One of them is called Suspend. It requires calculation and a sense of balance. The main point of the game is to hang as many colored, plastic sticks as you can from a metal hook without any of them falling. This sounds easy, but its not. The sticks are long and wavy. Each stick has to go in a different place, so the places you can hang your stick become more and more limited(2). The metal hook is at the end of a long, straight metal stick that has a wide wooden base, and two stabilizers. There is also a spinner ( an arrow that spins around on a card that has choices). Each person must spin the spinner to see which choice it lands(3) on. For example: it might land on red 2, which means that you have to suspend two red sticks somewhere. It might also land on -2 which means that you have to remove two sticks. The winner is the person who manages to hang all of his sticks first. Of course, any game that involves the risk of a lot of things falling is fun. There are similar games that use blocks, such as the game Jenga. You start with a tower of blocks that is three blocks wide. Each person has to remove a block without the tower falling down. The bigger the tower, the more fun it is because there is a bigger risk of a bigger crash. In any of these games you can add to the excitement by placing bets of chocolates, candies, or even shells. You can also play the games in a different language, or take note of any mathematics that is involved.

1. ‘In an effort to..’ is a useful phrase to add variety to your English. It is like saying ‘in order to’, or ‘trying to’.
a. In an effort to organize her classroom, Mrs Brown bought ten plastic containers and labelled them.
b. In an effort to put the fire out, the local government asked all the residents to turn on their irrigation systems.
2. ‘More and more’ is also great occasionally for some variety in speech.
a. I don’t think he likes his job; his attitude is becoming more and more negative.
b. We need to employ more workers because our farms are producing more and more vegetables.
3. ‘To land’ is to arrive at a geographical spot, or by plane. It is also used a lot in games when and arrow points to a choice, or a game figure/piece arrives on a part of a game board.
a. I won Monopoly last night; I kept on landing on the best streets, so I bought them all!
b. Spin the spinner and see where it lands.
c. In the game Snakes and Ladders, if you land on a snake, you have to slip down it and go back several spaces. However, if you land on a ladder, you can climb up it and go forward several spaces.

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