The Rules of Let’s Pretend

Ever listen to how kids make pretend games?
It’s not so much the “Game”  but more the “Rules” that they make up that has caught my attention.

I’m listening to some boys list the rules for Marco Polo…
The “IT” boy has to close his eyes and chase the others who respond “Polo” every time he says “Marco”.. pretty standard rules right?  …  but here is where these boys make the team from Boston Legal look like amateurs.


The rule maker starts with …

  • Whoever is “It” is not allowed to wear goggles….probably because tinted googles can hide your eyes if they are open…seems reasonable……
  • No goggles on your FOREHEAD because that counts as “wearing goggles.”
    Not sure why that counts but I’m guessing it has some strategic advantage… 
  • No getting out of the pool and if you do your out! ” BUT…  if you do get out of the pool…Here he inserts a discrepancy clause in the long as you cannonball near the “IT” person you are still in the game ….I guess it gives away your location so that is fair, and could be funny since it scares the hell out of the “IT” boy.
  • If you are underwater and miss the call for “Marco!” you get one free pass and don’t have to say “Polo!” But only once… Not sure how this works if in practice the “IT” person is supposed to have his eyes closed.

I’m guessing there is a lot of squint peeking going on here in this game… overall I hear more arguing about the rules and deviation clauses being created than I see actual playing of Marco Polo….like politics is many ways..that’s a rules game that’s not much fun…

Girls on the other hand come at games from a very different perspective…..

Here is what I have heard them saying.

  • OK Let’s pretend our parents are dead …….????
  • Or …Let’s pretend we are orphans because our parents died in a plane crash
    (which is the same our parents are dead but gives them more street cred.)
  • We are Princesses with big castles and pools and yachts
  • AND everyone loves us because we are rich
  • With all the money in the whole entire world
  • We love animals and they love us too..

The girls then spend a lot of time deciding their Princess names (which sound a lot like stripper names) and deciding their ages …which top out at 30… if you are the grandmother princess.  Then comes the costume dress up session … (again highly influenced by the exotic dancing industry).

I don’t know about you but,… Let’s pretend our parents are dead thing I find a little discomforting….and as the father of five girls I’m planning on sleeping with one eye open from now on!  ….And who ever heard of a fairy Princess named Brandi, Candy or Fantasia???  What can we learn from watching our kids at play?

I guess we can learn that …Sometimes playing by so many rules takes away from the time we could/should be playing on the yachts parked outside our castles…

The rules can often be as confusing in the game of life.  So here are some simple ones I would suggest for us parents….

  1. Parents Should Live ….
  2. Parents Should Have Less Rules….
  3. Parents Should Play More (keeping the stripper names and costumes might help)

One thought on “The Rules of Let’s Pretend”

  1. first you have to figure out your stripper name
    first pet + first street you lived on
    xoxo your favorite sister-in-law
    Birdie Valentine


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