How Do You Do It? (Creating Instructions) - writercize #86

My kids are turning four next week, so I've got kids' party games and craft activities on the brain.  I am a list-maker and idea-organizer, almost obsessively, so before the birthday playtime commences, I will certainly have an outline of a few crafts and games for them to play.  Which got me thinking about instructions, and how people write them.

I have no doubt several of you have opened up an instruction manual for a game only to be scratching your head in the end, wondering what it is you supposedly just learned.  All too often, instructions are too wordy, too contradictory, or lacking in pertinent information.  If you're from a family that likes to play by the rules, at the very least to not be taken by surprise by an opponents cheating attempts, this can spell trouble on the family game night front.

I won't begin to tell you how many arguments my sister and I have had over Mexican Train dominoes.  The frustration is compounded by the fact that each set of rules we looked up online differed significantly.  Yes, it is wise to keep official game rules nearby in my family.  My husband has memorized the Hoyle's rules of a couple of card games just to be safe in case of future disputes.

All that is to say that rules (or instructions) matter.  And games (or crafts) matter, especially at a gathering when people want to be entertained.  It takes some of the entertainment pressure off of the host if it's a good game.  So, please share!

writing exercise:  Recount or invent a game or craft activity suitable for children.

Click "read more" for writercizer sample response on homemade barrettes.
writercizer sample response:

Homemade Barrettes
Buy plain nickel barrettes similar to these at Sunshine Crafts, an array of buttons and beads in assorted colors and sizes and craft glue or a hot glue gun.
Kids can do their own with craft glue.  Fill a paper plate or bowl with glue and give kids Q-tips to apply the glue to the barrette, then cover with decorative buttons and beads.  
Alternatively, parents can help with a hot glue gun.  Let kids pick decorations and show parent the lay-out, then parent can glue them on piece by piece.
Allow to dry and clip in hair!

You can also do this with the ribbon from gift wrap after a birthday party.  See the photo below for a sample.  


  1. Rules do matter! But as in writing, once you have all memorized the rules by heart, you can have fun breaking them and tweaking them to create something new!

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Of course, I like knowing the rules better than anyone so that I can out-cheat my opponents.

    Yes, I have a very strange family. :-D


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