By Debbie Rodgers
The hot and hazy days of July
are here! Some of you are planning lazy days at a cottage this summer,
while others are preparing for road trips. Many of you are simply enjoying
the weather by lounging in your outdoor space at home. No matter where you
are, however, the parents and grandparents among you are wondering how to
avert the common refrain of children let loose from school: "I'm bored!"
Summer days were made for playing. I remember growing up in the `50s and
early `60s, spending hours engrossed in board games, tile games and cards
while a breeze blew across the porch.
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, whatever the weather,
whatever your age group, dominoes are the perfect activity. Dominoes are
especially great because they don't blow away like Monopoly money, they're
small and portable, and they don't break.
Although tile games have been in existence in China for about 1,000 years,
the European domino set with which we are most familiar in the western
world first came into use in Italy around 300 years ago. It is from these
European roots that we take the word "domino" which in Italy and France
refers to a black hooded cloak, lined with white, once worn by priests.
The traditional European domino set consists of 28 black and white pieces.
Each domino originally represented one of the 21 results of throwing two
dice. One half of the tile is set with the pips from one die and the other
half contains the pips from the second die. In addition, there are seven
dominoes with the values that result from throwing a single die with the
other half of the tile left blank.
This traditional set is called a double six set, since the highest tile is
well, a double six. There are larger sets available double nine has 55
tiles; double twelve has 91 and double fifteen, a whopping 136. The double
six set provides the fastest, easiest games
with the larger sets providing greater challenge and greater time
requirements. Our double fifteen games usually last one to two hours.
There are many different games that can be played with dominoes. Here's a
small sample. For detailed instructions on playing each game, visit
For very young children, you may wish to use a set of dominoes with
pictures rather than dots. As children learn to count, you can teach them
the fast, simple games of Draw or Block. As they master additional skills,
they can move on to Concentration or the popular Five-up. Chicken Foot is
a simple game played with a double nine set.
Older children and adults will no doubt enjoy a game of Mexican
Train, which is usually played with a set of double twelves or higher.
Many adults also relish the bidding strategy of Texas 42, a
card game converted to dominoes in the 1960s.
The possibilities with dominoes are seemingly endless there are
countless games with numerous regional and national variations. Why not
pass down the knowledge of this simple fun to your children or
grandchildren or make your next adult get-together a domino night? It's
perfect outdoor fun.
About the Author:
Debbie Rodgers owns and operates Paradise
Porch, and is dedicated to
helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich
them. Visit her on the web at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free
report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space".
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