You Only Live Once

OK, who among you hasn't wanted to try this?

Last week we had our final gathering of the kids' club at the inloophuis before the commencement of summer vacation. We followed our usual pattern of:

1. gathering: sitting in a circle and chatting for a bit about whatever blows our hair back
2. reading a story related to the day's theme
3. doing something creative, usually involving markers, paint, scissors, glue
4. playing games, indoor or outdoor, depending on the weather

The spontaneous hand-painting occurred during phase 3, obviously.

During phase 4, we went outside. The kids wanted to play "War." In spite of my Mennonite reservations, I did not protest, for I must admit, I was curious as to what sort of cultural phenomenon I was about to witness. (Does this make me a bad missionary, or a good one?) The children proceeded to use sidewalk chalk to draw out a map of five "countries" on the blacktop (I believe they were Holland, Belguim, Germany, Amsterdam and Almere -- the distinction between countries and cities wasn't entirely clear for all participants). Then the kids took turns dropping a piece of chalk onto their five-part map. Then everyone, except the person upon whose country the chalk had landed, started to run around chaotically. The remaining person waited a bit before yelling: STOP! The runners froze. If the non-runner could stre-e-e-e-etch out and touch one of the others while her feet were still safely within the boundaries of her own country, then the tagged runner had to draw a chalk circle around her feet: that encircled area thus became a new "territory" belonging to the conquering country (ruled by the stretchy person). This process was repeated several times. Then everyone gathered back for another go at chalk-dropping. All in all, an interesting game, reflective of the Netherlands' colonial past, no? We only played it for 10 minutes before surrendering (no pun intended) our piece of blacktop to the older, tougher soccer crowd -- but they were kind enough to wait until we were ready to leave before taking over. So I'm not sure how the game ends: I assume the one with the most territory wins.

Here's a few photos of War: