In our house this is called The Mermaid Game, however, it is not limited to mermaids. You know those little glass figures that come in the boxes of Red Rose Tea? Well, that's where our Mermaid came from. But, if your box happened to come with the Sailboat, you could definitely play the Sailboat Game. This could also be called the Army Man Game, the Purple Dice Game, the Little-Pebble-I-Found-Outside Game. You can use anything.
Now, you may be asking, "What is the Mermaid Game?" Well, basically it's just a game of hide and seek that never ends.
I don't actually remember how this game started for us. Although, I do know that when it started we didn't expect it to go on for 2+ Years... but I'm so glad it has! Believe it or not, we moved and the mermaid game has continued in out new house. When we were packing everything from our old house I slipped the Mermaid into my pocket, re-hid it at the new house, and simply let the game live on.
The game-play is really very basic. You find some item you would like to play this with, let your family know (I think we kind of skipped this part and it just happened), and hide it somewhere in your house. Everyone goes about their life as normal and if someone comes across the item they take it and hide it somewhere else. It's that simple.
As with any game, this game does have rules. Unfortunately, by writing up this post, I have to break the first and most important rule.
Rule #1: Do not talk about the Mermaid.
The Mermaid is not discussed. Having said that, there are instances where this rule has been broken. Of course I am breaking it right now, but there was also an instance when it seemed months had gone by and there had been no sign of her. I called an emergency Mermaid meeting and we all agreed, she was missing. A Mermaid hunt ensued, we found her, and the game continued. So yes, we do not talk about the mermaid unless completely necessary.
Rule #2: Do not remove the Mermaid from her hiding spot or put her into a new hiding spot if anyone is around to see you.
If you happen to stumble upon her and retrieving her would require climbing on top of furniture and calling attention to yourself, you should definitely wait till the room is not full of people to take her. If you are able to stealthily slip her into your pocket, go ahead. But if there's a chance of being spotted, it can wait. The same goes for putting her into her new hiding spot.
Rule #3: Do not hide the Mermaid anywhere too difficult to find.
Clever hiding spots are great. funny hiding spots are great. But hiding her where no one can find her just isn't fun. She should never be completely out of view unless she is in a location that is frequented by most of the family. E.g. The medicine cabinet, the cookie jar, etc.
Rule #4: Do not hide the Mermaid in any of the bedrooms.
This rule may not be necessary in every household, but in my house our bedrooms are not high traffic areas. Usually the only people in the bed rooms are those that it belongs to. If your family has two children who share a bedroom and parents to tidy for them and tuck them in every night, then the bedroom would probably be fine. We considered making a no bathroom rule before we decided that it was one of the highest traffic areas as well as one of the most entertaining rooms to hide her in.
Easy enough right? We take the Mermaid Game very seriously in our home and you will be scolded if you are found breaking any of the rules. You may also be asked to relinquish the Mermaid to whoever caught you and let them hide it, rightfully losing your turn.
Another good idea is to put a limit on how long she can be in one spot. If you have hidden the Mermaid and 3 weeks later you realize she is still in the same spot, then it's probably too difficult of a hiding place and she should be moved.
Here are just a few ideas to help get you started on your own game.
Use the flaws of your home's construction. Little spots like this one pictured below are perfect for the Mermaid.
Incorporate her into your seasonal decor. It's extra fun to use things that are not always there. Just make sure she is not packed away with your Easter eggs when spring is over.
I hope you enjoy this game. Please share your family's thoughts and any rules you would add in the comments. I'd love to hear how this game took off in your household!