The Monster Lab Game

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Ages preschooler

With a simple story line and some kitchen items, you can create a sensory extravaganza that scares kids into good-natured giggles.

What you'll need

  • Blindfolds
  • Long, thin wooden board
  • Various foods (see steps 3 and 4)

How to play

  1. Here's how it will work: The kids are blindfolded and led over a moat to a mad scientist's dungeon laboratory and seated in a circle (any child too frightened by blindfolding can act as the scientist's assistant). There, Dr. I.B. Wicked announces in a hushed voice that he or she will unveil the recipe for the most astonishing creation yet: The Drooler. The children are welcome visitors, he explains, but they must keep their blindfolds on and remain absolutely silent, for human stares and sounds may awaken the beast before it is ready to be brought to life.

  2. Blindfold the kids and have them "walk a plank". Set a long, thin wooden board on uneven supports and have an assistant carefully walk the kids across it. For extra effect, have another assistant growling, hissing, muttering and waiting at the end of the plank to take the child to the circle in the middle of the room.

  3. Dr. I.B. Wicked begins by passing containers of ingredients for the kids to sniff, explaining how each will be used to make the monster. A few tough-to-guess ingredients that are sure to wrinkle kids' noses include mouse breath (Parmesan cheese), which increases night vision; extract of grasshoppers (pine and nutmeg), which improves long-jumping ability; charred bat's feet (charred wood), excellent for hearing; and owl pellets (dry yeast), great for cunning.

  4. Dr. I.B. Wicked explains that he has gotten the monster's bones all together, and that it is just the final assembly of organs and extra features that remains. Pass around bowls of monster parts for the kids to feel and relate the past history of the individual organs: the intestines (oily spaghetti) were a donation from Dracula's private collection; the fur (an old wig) came from Sasquatch; the ears (dried apples) were once attached to a 4,600-year-old Egyptian mummy; 12 fingers (cold hot dogs) are from The Six-Fingered Man; three eyes (peeled grapes) are from a family of Cyclopses; the brains (cooked oatmeal) were borrowed from Frankenstein; the heart (a small balloon full of warm water) is from the Loch Ness Monster.

  5. As the monster grows, have a grown-up assistant begin to make growling and waking-up sounds. While you are putting in the last parts, listen carefully for one of the kids to whisper, laugh or scream (if none do, have an assistant make the fateful noise). Yell out, "Oh no, you did it! The monster is waking up!" The assistant then stomps out of the room with a clanking of chains and ferocious muttering.

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