Christy was bored with nothing to do. Long summer days made her antsy and blue.
Christy Petras, 10, was a finalist in a national contest to invent a board game. Christy's game was based on the Dr. Seuss childrens books.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
To help pass the time, she invented a game. The Dr. Seuss Game was its fanciful name.
"Last summer, my mom started back to work, and I was bored," said Christy Petras, a 10-year-old whose family lives in Spring Lakes. "Then (my mom) found an ad in a magazine for a contest for kids to invent their own game."
The challenge provided Christy, then 9, with her perfect summer project. She spent the next several weeks creating a Dr. Seuss-inspired board game, which contest-sponsor University Games chose as a finalist out of 1,000 entries for her age division.
The rising fifth-grader at Martinez Elementary School won 11 popular board games made by the company, including Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen Sandiego?, 20 Questions for Kids, Totally Gross and, Christy's personal favorite, Brain Quest.
An A student, Christy said she loves literature. In fact, she has written nine books, including a book of poetry she wrote for her mother, Marianne, on Mother's Day.
Creating a board game based on the fantastical world of Dr. Seuss' children's books seemed like a natural progression for Christy.
"I love Dr. Seuss," she said. "I still read them."
Christy, with help from her little brother Mitchell, 7, incorporated three activities into her game - trivia, rhyming and drawing. For each correct answer, a player receives a felt piece shaped like The Cat in the Hat's hat. The player to finish the game with the most felt pieces wins.
Each player rolls a die and moves a playing piece onto a board square. Depending on where players land, they may have to answer a trivia question with multiple choice answers about Dr. Seuss stories.
Players landing on the "Rhyming" square must come up with three words that rhyme with a word printed on a card from a stack of cards on the game board. Another square requires players to draw a Dr. Seuss-like character but not a Dr. Seuss character itself. The player to the left then gives the creature in the drawing a name. Consecutive players to the left continue adding details about the character.
"I could draw a funny-looking animal, and the person next to me calls it a Whatyamajigget," Christy explained. "The other players then add to the Whatyamajigget's story.
"It could be that the Whatyamajigget lives in the swamp and eats macaroni. Each player that contributes to the story gets a felt piece."
This summer, Christy fills her time with Girl Scout activities, competitive swimming and clogging, leaving little time for any more game inventing.
"I'm a lot less bored this summer, especially now that I have so many new games to play with," she said.
Despite the new distractions, she still finds time to play the game that made her a finalist in the national competition.
"I haven't played it with my friends, but I play it with my family," she said. "I think it's a fun game for little kids, especially when they first start learning how to read. I think it could be a great educational game."
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