Half term. It can be a pretty crazy time that brings on a lot of mixed emotions for parents. Sure, it’s good to hang around with the kids and spend time with them and all that. But what happens when you run out of things to do? Well, we’ll tell you what happens – they get bored. And, admit it… They get a tad annoying.
If you’ve got the kids over this half-term break, you’ll no doubt be desperate for ideas for ways to keep your little humans entertained before they drive you so batty you end up shaving your head, moving to Nepal and becoming a 24 hour-a-day meditating Buddhist.
Don’t worry, though. We’ve got your back, Jack. We’re bringing our ‘Kids Play for a Quid’ deal back to your nearest Rileys. From open ’til 7pm, every weekday, it’s just £1 an hour for under-18s to play snooker, pool or table tennis. So you can relax a little bit. You’ve now got a plan up your sleeve, haven’t you?
Regular snooker is a big ask of a kid, though. Even 8-ball pool can be tough, especially with younger bairns. So we’ve come up with three workarounds. Three games that are totally kid-proof and fun. See what you make of these bad boys…
1. ‘Skipping the Cue’
If you’ve got particularly young kids in tow, it may be pretty difficult to get even the basics of pool going. You’ll first need to teach them how to hold and use the cue. But at their height, it ain’t going to be easy to cleanly strike through the cue ball, let alone meet an object ball and have any semblance over control of it. What we’re basically saying is this – kids are clumsy and terrible at pool. It’s just a fact. Sorry, kids.
So make it easy for them. You can break and then allow them to shoot the object ball straight into the pocket without having to use the cue ball. It might sound easy, but to a novice rugrat who’s only just found out how to pick up a cue, it’s likely to be trickier than you might imagine. You can award points for a potted ball to retain the ‘game’ element if you like.
Aiming straight for the pocket will teach them plenty. They’ll learn to aim for the centre of the ball and a get a feel for where the pockets are and how hard to hit a ball. Chances are they’ll pick up plenty that will hold them in good stead down the line. It’s all about cueing, after all and this is a fine way to learn without the constant confidence blows of ‘bad shots’.
2. ‘Pool Darts’
One of the additional bonuses to taking your kids to play pool (aside from the beer and food you can enjoy while you’re there) is that it can be educational. Sure, the kids are on half-term and it should be fun. But play pool and you learn things. Like angles and strategy. Up the ante and you can throw a little more in there too. Such as refining your maths skills. Yours as well as your kids’, like.
Why not try combining the world’s two best-loved pub sports, pool and darts? Assign pockets scores and colours values. Middle right could be worth 10, for instance. Red is double and yellow is treble. Knock a yellow into the middle right and you’ve 30 points. Each pot gets a new score which needs to be added up (or subtracted if you want to keep it nice and arrows-y…).
3. ‘A Question of Pool’
Again, we’re not keen to turn leisure time into homework time, but adding in a little brain teasing isn’t always about teaching kids stuff (although it’s nice added bonus). It can be fun too. Set up a regular game of pool (maybe minus a few balls for speed) and have a few general age-appropriate trivia questions ready.
After every pot, the quizmaster (that’s you) awards the kid a point and breaks out a question. Get it right and that young ‘un gets a point. Get it wrong and they lose a point. The winner is the kid at the end with the most points.
If it’s just you and your child, playing one-on-one, you can get them to ask you questions too, maybe about them or something they’re interested in. Chances are they’ll get the name of Chelsea’s manager or the capital of Spain quicker than you’ll remember the dog’s middle name or what size shoes they wear. So play with caution.
For a quid an hour, you can try all of these suggestions. Or not bother and just play regular pool – it’s entirely up to you. When the wee ‘uns start getting antsy and need refueling, we’ve got you there too. Be sure to take advantage of our Junior Meal Deal that comes with a refillable soft drink for just £4.99.
It’s just a pound to sign up an under-18 and the same amount for every sixty minutes they’re at a table with you. Sounds like a pretty good afternoon out to us, what do you say…?