By: Mary Fran Bontempo

“What do you want to do?”

“I dunno; what do you want to do?”

“We could see a movie, or go get a bite to eat.”

“Yeah, but we always do that. I want to do something different.”

Sound familiar? Unless you’ve got a special outing planned, the typical entertainment options available for any adult on a typical weekend are, well, typical.

And boring.

Remember how when you were a kid, something as simple as tossing a ball or picking up jacks or drawing on the sidewalk with chalk could keep you busy for hours? Maybe the answer for bored adults means going “back to the future.”

Just this past Wednesday, my fellow NRFGP blogger, Chrysa Smith, and I were strolling (a very adult, but somewhat boring activity) on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk, enjoying a rare warm winter afternoon. The walk was lovely, but oh, so very grown-up of us. And it might have continued that way, if I hadn’t casually remarked, “You know, we could play skee ball,” as we approached one of my favorite summer time haunts, Jilly’s Arcade.

“Really?” Chrysa said. “Do you want to?”

“Yeah. I love skee ball. And it’s only 10 cents a game!” I answered, already heading for the door.

“Ten cents? Are you kidding me?” Chrysa said, hot on my heels.

“No, it’s awesome!” I said, lapsing into kid-speak to fit in with the few teens clanging on the pinball machines as we walked towards the skee ball in the back.

Digging in our purses, we unearthed several dimes apiece and proceeded to try our luck.

There’s something about skee ball, from the clacking of the wooden balls rolling down the chute once you’ve pushed your dime into the slot, to the rumble of a single ball as you roll it towards the target holes, to the chiming tones that register your score. It’s simple, recalling a time when entertainment didn’t have to be plugged in to a complicated electronic device to be fun.

Sure there were lights and sounds, but mostly, there was a wooden ball and hole.  And that was all you needed.

So maybe this weekend, it’s time to remember how to simply play.

If you’re near an arcade, tackle a game of skee ball, or pinball, or air hockey. Otherwise, throw a bowl of chips on the coffee table and drag out a board game, or better yet, a deck of cards. Play charades. Make something up. My kids and I often play “Movie Lines.” One person recites a favorite movie line and everyone guesses the originating film. We never keep score; it’s fun without a score.

There are plenty of great movies, television shows and restaurants around to keep you amused this weekend. But I’m guessing maybe this once, it might be more fun to just be a kid again.