"So, you used to be an early years teacher; you must do loads of educational stuff with your child."
"Well, hummmm, we do a bit of reading and bake the odd cake, but mainly we engage in the deconstruction of episodes of Peppa Pig and play Scorpion."
"Scorpion? What's Scorpion?"
"Thank you for asking, fictional friend. I will tell you."
Scorpion is a game invented by my dad. My dad is not known for his childcare abilities, so I can only assume that he invented it out of fear and desperation when left alone with Rory for half an hour one day. Anyway, the point is that you have him to thank for this.
You Will Need:
* A small child
* Something that you and the small child can throw at each other. A little teddy or similar works best, but we currently favour Angry Badger (vast cuddly toy badger with peevish expression). Socks have been used in an emergency. Rory has experimented with a ball of playdough and Richard's car keys (painful, not recommended).
* A colourful vocabulary.
Scorpion has evolved somewhat from its early roots. Scorpion purists may like to play this game to the original rules. These involve taking it in turns to throw the object at each other (aiming for the head, obvs) and shouting "SCORPION" while you do so. Nobody knows why. My dad is a right weirdo.
The advanced version is as follows: Take it in turns to lob Angry Badger at opponents head as hard as possible whilst shouting a word. Any word. We started off with simple nouns when Rory was about 18 months old, but these days anything goes apart from swears. Swears are not allowed. This has had the educational benefit (SEE - it's educational) of extending Rory's vocabulary endlessly. The child sounds like a cross between a computer and a Dickensian character when he talks and it's partly down to Scorpion (although mainly down to Rich and I teaching him long words for comedy value). Basically, you need to think of it as Mallet's Mallet but without the mallet, without Timmy Mallet and without word association of any kind. Word disassociation, if you will:
When someone chooses to shouting "SCORPION" on their go, players must change places by scuttling on their knees and recommence play. Again, nobody knows why.
It is also important never to ask if someone wants to play Scorpion. The correct way to instigate this game is to pick up whatever you're going to throw and fling it at the other person's head, shouting "SCORPION." Sadly, this can lead to, for example, a being watch launched at your head while you're in bed with Norovirus or getting Angry Badger full in the face at high speed while you're talking on the phone to your editor. There is a time and a place for Scorpion. However, explaining that time and place to a preschooler is nigh on impossible.