I have spent good money on gifts only to watch Simone and Nadia have more fun with a cardboard box. After all of these years, you’d think I’d get the point. Children like simple games. The girls and I recently attended a Native American festival. We went to the kids’ area, and Simone and Nadia lined up to play the games over and over again. Here’s what they played:

Indian Necklace: Scratch skinny shells on stone, create hole, use paperclips to smooth hole, put shell on string, decorate with colorful beads, tie string in a knot.

Bean Toss: Write symbols of nature on beans, assign points to each symbol, turn over all beans, toss beans, get score, repeat.

Indian Nation Twister. Chalk sidewalk with outline of Indian Nations, tell kids to put right foot on orange, then left foot on yellow, laugh as kids get all twisted up.

Face painting: No explanation needed.

Corn Toss: Use hay and twine to make “corn cob,” hang hula hoop from a tree, give each child three chances to get corn through the hoop.