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(photo by Kristy Pace)

MAIN STREET — When traveling, school teacher Kristy Pace plays with other families’ kids at airports. Her first book, “101 Things to do With Your Kids at the Airport,” provides games to successfully occupy children without Pace.

Although the title implies that the illustrated book is meant for the airport, and that it is for children, the games aren’t specific to places or age.

“You don’t have to be in an airport,” Pace said. “Put those eight things [listed in the book] in your bag and you can play the whole book wherever.”

The four types of activities listed in the book — “Alone Time,” “Sharing Stories,” “Active Moments” and “Group Games” — provide entertainment for wherever the reader is stuck for awhile, according to the book’s summary.

Games listed in the book’s index include “Airport Adventures: Tastes Like …,” scavenger hunts, and “The Bean’s in the Bag” beanbag challenge.

“If you have this bag full of games it makes it so easy,” Pace said.

Pace said her creativity and love for game-play was established early on; growing up on 92 acres of woods in Winchendon, Mass. — which she referred to as the middle of nowhere — Pace’s mother told her to make up games with the neighborhood kids.

“That’s just what we did every day — we made up games,” Pace said.

Local teachers and sisters co-writer Karin Herrador and illustrator Ingrid Herrador — who met Pace when all three worked at the Santa Monica Alternative School House — had an entirely different childhood than Pace, but it resulted in the same skill sets.

“We grew up during a war in El Salvador,” Karin Herrador said. “The electricity would go out and there would be people bombing outside.”

Karin Herrador said she and her family would often have to stay in their hallway — which had no windows and thick walls — so no one would see them.

The sisters had no choice but to be creative. They made sock puppets and told each other stories, said Ingrid Herrador.

“The book was mostly Kristy’s brainchild, but we all realized we had something to contribute,” Karin Herrador said when asked why the three worked on the book together.

The games not only alleviate boredom, but they also promote imagination, creativity and self-esteem, Pace said.

“We really believe that it’s not just games,” Pace said.

“It’s learning about the world around you and learning your capabilities,” Karin Herrador added.

Karin Herrador also advises parents to turn off the television — and other electronics — and play the games in the book with children.

Kids react positively to when parents are involved in the games and are trying to be creative, Pace said.

If a parent does not have time to spend playing the games with their children the book can still be a source of entertainment without the help of an adult, Pace said.

“[My family] hands [the book] to the oldest kid and has them occupy themselves,” Pace said. “A lot of it is writing in the book and things they can do on their own.”

Although Pace said the book is primarily for children ages 2 – 11, the games can be fun for everyone.

“By the time you’re 12 you might think you’re too cool for it,” Pace said. “But, if they’re bored enough, grown-ups love the games, too.”

Pace recalled a road trip where she and her friends played the games for hours; Ingrid Herrador said she played the games with adult friends.

“I think it’s entertaining for everyone when there is nothing else to do but stare at people,” Pace said.

The book is available online at www.Etsy.com, and Karin Herrador hopes to come out with a Spanish translation of the book soon.

“Let [the book] bring you back to your little family world,” Pace said.

news@smdp.com