Sleeveface is a game that’s great to play on rainy days when kids are otherwise bored to tears. It’s very simple to do, but the results can be hilarious, and it’s a great way to teach your kids about things like perspective, optical illusions and image manipulation. So what is Sleeveface? Well, the official definition (from the official Sleeveface website!) is ‘one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion‘. That’s a little confusing, and a better way to explain it is to show you an example, so here’s one I prepared earlier:
How Long Does It Take To Play? Sleeveface can last anything from a few seconds, when you simply hold up a single record sleeve for a few seconds, to an hour or more, depending on how many different records you have access to. In this respect, it’s worth building up a collection of suitable records from charity and second-hand shops so you can keep the game going for as long as possible.
Ages: Eight and older. You might find that younger kids enjoy playing this too, but you may also find that they don’t really have enough of a grasp of perspective or the patience to line the record sleeves up correctly. Older children can be left on their own to play this, but children at the younger end of this suggested age range (ten and under) should probably be supervised (or you risk becoming the owner of a broken camera!)
Core Life Skills It Will Help Develop: Academic Skills – This game is great for teaching your child about perspective and optical illusions, and so increase their understanding of the world; Critical Thinking Skills – This is also a great illustration of why you cannot necessarily trust what you see in photographs because they can be manipulated to show what the photographer wants. In the modern world where manipulated images are so widely available, and often portrayed as real photographs, it’s important that children learn that not all photographs can be trusted and that what is shown in them should never be accepted unquestioningly as being real, and playing Sleeveface is a great starting point for discussing this with your child.
What Do You Need To Play It? To play Sleeveface, you need a number of suitable record sleeves. This need to include either a face or a part of a body which can be used to create the required optical illusion. While you can use records from you own record collection (if you happen to have one), be warned that they may well get damaged, and it’s much better to raid your nearest charity/second-hand shop for as many suitable records as you can find. On a good day, you can often pick up a large number of such records for as little as fifty pence each. You will also need a digital camera so that you can record your Sleeveface attempts as this allows the child who is doing the Sleeveface to see the effect they have created.
Preparation: Other than tracking down suitable records to play Sleeveface, no other preparations are required..
How Do You Play It? Sleeveface is very simple to play. Get your child to select a record sleeve and then they assume an appropriate pose. Next, one of you holds the record sleeve up in front of them in a way that means they or part of their body becomes an extension of the image on the cover, and you photograph the result. That’s really all there is to it, but you can ramp up the fun by encouraging your child to dress up to better match the record sleeve images. Once your child has had a go, remember to take your turn to make a sleeveface, too, because your child will enjoy seeing you being daft, and ordering you around so that you end up in just the right position. At the end of the session, if you have created any particularly good examples, you can consider submitting them to the official Sleeveface website, where the concept originated, or posting them on their Facebook and Flickr pages. You can also find a gallery of other Sleeveface images on the Sleeveface website, and this is a great place to go to get ideas for what you can do yourself. In addition, looking through these images as part of the game is a great way to keep your child occupied for even longer!
When And Where Can You Play It? This is a game that you can play any time, but I would suggest saving it as a special treat for rainy days (and indeed, it’s always worth keeping a selection of suitable records in your rainy day box for just such occasions, and remember that adding new ones on a regular basis will help keep the activity new and interesting). You’ll need quite a bit of space to be able to play this game. This is because you’ll need to be able to move around to find just the right angle and distance to match your child up with the chosen record sleeve, but the main room of most houses will be more than suitable.
Variations: While Sleeveface is traditionally played with record sleeves, you can also do it with any suitable images. This can include book covers, CD covers, pictures from magazines and posters. You can also extend the fun by having your child create their own pictures to be used in place of a record sleeve. For example, they could draw the top half of a monstrous version of themselves which they can then match up with their own legs. Similarly, you can copy old family photos and cut them up in such a way as to allow them to be used to create sleeveface images.
About The Author: This post was written by Colin Drysdale, the creator of How To Raise A Happy Genius.