I LOVE to play games. In fact all of my family loves to play games. My eldest lawyer son likes to create complex strategy games which rival any of the best on the market. We even meet with our close friends on a weekly basis and play games! Having fun and being with family and friends is the essence of living life fully and in the moment.
Gaming is FUN, BUT IT’S A WHOLE LOT MORE!
I’m not talking about games on a device, but far more worthwhile games. I’m talking about board games. You may immediately think Scrabble, or Monopoly, or Trivial Pursuit which are ok, but I am constantly amazed that so many people have not come across the likes of Carcassonne (see below), Ticket To Ride, Settlers of Catan, Codenames, Dixit and Alhambra to name just a few that reside in our somewhat large games collection.
(Check any of the above games out online, or your local Games shop. Most cities or regional centres will have at least one.)
The benefits of playing board games are well-documented.
These include: having fun and feeling good (a natural endorphin rush), family time, memory formation and cognitive skills, reduces risks for mental illness, lowers blood pressure, speeds up your responses, reduces stress, and grows your immune system. For children also, board games can play an important role in their health and brain development, developing logic and reasoning skills, improving critical thinking, verbal and communication skills, along with growing attentional skills and the ability to stay focused for longer periods of time. Therapeutically, board games can help with fine motor skills development, which is not just important for children, but also for those with mental and physical disabilities, the elderly and those who may be recovering from accidents.
From an ageing perspective, games help to keep the mind active and possibly ward off those nasty degenerative diseases. My parents, who are well into their 80’s love Qwirkle and Sequence in particular. For those of us with a strong competitive spirit, games amongst family and friends are a great way to learn emotional control, to have your little “tanty” and blow off steam in a safe environment. Likewise for children who sometimes have a struggle managing frustration and dealing with the concept of losing, you can help them to balance this out with the idea that a game can be pleasurable and fun.
I am at that privileged time in my life of having grandchildren, and having a bit more of that precious commodity called TIME to spend with them. We do love to play board games with the kids. What any child wants and needs is not just time together, but they want us to play with them, share the joy in doing something together, and to listen to them. Whilst immersing them in a rich learning experience, there is no better way to boost a child’s self-esteem, along with their social and emotional development.
In our world of “busyness”, how refreshing to stop and do something together as a family or with friends. Think about the above benefits as you turn off the television, Netflix, X-box, computer games or whatever may be eating up yours and your family’s time. Even consider creating a regular games evening fortnightly or monthly, a tradition that may then be passed on to the next generation.
(Others may have suggestions, but the easier starter games are the likes of Sequence, Qwirkle, Ticket to Ride, Dixit, and Codenames. Go to YouTube as a quick way to learn the rules if you don’t have someone to teach you.)