by Carol Surya – author, game developer, child psychologist, Biodanza facilitator, passionate uplifting kids & parents. She travels the country with inspiring workshops.
One of the easiest and fastest ways for grown-ups to feel like kids again is to play games with them. It turns out playing games are actually really good for us. Here’s why:
1. Promotes family fun and togetherness
Playing games naturally connect us with others, giving us a chance to be together in a “present-moment” way. By having regular ‘game time’ we’re giving the whole family ‘time off’ to be together and have fun. We’re also showing our kids that play is important and that we value spending quality time with them.
2. Teach patience, sharing and good sportsmanship
Even simple games like hide and seek or snakes and ladders involve taking turns and learning to respect others’ feelings. Kids can learn to regulate their own emotions by learning how it feels to ‘win’ and ‘loose’, inevitably building awareness of rules, ‘good play’ and fairness. Much needed life skills!
3. Are fun and make us happy
Instantly ridding us of seriousness and bringing us into the present, games are a sure way to make us happy and can even help kids feel more confident. The interaction and hands on time spent with us is what they thrive on.
4. Master a ton of skills
Developmentally games provide a easy, fun way for children to tackle eye-hand coordination; manual dexterity; colour, number and shape recognition; grouping and counting; letter recognition, reading and more. By playing the same game repetitively, a child’s brain can learn concepts that could take a lot longer to master in the classroom setting.
5. Develop motor skills
Spending lots of time sitting (in class or in front of TV), their gross and fine motor skills can easily become neglected. Simple games like Twister, Simon Says and rope jumping develop gross motor skills, improving balance and flexibility. Board games need dexterity and improve fine motor skills, whereas balancing games offer a complex multi-sensory activity. Even if your child gets frustrated at first, encourage him to keep trying and he’ll learn to persevere!
6. Stimulate intellectual development
Einstein said “play is the highest form of research”. Letting kids figure out things on their own is part of gaming fun! Using reasoning, logic and planning in a fun environment allows kids to build important ‘brain skills’ that promote intelligence. Don’t be too quick to help if they are stumped, encourage and give small hints rather than saying what to do, or taking over.
7. Great for energy release
Racing games, tree-climbing, hopscotch, hide and seek get kids moving a lot more than TV or online-game time. Physical games allow them to expend excess energy (and feelings) in a healthy way that otherwise may spill out as ‘bad’ behaviour.
8. Expand creativity, flexibility and imagination
Tapping into a world of fantasy, games inspire creativity, with kids often inventing their own way of playing, making up new rules and inspiring them to create their own games.
So give yourself a break moms and have some fun gaming! Here’s a list of some classical games but please share your favourite games with us.
Classic physical games
Hide and seek