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Oh The Games We Play!

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:00pm
As you may recall, I am one of the featured writers over onBeautiful! Fabulous!, a fantastic group of women who try to find theBeautifulandFabulousin our everyday life. I recently realized that I could be posting my articles here for y'all to read too...duh! So I am going to post a few to catch up then I will be posting them weekly. Of course, these will be running about 2 weeks behind but if you want to read them sooner, feel free to go joinBF!!

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I love to play games. It's true. And no, silly, not mind games - real, honest-to-goodness GAMES. Board games, problem solving games, card games, outdoor games, indoor games - you name it and I love them. I think one of the best things about being part of a family is always having someone to play games with, don't you? Thankfully, my hubby and my girls love to play games almost as much as I do and since it is summer and we have all of this free time (yes, that is me you hear snickering - what free time?), games are a great way to fill it, right? A perfectly harmless way to waste time.

Wait! Whoa! Back up a second. Playing games is a time waster? Are you sure?

Children actually learn most of their most important lessons through play.

Plato said “ Not by force shall the youth learn, but through play.”

But you know what? It is not just children who benefit from games and activities of this sort. Besides being just plain fun, there are a TON of benefits that come from playing games. Here are just a few:

  • * Increased Hand/Eye Co-Ordination (Thank heavens because I always need that!)
  • * Problem Solving (Comes in handy at all ages!)
  • * Recognition - Of sounds, shapes, colors, patterns, combinations, etc. Especially good for trying to learn something.
  • * Brings out Creativity
  • * Exercise - Physical and/or Mental
  • * Bolsters Self-Esteem
  • * Satisfies competitive urges and the desire to master new skills and concepts in a healthy manner
  • * Social and Interactive skills including how to win and how to lose
  • * Spending time together, including bringing your family closer and many others.

Medical studies show that laughter boosts levels of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers and suppresses the levels epinephrine, the stress hormone.

Could you or your loved ones benefit from any of those things? I know I sure can! My problem often is figuring out how to fit one more thing into our already chock-full schedule. I read a suggestion to select a couple of nights a month and make them your family's Game Night. Plan ahead, have everyone plan to be present, have a favorite snack, make sure the answering machine is on and play what ever game your hearts desire. I guarantee that if your kids are anything like mine, this will quickly become a HUGE favorite, something to really look forward to.
In our home, we have one night a week set aside as Family night. It is not uncommon for the evening to conclude with us playing a game of one kind or another and the girls vie for the chance to choose the game. Often they talk about it all day before and then all day the day after, hopefully creating a lasting memory of fun family times and a desire to stick together as a family for the future.


Games need not always be purchased at a store or have physical pieces. In fact, some of the best ones don't! How many times have you been waiting at the doctor's office or in the car, only to hear the words, "How much longer?" This is where things like 'Rock, Paper, Scissors', 20 QuestionsandI Spygames come in handy.

Here is a new one I just learned about:

COLORS
Choose someone to say 'GO!' On the signal, everybody says a color. Then, on the next signal, everybody says another color (not the one that you just said). And on and on until everybody just happens to say the same color at the same time.

Other times you might be outside and while Snipe Hunts, Cow Tipping and the like are great, you may want something a little different.

This is a new team activity I heard described:

Panther, Porcupine, Person
There are three positions - Panther, Porcupine and Person. Tell players to make up both the position and the sound. . Like Rock/Scissors/Paper, each one beats the other - the Panther beats the Person, the Person beats the Porcupine and the Porcupine trumps the Panther. People get into three teams. Each team, as a whole, decides what position it wants to take. When ready, all three times line up in a triangle and display their choice. The team that wins takes a person from each team that it beats. There are two ways that the game can be tied - when all choose the same or when all choose something different. Play until one team wins.

Go to Family FunandKids Fun and Gamesfor additional ideas that could keep you busy for years!

Do you or your family have a favorite game? How about a tradition regarding when or how you play games?

My family usually spends our New Years Eve playing games - all of us, big to little. Probably our favorite games, at least currently, are Chutes and Ladder, Go Fish, Uno, and Phase 10.

How about you?Come on and share and encourage each other in this fun, educational, relaxing way to spend memorable time with our loved ones!

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Make sure you check out my great new Review and Giveaway Blog, 3 P's Mama Says... where somethin' is ALWAYS happening!

Play+Games
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