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Play Is More Important Than You Think

13/08/2013 | Child Health, Parent Health, Room to Grow | by Catherine Godiva

Play – we often think of it as something that kids do, something that’s unimportant and doesn’t matter.  That attitude really couldn’t be further from the truth.  Play is the important ‘work’ that kids do to learn about the world – it’s how the learn and develop, whatever age they are they learn better through play.

family board games

However, play is also important for grownups, whether it’s parents playing with kids or just play.  It’s light hearted and helps release tension and reduce stress – play is good for everybody.  Breaking out the board games will do you the world of good.

·         Games are social, they bring us together.  Playing sports is a great way of meeting new people and making new relationships – and this holds true for kids and adults.  When we play board games, we usually sit opposite each other (if it’s a two-player game) or in a circle.  This promotes conversation and friendship – it’s a sociable thing to do.  In most bars and cafes on mainland Europe, there are chess and backgammon sets available to the customers and it’s quite normal to go into a bar or café and see people playing.

·         Games, especially board games and computer games, make us develop our creativity to solve problems, look a few moves ahead or manage the players we have left effectively.   This type of creative thinking is great for developing problem solving abilities.

·         Games help us to communicate with other better and develop empathy with them as we try to guess an opponent’s move or strategy.  It helps to develop an understanding of the viewpoint of others – a really important social skill in adult life.

·         Games make us laugh – having fun playing games is really good for you.  We’ve all heard the saying that ‘laughter is good for you’ and if you’re playing games with others, it’s pretty likely that there’ll be some laughter involved.  This laughter is what gets rid of the stresses and tensions of everyday life, leaving you calmer and happier at the end of the games.

So, whether it’s family fun time and you’re playing with the kids, an evening of board games round the dinner table with friends or regular visits to the local leisure centre/playing fields to join in some sort of team sport or other, make the most of your Play – it’s doing you the world of good.

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