Is Play Just For Kids

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”. Those were the words of George Bernard Shaw more than a hundred years ago but are also the slogan of Anna Clarke the Director and co-founder of the Play Team Association in Chichester, West Sussex. She told me about her Play Day workshops: ” I started organising creative play workshops for parents few years ago when I saw parents playing along the children and enjoying it as much. In those sessions, everybody got messy with the paint and clay. Many got silly with the costumes and masks. Some went wild with laughter when it was free dancing. Others wanted to tell an imaginative story using the sand box. All were happy and enjoying themselves. “Those Play Days have a magic effect on bonding my relationship with my children”, one single parent told me. The Play Team Association runs Play Days for different groups of people; parents, child carers, teachers and others.Scientists are telling us ‘play is not just for kids’. Play profits the young and the old. There is a renewed interest world wide to improve understanding of the benefits of play and to promote the practice in every day life.Members of The National Institute for Play, who are all in the scientific occupation, believe that Play is a central element in all human life. It is valuable not only for the little ones but also for working and retired adults. Research is making it clear that ‘play’ is fulfilling a fundamental human need. “Play gives us energy and makes us alive with a renewed sense of optimism. Play shapes our brains; makes us smarter and more adaptable”.Play & TherapyPlay Therapy is now an established profession for all age groups. Dottie Ward-Wimmerthe, a professional therapist, and author of The Healing Potential of Adults at Play, says “Play, joy and spontaneity are rooted in all of our hearts”. Play, for adults, is a powerful medium for through role play and creative art they could express their latent fears and worries. It is through play that many become aware of long hidden feelings where traditional talk therapy failed. One adult client told Dottie Ward-Wimmerthe that through play therapy she became aware of her feelings about abuse and anger that was impossible for her to express in words.LaughterHave you heard of the Giggling Guru? Dr Madan Kataria is the pioneer of the World Wide Movement of Laughter. He just makes people laugh without telling jokes. Each of his workshops is attended by a hundred participants from around the world. He believes that when people laugh their face muscles relax and they loosen up and become happy. He says, “It is an efficient way of releasing stress and increasing well being”.In Germany and South Korea where people seldom laugh, they are now introducing laughing sessions into the work place. As someone put it ‘It is so liberating just to be able to laugh for the sake of laughing’. Studies show that laughter stimulates respiratory system when different sorts of breathing are taking place. They stimulate blood circulation, thus, easing arthritic pain and preventing everything from a common cold to cancer. In Germany, in 2006, students paid 300 euros each for 2 day sessions to experience laughter. One of the participants said that when the group was asked to imitate a wild hyena he laughed so much he could not control himself. (Herald Tribune, July 31, 2006).PlayfulnessTraining instructors have realised the importance of relearning the art of playfulness. Many are now running workshops of pure fun instead of a dreary lecture on communicationMaterials provided in such sessions are usually stickers, markers, and paint. Participants sit in a semicircle and possibly on a mat on the floor. Activities are fun with no right or wrong answers. Some questions posed are: how many pizza fillings can you name? or how many flavours of ice cream can you list?Watching such a group at work, one may think ‘Oh it is chaos and noisy’. But it is amazing how much learning could emerge from such an interactive process where every one is involved in a spontaneous and creative manner. Such workshops may not have a specific education value but they have a healing potential that goes deep into the inner self. “It is only in playing that the individual is able to be creative and to use the whole personality and it is only in being creative the individual discovers the self” (D.W.Winnicott, 1896 – 1971, a renowned contributor to psychoanalysis and psychiatry and twice elected President of the British Psychological Society)Circle dancesAnyone who ever attended a traditional Middle Eeastern wedding must have been drawn to the circle dance. In a circle, family and friends gather to rejoice and give joy. They clap, sing, move, dance and laugh freely and happily. They just enjoy their being. It is play in its most invigorating states.Come out and PlayPlay is not just for kids. Play is now recognised internationally as an important component in releasing the stress of a demanding job and combating the tensions of family responsibilities.Do not neglect the child inside you that likes to come out and play. When the child inside you is happy, then, you are energised, have confidence and power. So why don’t you play half an hour a day and keep the stress away. The world is your playground. Why aren’t you playing?

The Educational Benefits of Card Games | Card Games

Playing card games can be a unique educational experience for children. The positive effects of games like that can be enormous. Besides the obvious entertainment benefit there are other great benefits that parents and educators must consider.
In this article I will explain some of those benefits using popular card games such as Taki (or Super Taki) and Piccolo.Since early age parents can notice how their children attract to the bright colors, the shapes, the colorful images and the interesting designs that most game cards have. This fascination can grow interest in the games, an interest that can grow into a wish to use those cards in several ways. When children reach a specific age it’s advised to play cards with them, to demonstrate and to show them the rules and the proper use of the cards.Here are some benefits that educators consider as the most important in card games for kids:1- Entertainment- researchers believe that pastime activities as playing board or card games are the most suitable form of entertainment for kids at all ages. We all read about the negative effects of computer games and other modern pastime activities, teaching your children to spend their leisure time in playing board and card games such as Taki, Super Taki, Piccolo, Piccolino or Classic Memory Game that can be acquired in games shop in is the best way to enrich their daily routine with fun activities without to turn into stale, and sometimes violent, activities as playing in video or computer games.2- Education- Most board and card games are an excellent way to teach your kids math or languages without the strict pressure of school. Kids will love to play in bible games or other form of cards and will not notice that the added essence of playing is the educational benefits that they receive from the game.
Experiments showed that kids who played in card games as their main pastime activity had better grades in school that those who spend this time playing video games.3- Social and Family activity- Playing family card games offers immediate pleasure for both kids and adults so the most beneficial type of game is a game in which the whole family plays together. The benefits of such game are obvious. Besides being a gratifying discovery for the kids, it will also give them the sense of security and health that comes with a good family activity. Quality recreation time that involves card games for children is highly recommended by psychologists and educators.How do you start teaching your kids to enjoy card and board games? You must visit a serious games shop and start by reading the description of each game and the age range that the game fits. If you are looking for specific skills that you want to improve ask the advice of an educator or an expert. For examples, a game such as Super Taki is excellent for kids who are at the age of six and up. Other games such as Colors Quartet demand no reading skills so it is perfect for younger kids who can’t read yet.If you choose your games right, the benefits and the positive effect it’ll have on your kids might surprise you.