15th Sep 2019
Playing board games entertains and brings people together through both competitive and cooperative gameplay. However, board games offer a lot more than just entertainment.
Have Fun, Feel Good, Family Time
One of the side effect of playing board games is laughing. Laughing has been shown to increase endorphins, those are chemicals that bring up the feeling of happiness. Sharing laughter and fun can promote empathy, compassion and trust with others.
Sitting down with family with no interruptions may feel like an impossible thing in your home, as everyone has different schedules which pushes them to opposite directions. But playing games with your kids, or with your friends, is a perfect way to spend time together and build learning skills at the same time. Playing a board game after a family dinner is an excellent way to get closer to your family, while strengthening your family bond.
Memory Formation and Cognitive Skills
Allowing your kids to play a board game helps them practice essential cognitive skills, like problem solving. The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex especially benefit from playing board games. These areas of the brain are responsible for complex thought and memory formation. Board games help the brain retain and build cognitive associations well into old age too.
Reduces the Risk of Mental Disease
One of the primary benefits of playing board games is reducing the risk of cognitive decline, such as that associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Keeping your mind engaged means you are exercising it and building it stronger. A stronger brain has lower risks of losing its power.
Lowers Blood Pressure, Reduces Stress
Along with laughing and increasing your endorphins, they can help you lower or maintain your blood pressure. This release of endorphins help muscles to relax and blood to circulate, which evidently will lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is associated with greater risk of artery damage, heart disease and stroke.
You can always benefit from a healthy distraction like playing a board games since it is an excellent way to kick back and relax. According to an online survey by RealNetworks, Inc., a casual games developer, found that 64% of respondents said they play games as a way to unwind and relax and 53% play for stress relief.
Grows Your Immune System
Research has shown that negativity, depression and stress can reduce your ability to fight disease. Positive feelings and thoughts, like the laughter and enjoyment that always comes with board games, prevents these effects by releasing some chemicals that fight stress and boost your immune system. A simple board game could give rise to the ‘survival genes’ and activate them in your brain, making the brain cells live longer and helping to fight disease.
Child Development & Therapy Treatment
Board games play a very important role in child health and brain development. Board games help children develop logic and reasoning skills, improve critical thinking and boost spatial reasoning. Encouraging children to play different types of board games can also increase verbal and communication skills, while helping develop attention skills and the ability to concentrate and focus for longer periods of time.
Many board games require the use of fine motor skills to pick up or move pieces, actions that take both coordination and dexterity. Regular practice and activity improve these basic skills, which is important for children, people with mental or physical disabilities, the elderly and those recovering from accidents. Board games are very helpful when they are added to occupational therapy treatments, as well in places like classrooms for special needs to help improve muscle and nerve function over time.
Learn skills, Inclusive family entertainment, Closer bonds.
With the huge popularity of electronic forms of entertainment which are mostly enjoyed individually, such as games on the IPad or tablet or Play Station, it is advisable that families rather seek entertainment that is more inclusive of all the family members. This can be an opportunity to get to know one another, learn skills from one another and have enjoyable conversations while playing a game. It will also allow a closer connection or bond to be formed with family members, ultimately an opportunity to laugh and have fun without anyone feeling left out or lonely
Melissa Bothma; Educational Psychologist
Board games can offer a lot more than just entertainment. Instead of playing the board games that have been collecting dust at the back of the cupboard, take a look at some games with some local mzansi flair.
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