Games for your mind

Posts Tagged ‘Educational

educational games for kids

Educational videogames

The use of educational games, e-learning and videogames in school education became one of the main objectives of many research centres around the world.

In United States Microsoft, Columbia University and New York University had started a partnership with the Games for learning institute, to conduct different researches on educational games, e-learning and videogames.
In Europe the need for an implementation of new educational tools in school education is the new scientific research’s challenge.
The aim of all these organizations is to conduct differnet researches on the use of games, e-learning and videogames as learning tools, trying to find the perfect implementation of these new digital tools  in school education.

The European Schoolnet recently completed a survey project called Games in School, developed to analyze the use of educational videogames in European schools.
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Acropolis photo

Acropolis of Athens

Once, on the Acropolis of Athens ancient Greeks used to play board games. They used to roll the dice and play in the Parthenon, the great temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, protector of the city.

Ancient Greeks played Board games very similar to our checkers or chess, with game boards engraved on the floor.

The archaeologist Eleni Karakitsou reveals that during the work of restoration of the Parthenon were found about 50 boards carved on the stairways and the floor, but they used to be certainly more.

The famous image of Achilles and Ajax playing dice under the walls of Troy, painted on many Greek vases, prove that dices games were ancient Greeks favourite pastime .

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Construction toys and creative games encourage creativity, curiosity, manual abilities and meets the incredible thirst for knowledge of the human nature. In the past, due to the fragility of the materials used to make toys, we have few traces to identify a precise date for the invention of construction toys. One of the first appearance of constructions toys dates back to medieval times, around 1245, when a Franciscan monk, around 1245 , reported about an Arab game he had learned in the Holy Land, consisting of modular elements to form a sphere.

engino construction toys

ENGINO NEW CONSTRUCTION TOYS

Other historical finds and ancient books, prove the Arab origins of constructions toys and modular board games, usually composed of elements of geometric form. In 1500 constructions where not only toys, but olso ornamental building miniatures in the royal courts, a game of ability for jesters and a nice hobby for the ladies. In fact, in the Middle Age, constructions toys and other games where not designed for children but for adults. Read the rest of this entry »

green-games

green world and ecological games

Some online games creators have realized many fun and educational flash games, to support the the environmental cause.
Here you can find the green online games top list.
I think these are among the cleverest flash games available online, because help people to “go green” and face many of the critical environmental issues of our time, such as sustainable way of life, energy savings and waste reduction. Green online games also give many tips and info about global warming and environmental pollution.
Online gaming industry endorsed environmental protection creating new ecological flash games to save the planet with the best weapons available: commitment and political activism.

All the green  flash games in the following online eco-games top list are free to play and share: Read the rest of this entry »

green toys

green toys

Ecofriendly gifts could be a great way to teach children an ecologic view.
I think that everyone of us knows how important are renewable energies to reduce the earth pollution and try to preserve our ecosystem.
Now days there are a lot of  ecofriendly gifts that work with solar energy and can be given to kids to introduce them to the ecological issues of our society.
Increase the energy standards in our cities and  change the way we produce Energy may be a too deep arguments for a child, but giving him an ecofriendly game powered by small photovoltaic cells could give the children the opportunity to familiarize with their future.
It’s not just about the battery savings or the fact that ecofriendly gifts are even cheaper than traditional ones, it’s about teaching something important to our children.
This is the real added value of these products:  When our son will ask us “how works this object?”, we will respond “with the sun” and we’ll explain the solar energy concept
In my opinion this is something highly positive for a child.
Maybe solar gifts will not be able to solve the global warming, but every little helps… and probably teaching an ecologic approach to the life to our children could help them to succeed tomorrow in what we’re failing today:  preserve our beloved and beautiful planet earth.

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Eco friendly gifts for him and her

Ecology and eco-friendly gifts

Jacob L. Moreno

Jacob L. Moreno

The term role-playing game has roots in the history of psychology.
In fact, The first to coin the term “Role Play” was Jacob L. Moreno in 1934, after experimenting in 1921 the “theatre of spontaneity”.

Jacob Levy Moreno was a leading psychiatrist, thinker and educator and has been recognized as one of the pioneer of group psychotherapy.

In 1930 Moreno emigrated to the United States and began to develop the technique of psychodrama which is still used in psychotherapy: in the psychodrama technique the patient has to recall and act (like he is on a stage) a past conflict he had against someone.

Then the roles are switched and the patient plays the part of his opponent to try to understand what the other person has felt in that occasion.

But this first sense of the word role-play has no relation with the role play intended as recreational activity, derived from war–games. dungeons and dragons

The role-playing games were played for the first time in the late sixties at the University of Minnesota war-game society.
In 1971, one student Gary Gygax developed in  a war-game with medieval setting called Chainmail, wich become very popular among all Minnesota undergratduates.

But was only in 1974, when Gygax and his mate Dave Arneson invented and released the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons that that role-playing games became worldwide famous.
For this reason, D & D is considered the first modern role-playing game and had a lot of influence on later role-playing games.

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kids-chess1Germany,

This summer instead of going on holidays, a group of researchers from the University of Trier in Rhineland-Palatinate, studied the experimental introduction of chess in elementary school for the new academic year.

The results show that 6 years old children that have begun to learn how to playchess learn more easly not only math but also German grammar.

In other words researchers proved that children who play chess are doing better during all the years of the primary school.

For this reason chess are now considered as an established educational method in Germany’s  primary schools.

Chess help children develop logic and represents a great workout for their brain; chess can also useful to facilitate the integration of foreign scholars (more than eight million students in Germany are immigrants or children of immigrants).

This new method of using chess to improve students’ performances in traditional disciplines like grammar and math is now used in all the primary schools of the Germany.

The biggest problems for the teachers was when children learned how to play chess and started to beat them.  We must say that this  a clear evidence of how the pupils can overcome their masters.

For this reason now teachers are assisted by regular chess players during the “chess hours”.

I don’t know if you live in Germany or not, the fact is that scientific evidences show that chess are a great educational game and can help children to develop not only math capabilities, but also grammar and literacy skills.

The video below shows World Chess Champion Susan Polgar playing chess vs. the young students of a German school.

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Knights Templars

Knights Templars

The triple wall is the pattern of the popular board game called  Nine Men’s Morris in England,  Morabaraba in South Africa, Naukhadi in India, Molenspiel in Germany and Jeu de Moulin in France. The triple square symbol was find in Italy, UK, Ireland and Afghanistan and in a lot other regions of the Middle East engraved or painted in holy places for Christianity and Islam.
The aim of the Nine Men’s Morris is to form a row of three pieces along the board’s lines and leave the opposing player with no moves.

This is the playing function of this geometric concentric figure, but  we can find the same pattern in ancient churches and in the Chinon tower in  France, engraved on the walls by Templar Knights kept prisoners during the Middle Ages.

Some researchers suggest that this geometric draw could be the symbol of an ancient and esoteric ritual made by  knights Templars.

the triple square symbol

the triple square symbol

Triple square France

The triple square symbol engraved in a French cavern

For example,  René Guénon, affirm that this symbol represent, in ancient religous rituals, a sort of holy centre where the world energies can reach the right power to involve a man’s mind on a mystic level.
The origins of the triple square are still unknown but without any reasonable doubt we can say that its symbolism is related to the centre and the balance of the world and the human spheres represented by the pieces of the game have to converge to find the perfect equilibrium.
The geometric scheme of the Nine Men’s Morris game represent the route that men have to follow to find themselves without lose the right way in unethical directions. In this sense the triple square has a manicheistic meanining  deeply related to the Middle Ages religious symbolism.
God is the origin and the centre of all the universe and everything has to point in His direction; it’s clear in this interpretation the religious and ethical meaning of this symbol directly derived from the holy circle used by ancient civilizations of the far East to show the solar wheel also called the wheel of life.

Solar Wheel

Assyrian Solar Wheel

All those clues made the researchers think that the symbol of the triple square in the Middle Ages was not used as a game but as a religious symbol and only after several years this geometric pattern was used as the board of the game known with the name of  Nine Men’s Morris.

Nine Men’s Morris game

The Nine Men’s Morris game derived from the triple square symbol

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kandisky-gameWhen a parent is looking for a gift for his kid, he should find one of those clever games that will help him build his logical and creative mind.
Parent’s favourite choice in this sense has to be a life skill game such as an educational board game, a quiz game or a construction toy.
Kids love playing with construction and create new shapes with the same pieces and above of all they love playing a board game or a quiz game to learn unknown things.
All those kind of games have something in common: they help the kid to discover something new about himself and our society. When kids play these clever games, they start to use their capabilities and their knowledge to challenge the others in a competitive situation. This is the typical situation that everyone of us has experienced many times in his life;competition it’s the secret of the personal success, we compete for everything, a car park, a better job, or a faster car.
In this sense old fashion board games and educational toys are more modern and innovative than any kind of hi-tech toy because they can teach the essence of those deep and fundamental human relationship of our modern society that we call life skills.
These life lessons sometimes are more effective than many others teaching methods because kids love playing games more than attend boring lessons at school.
Education and games, it’s seems the perfect winning combination for an happy childhood.

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Mesoamerican-ball-game

Modern reproduction of the ancient Mesoamerican ball game

The Mesoamerican ball game was a sport practiced by ancient Pre-Columbian cultures of Central America.
More than 3000 years ago The Mesoamerican ball game was very popular, the Maya called it pitsl, the Aztec name was ullamaliztl, but the game is the same.
This game was played with heavy rubber balls in open ended ball courts of different size with two vertical stone rings, one for each side of the court.
The aim of the game was to pass the ball in the stone goal and score the point.
We don’t know exactly the rules of this anciet game, but we know that Mesoamerican ball game could be really violent. In fact some games were played just for fun and recreation, some others were part of a ritual involving human sacrifice; for this occasions the game was played in Huge ball courts by two team of captives and the losers were sacrificed in a mystic/religious ritual.
The importance of the Mesoamerican ball game in ancient Pre-Columbian society is proved by  all the diufferent use this game by the Maya: the ball game was used as a recreational sport, as part of a spiritual ritual and as well to solve the disputes among tribes and prevent the warfare.

A Maya mural found in El Tajin, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer.

Sometimes head of tribes play (but was more like a fight) the ball game to re-establish tribes hierarchy, and impose supremacy; this game was so important because it was like a social conflicts relief valve, it was a place where the disputes could be solved with a ball game match instead of a battle.
Probably the spiritual symbolism behind the ball game is the reason of the human sacrifices: the bal represents the sun and the scoring rings the sunrise; the solar movement is tied on fertility and the sacrifice of the player is the ritual of the death and the reborn of the sun. The game was a battle between day and night, born and death, life and the underworld.

This video is a modern reproduction of the ancient Mesoamerican ball game and of the Maya ball game rituals

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