Games for your mind

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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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games for kidsParty gamesare usually played in family or during friends’ gathering. In England people like to play party games in the pubs, for example during a quiz night contest, in USA these games are usually played during private parties and festivities and in the rest of the world in every country we can find different kinds of popular party games. Gaming is an universal language with different styles in different places but the essence and the spirit of the activity remains the same:
Party games are played for fun during social gatherings and family parties because are a good way to create happy memories, and to bring different generations together in a non competitive and stress free recreational activity. Involving everyone in a fun situations, party games are experiencing a great comeback in our society, probably because we tend to go out less after the credit crunch or maybe that with our busy and frenetic life styles sometimes we need just an old fashion ritual like a party game night In the comfort of our home.
Party games weren’t so popular five or ten years ago but they were deeply played during the great depression when they were used to teach and entertain kids and relief them from the stress and the fear of a poor life. Maybe this renewed popularity of party games will decrease with the economy recovery, but for sure it’ll remain for particular and special occasion like a family game after dinner during the holidays or a quiz night competition in a crowded pub.

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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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Aristotle-PlatoIn ancient Greece, board games where very popular, especially among the philosophers and their pupils. Plato once said “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.
Hellenistic culture gave a lot of importance to games, ancient Greeks invented the Olympics and athletes were considered like heroes.
Philosopher used to teach their scholars using linguistic game and games simulations; philosophy itself was a form of game: to quote Plato once again Philosophy is “like playing an hard game”.
Like Dutch philosopher  J. Huizinga suggests In his book ”Homo ludens” all the stages and the development of philosophy manifest a recreational linguistic activity  in its deep essence: Philosophic rhetoric play  on words during the debates and the clash between the debaters assumed in public speeches the form of a win or lose game. Even in the written form, many ancient Greeks script are a sophistic game of question an answer.
Word games and speech competitions where a sort of recreational activity, used by Hellenic people to shape and rule their ancient society.The winners of those linguistic games where often famous philosophers like Aristotle, Socrates and Plato, great politicians like Themistocles and genial playwrights like Aristophanes.

This fundamental role of playing activities in the Hellenistic culture is manifested also in the Mythology, like in the Myth of  Theseus and the Minotaur.
The Labyrinth and the Theseus myth seems like a perfect representation of a gaming scenario that today could be easily used to develop a videogame:labirint-game Theseus (the player) must overcome different stages in a labyrinth scenario to fight and defeat the final Minotaur monster.
The connection between this myth and gaming was so strong that ancient Greeks invented a board game version of this myth called “labyrinth”, a  game for two, three or four players.
Like in the original Myth, the gameboard represents the labyrinth of King Minos where the monster half men and half animal is trapped. The player acting as Theseus must save the youths Athenians  sent as tribute to King Minos who used them to feed the Minotaur.
Each player has 4 pawns, one for each youth Athenian, the first player to bear off all the pieces at the centre of the board is the winner because, like Theseus, he has saved all the youths Athenians from certain death.

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Royal-GameIn 1920 British archaeologist Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, during some excavations in the Royal Cemetery of Ur in Mesopotamia, found the rests of a Royal tomb full of ancient and beautiful finds.

In this mausoleum Wodley discovered several incredibly well conserved exemplars of an ancient board game.

This artefact was called the Royal Game of Ur and was made more than 2600 years before Christ:

The Royal Game of Ur is one of the oldest board game in history and is composed by two decorated boards and two different sets of seven pieces each.

This incredible piece of game’s history is part of the British Museum’s Mesopotamia collection and was played with pyramidal dices.

Like the Faraons’ board game named Senet, the Royal Game of Ur was a race board game in which the players had to reach the other end of the board with their pieces.

This game had a mistyc power for Ancient Sumers; they  believed that the dead person must play The Royal Game of Ur vs a spiritual entity in order to acess the reign of death.

This ancient Sumerian game can be played on the British Museum’s Mesopotamia website.sumer-map

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The training options that a company has for an effective personnel training include various topics:
- Play an active role
- Release a best share compared to its potential
- Get a better personal satisfaction
- Socialize on collective course to reach the knowledge
This attitude is encouraged by the needs and the goals of collective courses of corporate training.
Edutainment are developed and created to stimulate an independent learning attitude among employers (lifelong learning), through funny and pleasant experiences.
The neologism Edutainment comes from the fusion of the words “education” and “entertainment” and define the action of instruct and socialize one or more person using an entertainment form of communication.
Simulation games are built to explore different alternatives about individual and group behaviours in different micro or macro markets and work environments.
Simulations games spread the technical business knowledge and favour the active integration about corporate objectives,
In particular role games and Lifelong learning are created to encourage people to enjoy their life and work time and, above of all, to get the most out of any activity they ‘re involved in.
The video below shows a role game organized by an important company to build the corporate group; employers become, in the games simulation, members of a fictional army wich must act like in a warfield.

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kids-and-gamesOn a cognitive level the game is important for memory improvement, concentration, attention.
It’s a matter of fact that a poor recreational activity can compromise the cognitive development of a child.
Swiss psychologist Piaget proposed a classification of games types based on the structure of the game itself and at the same time on the genetic evolution of cognitive process:

  1. Exercise games are those types of games related to newborn babies until two years old. The baby try to understand how his body movement works and start to develop his motor skills;
  2. Symbolic games; simulation is the main aspect of the game and pretend to be someone else in a fantasy scenario is one of the most interesting aspect of any kind of game; according to Piaget symbolic games can help the child to organize his thoughts to a level that the language hasn’t reached yet. With symbolic games children start to develop “mental images” to learn and experiment new situations;
  3. Rule games start like imitations of holder kids games, and year by year define the child’s approach to socialization, Rule games became more frequent year after year, instead other types of games tend to decrease with the passing of time, proving how important are social relation and code rules.

We can say then that game is a spontaneous and natural activity that follow all the evolutional steps of a man, from childhood to maturity. In childhood in particular, games are for kids an important learning and self improvement tool; in general, the absence of games in a child’s life, is a symptom of discomfort and malaise.

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Art,gaming, recreational activities, interaction with the artefacts and a lot of fun all in one great exhibition at the Tate Modern Gallery of London.

Bodymotionspacesthings, born from creative thought of Robert Morris, is the ultimate great art installation in the Tate Modern Gallery of London.

The visitor can use in a recreational way all the installations of the artist and play in a sort of art in progress path, an endless game where people are a part of a bigger artistic creation always different because manipulated by its users.

In Robert Morris recreational art installation, you can climb, you can run, drift and jump while you are contemplating a fascinating art creation, a game which always includes everyone in its artistic representation.

Due to the big success of Bodymotionspacesthings, Tate Modern Gallery extended the exhibition until 14 June 2009 and the entrance is free!

I recommend this clever gaming experience to everyone!

To get an Idea of what Bodymotionspacesthings really is watch this video and have some fun!

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Educational_toysGames and Recreational activities play an fundamental role in child development. Spencer affirms that both man and animals have a surplus of energies utilized in games and recreational activities; in 1900 Carl Cross noticed that games and recreational activities are a sort of exercise utilized to develop motor skills and mental faculties, an exercise to see that determined innate human structures are transformed in more complex behaviour patterns, more suitable for environmental modifications. Through games and educational activities, the child start to understand objects functioning; the functional game , as pedagogues call it to underline the imitative activity of real situations: the game start to acquire the firsts representational patterns, when the child start to utilize objects in a functional way and in this way it become a representative game. The Recreational experience teach to the child perseverance and self-confidence; it’s a process to become aware of his internal and external worlds and to accept the reciprocal needs of these two realities. On a cognitive level, games and recreational activities favour the development of memory, of attention and concentration, the ability of make comparisons, of build relations and of utilize perceptual learning patterns. A lack of recreational activities, especially during childhood, can create cognitive deficiencies. Recreational activities grow step by step along with intellectual and psychological development of the child; for this reason this stage remains fundamental  in every man life.

Sometimes even for adults, playing recreational activities is the only way to free their minds from any thought or worry and to unburden emotional make-up.

Games and recreational activities are very important for the intellectual development of the child because when he plays he can surprise himself and trough surprise he can learn how to relate himself with the external world; games are a great tool for the child because help him to develop his creativity, to experiment his cognitive capabilities, to build relations with his contemporaries and to give life to the development of his personality.

Intellectual potentiality, affections, relations, these are the milestones of a sane and happy childhood and of a bright future, because,  as British World War pilot Douglas Bader used to say, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

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