Games for your mind

Posts Tagged ‘quotes

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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old_train_toyToys are cultural products  with a long history, they survived to all cultural changes of our society and to the aggressive newcomers in the leisure industry, such as video games, Internet, board games etc.
But if is true, like Friedrich Schiller sad that: “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays; learning, remembering and analyzing toy’s history, let us appreciate the culture and the daily lifestyles of past families”.

In all historical age, toys had always a precise function:
For young boys some toys exalted the winner role of certain action and position synonymous of virility;  for girls some toys were developed to teach young females to family life, to began  good wives and mothers.
But in the past few families could afford to buy toys for their sons, and kids had to work with their fantasy and invent toys and games with few simple material, such as wood, nails, paper and  fabric.

From those children’s fantasies start the first incredible playing ideas and great toys inventions, like the first miniature railway made in Sweden in 1916 with matches, nails and wood.

With the Enlightenment and positivism even toys and childhood games began to be influenced by science:
John Locke, English philosopher and pedagogue, underlined in his studies the vital importance of the child to learn how to face his life with games and toys, Rousseau see the game as a way to better understand the children. In this period toys began commercial products, and the new toys market  start to move his first step in the new Europe.

old_doll_toyGermany was one of the first nation to develop a modern toys craftsmanship;  in 1973 Besterlmeier merchants of Nuremberg traded their toys in all Europe. In that period Nuremberg was the world capital of toys, especially for dolls, in the toys’ shop catalogue a customer could find more than 10.000 products.

In 1850 is the toy golden age, because these objects are now considered not only as children amusement object, but as pedagogic and educational products, and the consecration of this new conceptions is the opening of the first “children museum” in Brooklyn in1899:
In the first years on 1900 in England, France and Germany, the toy already was a cultural mass product, for all social classes and families, toys are synonymous of modernity and of the manifestation of the real “Esprit du Temp”. Fashion and mechanical invention made the new toys more and more objects of desire for children all over the world, in this period new projects and designers, made great products such as planes, toy trains, puzzles, car miniatures.

In the 20th century the two world wars stopped this positive trend in toys industry and factory instead of toys produced weapons and
military equipments.

After the 1950, with the discover of new materials, like plastic, toys started to follow the success of comic books, movies and sports: everything famous character has a toy version to celebrate his success, in this period toys like Spider man, Superman, car pilots, and sport players miniatures appeared on the world stage.

Toy will always be part of our life, because as McLuhan sad: “world children confraternity is the only wild tribe with no signs of extinction”.

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chess_historyIn history, the game of chess was always played by great leaders, scientists artist and geniuses.

Probably, leaders like Stalin; Lenin, Napoleon and Wellington, liked the game for the strategy and the war practices involved to defeat the opponent; maybe famous scientist like Benjamin Franklin, Galileo, Mendelejev, Blathy, Einstein, Oppenheimer appreciated the mind-game strategy and probabilities calculations; perhaps great writers such as Cervantes, Rabelais, Jean-Jacques Rosseau,Voltaire, Goethe, Sir Walter Scott, Edgar Allan Poe, Marx, Dickens, Tolstoi, Pierre Loti, Gide, Gorkij, Nabokov, Borges, loved the inner and unexpected plots development in the game, like a different version of an infinite ongoing saga; perchance painters like Matisse, Magritte, Duchamp, Ernst, loved the perfect forms and the symbolism of the pieces, combined with the chess board to form a perfect and always different artwork. We don’t know exactly why chess is so popular among intellectuals, but the fact is that since old times this incredible game has always had a fascinating power.

History is full of game anecdotes and famous challenges, like the famous dare between Albert Einstein vs Robert Julius Oppenheimer in Princeton in 1933. Einstein loved chess and after the publication of a pamphlet called “One Hundred Authors Against Einstein”, in which relativity theory was harshly criticized from those who believed that the speed of light was limited, the great physician answered in this way: “Chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.”
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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
(Plato)

Toys existed since ancient times because the man always had a deep relation with toys.

gi_joe1poupee_barby

A lot of toys discovered in some archeological sites around the world are dolls and toy soldiers, the old ancestor of Barby and G.I. Joes.

800px-roman-toysHistory of toys follows the development of human society , ancient toys where made of wood, stone or clay, like old tools.
In ancient Egypt little girls had porcelain dolls with fake hairs and kids of ancient Rome used to play with fake arches and wood swords.
Even the yo-yo has old origins, the firsts were made in wood in Cina more than 2500 years ago and in Greece, yo yo, decorated with divinities images, were very popular in 500 b.C.
Incas finds too,  show the love of this culture for toys like wooden circles and well shaped dolls. Medieval games where made of woods: in this period were invented the famous rocking-horse and the miniature playhouses.
In late  Middle Ages, can be tracked the origins of handmade wood toys for nobles children.
Wood toy manufactory is a real art and rare, ancient wood toys became part of hig value collections. There are collectors ready to spend thousands of dollars for a small wooden toy.

city-in-a-bag-prNowadays, a lot of small companies are specialized in wooden toys manufactory, making great and stylish old fashion products, like
London city in a bag here.

this means that old fashion games are still desired from children all over the world.

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indiraghanditime A famous quote of Indira Nehru Gandhi is: All my games were political games I was, like Joan of Arc, perpetually being burned at the stake.
Indira Ghandi suggests that if If you have a moral, poltical or ethical principle, you should follow it and take inspiration from it, even if you risk the gallows.
And here is the question, why if we the have worldwide shared human principles, a kid can make robberies, steal cars and kill everyone playing a videogame?
What kind of message is this?
Is criminal violence cool?
Fortunately, in the video game industry there are also great examples of clever games and new products, oriented to  education, fitness, brain training etc.
I’m for this second kind of games, not only because they’re physically and mentally healthy,  but also I think that the deeper essence of any kind of game is to educate and to build a consciousness of  the elementary human principles and behaviors.
In this sense a game choice is a political game, because you choose if you want to deal with the improvement of yourself or with brutality and criminality.
Indira Gandhi’s big lesson in her small sentence about “political games”,  gives me a good reason to say that I would prefer being put at the stake rather than kill a character in a videogame.

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