Games for your mind

Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts

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

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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The essential components for a good education are reading, writing and basic computational skills.
Among these three reading is considered the most important. It’s necessary to use creativity and patience to teach reading to children.
Nowadays, with internet and others media invading our lives, the pleasure of reading a book seems lost. However, present and past studies show the importance that reading has in student success rates and also prove that forcing children to read yields poor results.
A new approach to this problem is needed to find a new and more effective method of teaching reading.
When you teach child reading, you should use variety of methods and resources for a well-rounded education.
Some educators obtained great results using educational games :
A lot of methods of teaching reading includes reading games and clever gaming situations to help children memorize letters and familiarize with the language.
Kids learn more when they enjoy the educational experience, that’s why reading games are really effective to improve their  skills.
For a kid, a boring standard lesson can’t be catchy as playing a reading game, and this is the reason why fun learning is more effective and interesting than old teaching methods.
Also the contribute of the family is important , but the teacher’s methods are crucial to create an overall educational experience.
The video below shows how reading games for kids can be used; a specific game could provide oral reading, another one could teach how to share the contents with the group, another one could involve the class into a recital.
The “Crazy Professor” video shows a game based reading seminar adopted by many American schools to develop reading comprehension among their young students.
This a clear evidence of how educational games can help children to learn the language and enjoy their reading lessons.

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game-theoryGames theory is a disciple that studies the problem of the interdependence between the players of the same game.
The behaviour analysis of game players is called strategic interaction and is used in Business studies to understand complex aspects of some kinds of markets and to build descriptive models based on subjects’ behaviours in uncertain situations.
For example, the famous “prisoner’s dilemma” is one of the main problems in game theory and is used to explain the reasons of a certain player’s choice rather than another one.
Originally developed by Merrill Flood e Melvin Dresher, the prisoner’s dilemma is based on the following riddle:

Two men are arrested by the cops, but they don’t have sufficient evidence to incriminate them:
for this reason, the cops decide to lock the two prisoners in different rooms and visit them separately to make a deal.

  1. If one of them testifies (defects) against the other he will obtain the liberty and his crime partner will be sentenced to 10 year in jail.
  2. If both remain silent, the will convicted to six months jail sentence.
  3. If each betrays the other both of them will receive a five year jail sentence.

So prisoners have to choose if betray the other or remain silent with the reassurance that nobody will ever know that he betrayed his partner before the end of the trial.
Now the fundamental question is: how should the prisoners act?
The game theory explains this dilemma with the help of Pareto optimality, a concept developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who studied the economic efficiency.
The best choice for both the prisoners is to play in accord with the dominant strategy and confess their crime.  This is the only way to contain the damages and the risks of be betrayed first by the other, minimizing the risk of a 10years jail sentences.
This interesting slide is a good introduction to the game theory study.

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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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clever-games

Games are very important during the child’s growth, and for this reason is very important promote clever gaming activities to our kids. On a social level, children start to develop their gaming activities in three different stages:

  1. Individual games; is typical of new born babies  and it doesn’t involve any social interaction;
  2. Collateral games, children between 1 and three years start to find the firsts gaming interactions with their contemporaries, but the game still remains individual;
  3. Group games, children between four and five years start to develop more complex interactions during the gaming activities and the gaming group became a micro-universe in which children start to experiment the firsts social relations and to understand group dynamics functioning.

Besides, children’s gaming activities are important for the evolutionary development of the child for these two main reasons:

  1. With  the gaming activities, children start to discover the external reality, the unknown world that is still out of his reach;
  2. Gaming activities help children to be in control of their internal word made of passions, instincts, and to find the perfect balance between this world and the external one.

With clever games children can discover, understand, know new things, manage their needs and follow their interests.
Children need positive experiences, harmony and love: gaming activities can favourite all those important emotions.
These are alle the important reasons  why gaming activities are considered not only as the best way for children to develop their emotions and feelings, but also as  the best  knowledge tools to discover the unknown world.

Clever Games for Clever People

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John_Lennon_mind_gamesToday I would like to make a tribute to a music legend of the past: John Lennon, probably one of the greatest artist of the last century, and to one of his best soloist songs:  Mind Games, which is also the title  of the album released in 1973 that bring back John Lennon‘s music on the emotional Pop-Rock sound.

Mind Games is not so famous like Imagine or other big hits of Lennon, but I think it’s one of the most interesting Lennon’s soloist works. Originally entitled make “Make Love, Not War”, like the famous  slogan against the war in Vietnam, Mind Games is another masterpiece deeply related to the  pacifist hymn “Give Peace A Chance”.

Mind Games stands for the possibility of use our own brightness to change the world, like Lennon did, using his fame to protest against the war and defend world peace. Mind Games is another great artistic prove of Lennon‘s commitment, explicitly declared in the last ironic sentence of the song: I want you to make love, not war, I know you’ve heard it before.

Games for your mind is all about that feeling so well expressed in this beautifull song: love not war, education not violence, free thoughts not  manipulation,  fair play not romp.

Playing  Clever games together today to paint a brighter  tomorrow!

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Modern board games are thought and developed to improve or brain skills and mind activities:
other than fun enjoinment and pleasure, those clever games are one of the best way to learn about our history, literacy, to develop a goal motivation and general knowledge, to build a
Intuitively thought, to take risks and forecast the consequences, to take rewards or accept defeats.
This smart presentation shows what board games could do for the 21st  century education.

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Math games, brain teasers and other clever games are a great educational tool to help teachers to transform the classroom group in a working group. Have a real control of the class group is not easy for a teacher because he/she needs to find some common interest among children of the class.
That’s why games are always a good way to  find a common ground in a classroom, because gaming activities are universally shared by all kind of children.
With games kid’s learn to know themselves, to evaluate difficulties, to listen and communicate, to take decisions, to split the tasks;
The class group after the game soon became more consciousness, more integrated and start to develop mutual trust.
Even the conflict if well managed by the educator,  sometimes is useful during the game activities, because is a good away to get use to different point of views and to criticize others always respecting everybody.
Cooperative games are in this sense are one of the best ways to educate children to working groups and create the future man and women of tomorrow.

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