Games for your mind

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classic-board-gamesOnce upon a time families used to have fun playing classic board games, this was before the tv and the digital revolution where fun and games are always condensed into a screen.
Some of us seem really nostalgic for those happy days, when families had fun together sitting around a table and playing classic board games, because they’re ready to spend a lot of money for classic board game.

The board games market begun in the early 20th century along with the rise of the new middle class demand for family entertainment. Soon many games designed by the most creative minds of that period became the favourite pastime
for children and adults and nowadays some of them are considered like pieces of art.
For a rare classic board game of the Georgian period, with illustrations and board in good conditions, like the one in the picture below, collectors are ready to pay up to 500£.

vintage-board-game

old board game

Classic board games are so called because some of them are still popular nowadays despite their old age.
Monopoly, for example, was launched in the UK market in 1935 and sold 200 millions of sets since then. Classic board games like monopoly, risk, connect four and many others remain one of the best options for all those parents who want to involve their children in a fun and recreational activity for all the family, instead of leaving them always alone in front of a computer screen.

In this sense classic board games can build strong and deep family relations and bring harmony and fun in your house, while you can teach always something new to your son.

For this reason classic board games are timeless, because they’re one of the funniest way to teach children about rules, loyalty, honesty, challenge, logic, problem solving and many other skills.

A new level of enjoyment for all the family can be reached with classic board games.

There are so many models that everyone of us can find the right one:
Could be a strategy game, a brain teaser or just a parlour game, the important thing is classic board games can get families around a table and offer an alternative way to confront themselves and learn about life.
I think this is something remarkable and worth to play if we don’t want to miss the best years of our life with our children.

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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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Indians_playingGames where invented and developed both in ancient and modern cultures.

In Indian tribes, games were a moment of confrontation and groups dynamics relationships were stimulated by game’s competitions. In ancient cultures, games where a moment of leisure and intense social activity, the tribe played collectively during special events like holy days or harvest festivals. In western modern cultures, board games become more and more part of the private sphere of the human relationships; people played them whit their restrict circle of friends or with their relatives, but like old tribal times, in the modern world board games are also played a lot during festivities like Christmas or Easter: this seems like a old tribal heritage.
Indians, for example, liked gambling and had as a mystic and fierce conception of the war, for this reason Slahal, a board game made in wood and bones, is one of the best war and gambling game ever invented by tribal ethnic groups.
Slahal is all about instinct and intuition and even luck: Two teams play each one with two set of bones one and the players have to guess right on the kind of bones (or sticks) hided in the hands of the direct opponent. If your guess is right you gain points while spectators or other contestants can gamble on each turn.
Native Americans where great with sports too, Lacrosse, the popular sport in USA is consider to be played by Indians for centuries: it was played like a transitional ritual to transform young boys in strong and mature men, and it was deeply connected with religion, Indians used to call it “The Creator’s Game”.
Now Lacrosse is still way to prove the young boys strength, in fact is played Lacrosse school and colleges across all the USA, especially in California, where Indians heritage and roots are strong.
If you good at Lacrosse in your school in USA in general you are well considered in your school and among your friends, so we can say that sports and games can change names, aspects and even rules during the years and among different cultures, but they still maintain, even if in different ways, their important function of social acceptance and their capability of shaping humans abilities and virtues.

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kids playingIs in the early childhood that a kid start to discover is capabilities and all the brand new world around him; someone called this the “why period” because the endless curiosity of a child is always dedicated to ask questions to his parents even on deep arguments and sometimes the genitor doesn’t know how to explain such difficult arguments to his 6 year old son.
Childhood is a crucial stage in the development of personality, because the kid is like a “tabula rasa”, and parents and teachers have to do their best to built mental contents and find the best ways to develop the kid’s knowledge whit shaping experiences in order to stimulate and favour their mental activity.
As Giovanni Pascoli, one of the greatest Italian writer and poet of the last century, suggest in his “poetica del fanciullino” (young boy poetics) poets and writer must should approach the world like kids do.
Pascoli, influenced by James Sully studies on children’s psychology, developed an approach to writing with “kids eyes”, in order to look all things with amazement and wonder.
Kids had this great attitude to approach the world whit surprise even for those little insignificant things object and basics phenomenon of knowledge that adults take for granted because they have experienced those many time in their life. When we grow up, and we left behind us childhood, we lose this “wonder attitude” for ordinary things because we tend to see things trough our ratio and direct experience.
Probably that’s one of the principal reasons why childhood is the most incredible and happy period of our life:
imagine how could be for a children of five year look at a train for the first time, maybe he can’t understand the train function at first sight, because is difficult for him find the logical cause-effects links without a previous experience; so his fantasy start to run and this mysterious and massive moving object appears like something magic to his pure eyes. All this guesses, fantasies and mental activities are unthinkable for an adult who knows exactly what is a train and what it’s for; a man could make all the rational thoughts on the train, could know all the mechanics and the complex aspects of the locomotive could even know how to drive a train, the only think he can’t do is looking at the train with “Child’s Eyes”.
That’s because adults normally use their rational part to approach things and thoughts, and tend  to repress their fantasy especially for well known things and routinely activities.
For the kids every new experience is an adventure, a tale, and often, the most common and ordinary objects became games in the hand of a child : a stick could be a sword, a broom handle a horse, a salad bowl put on the head a shining beaver and the home back garden an incredible war field.   Fantasy of kids has not limits and boundaries, adult rationality is circumscribed, well defined and most of the times shaped on direct experience.
like Peter Pan, adults should listen sometimes the little child inside them.

The spontaneous game is the most important aspects of a child life, and parents must always encourage their little sons to play.
Some educational board games like brain boxes were developed to let the kids learn new things, stimulate their fantasy, and improve their memory.
These games are great educational tools, especially if played by father (or mother) and child (or daughter).
I know you’re busy with your works and daily problems, but remember this simple truth:
a good genitor can alway find some time to play with his son.

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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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Brougère (Jeu et éducation 1995) defines different characteristics to identify a game:

  • Rules
  • Uncertain results
  • Decisions
  • Absence of consequences

The word parlour game itself has different meanings:
Parluor Game is the material; the boards, the dices and all the other objects of a game
Parlour Game is the structure; all the rules and mechanisms of the game.
Parlour Game is the action of playing, and each player acts in a particular way.
All games are based either on the relation between the player and the game, or on the playing dynamics among all the players.
This dual relationship always asks to the player a free and open state of mind to enjoy the real spirit of the game, its social activity, its open possibilities, and its unexpected journeys around our elementary social behavior.

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