Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Practical Purpose of Play: The Brainy Benefits of Card, Board and Video Games

Why do we play games? Of course, the first response will be related to entertainment. That is the primary motivation and benefit, yet the act of playing provides people with a number of ancillary benefits. For example, playing games teaches patience, helps with communication, sharpens the formulation of strategy. While we play games for entertainment, there are practical reasons to have fun playing card, board, and video games.


Consider the game of chess. It’s not fast-paced like basketball. While strategy is needed to be successful at either pastime, chess requires a good deal of patience. Genetics and one’s temperament play a part, but patience is a learned virtue. A seasoned chess player learns how to slowly break down their opponent and not get frustrated if one option does not work or is no longer available. When one remains focused, gaining the upper hand and winning is better achieved. Even if things do not go as planned or a patient person loses, they realize there are more opportunities to come.

Social Engagement

As the name implies, Solitaire is played alone but most games call for at least two players. Playing games helps improve social engagement. In many cases, working with teammates is needed to win or achieve sought goals. Many scenarios in life call for social interaction, and those who can work well with others are successful in making friends, having intimate relationships, and getting along with coworkers. While most people envision a person locked away in their room when thinking about video game play, a lot of games are played with others via the Internet, which calls for social interaction.


At an early age we learn what it means to be a sore loser and be a good sport. The lesson can be learned in the context of sports, yet wisdom is gained through playing card, board, or video games as well. For example, card games warrant good sportsmanship. If you’re playing a game with others and make fun of those who lose or get upset if you lose, people aren’t going to want to play with you. Moreover, they may make assumptions about your character aside from the immediate game and choose not to be in your company.


Playing games invites confidence and an opportunity to build self esteem. To return to the image of a gamer alone in their room, such a person may be shy or lack self esteem. However, playing video games and competing with others invites an opportunity to feel good about oneself. That feeling can parlay into the physical world as a good card player can channel that confidence when meeting new people or when faced with new challenges.

Mental Stimulation

Playing games is unlike being stationary and watching television. Sure, the mind is working as you watch television but it’s not as stimulated as when you’re solving a puzzle or engaged in a game. Finding methods of mental stimulation is a cure for immediate boredom and it’s also a way to maintain the mind through old age. For example, many believe that playing games helps curb the onset and effects related to dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Matthew Roberts is a Dad who has rediscovered his childhood thanks to his kids. He now takes the lead from them, living life, being less serious and having fun!


1froglegs said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Games are great way to promote critical thinking, but it needs to be mixed in with plenty of bike riding to ensure the kids are not lazy.

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