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Games people play

Posted on May 16, 2019 | Comments

In 1968, singer-songwriter Joe South introduced his hit song, “Games People Play”. Half way around the world, Leslie Scott had a different take on the word: games. Based on a lively family activity using children’s wooden building blocks purchased from a sawmill in Takoradi, Ghana, Scott founded what today is known as Jenga. If you’re not familiar with this game named for a Swahili word, kujenga which means “to build,” players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. Each block removed is then placed on top of the tower, creating a progressively taller and more unstable structure.  According to Pokonobe Associates, owners of the Jenga brand, over 80 million Jenga games, equivalent to more than 4.3 billion Jenga blocks, have been sold worldwide.

Board games have been in existence since the dawn of civilization providing entertainment and healthy competition.  The oldest, called Senet, was found in Predynastic and First Dynasty burials of Egypt as early as c. 3500 BC. Games have a great way of bringing people of all ages together. Many of today’s most popular games are manufactured such as Yahtzee, Sorry and Backgammon while bobbing for apples or gunny sack races make use of items on hand or easily available for purchase. Board games play a crucial role in children’s development and growth as they help acquire logical and reasoning skills, boost critical thinking and gain spatial reasoning. Playing board games alsohelps with learning, social and communication skills as well.

Adults benefit from board games as well. Many board games deal with cognitive functions such as memory, information retention, problem-solving, and complex situations. These aspects of board games help to develop the mind and sharpen memory. Playing board games reduces the risk of mental diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. Along with laughing and positive social behaviors, endorphins are released increasing positive attitudes, lowering blood pressure and stress, and strengthening the immune system. Games also activate your “survival genes” that over time can help build problem-solving and analytical skills. So, the next time you lose your wallet and can’t find it for hours, it’s time to bring out a game of Monopoly and get playing.

So, how game are you? Whether you’re organizing a family reunion, a child’s birthday party, or just want to share a good time with a few friends, there’s definitely a game for that! There are plenty of holidays coming up–a perfect opportunity to try out a new game or get nostalgic with an “oldie but goodie”.  Chinese checkers anyone?

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