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Intergenerational Play Rocks

quote about what makes a family

Thanksgiving Gatherings

Everyone benefits from purposeful intergenerational relationships. The gathering of family and friends to share a meal at Thanksgiving traditionally involves multiple generations. What better time to share activities that nurture connections among different age groups?

 PlayopolisToys serves the citizens of play. Those children and adults who delight in entertaining themselves with engaging activities. That’s what play is. Younger and older citizens having fun together forms bonds that enrich everyone involved. Opportunities abound. Take a walk. Share stories, Read a favorite book aloud. Create something. Play a board game, preferably a non-competitive one. Or go on a treasure hunt while sitting together on the sofa.

Cooperative Games Foster Teamwork

Cooperative games require players to work together toward a common goal. By putting aside competition and working cooperatively,   everyone comes away with positive feelings. Non-readers and readers. Preschoolers and high schoolers. Parents and grandparents can enjoy playing a game together. Team work leads everyone to success. Moreover no one leaves the game gloating or feeling like a loser. 

Megana Hosein, a mother of four, is enthusiastic about the value of cooperative board games. She “loves how board games encourage interacting and thinking with children in a way that is rarely explored in our busy lives. I am always amazed to hear what they have to say about solving dilemmas within the game. This taps into greater topics of conversation that might otherwise have gone unrealized. Furthermore my children can easily make new friends over the commonality and cooperation in a board game, both with peers and adults. Truly a gentle way to introduce social rules. And simultaneously focus the active child while drawing out the shy one.” Consider cooperative games for those times when kids of different ages and  abilities as well as kids and adults want to play together.

Thwart Stink Bugs

Ever thought about hiding bugs under a rug before stink bugs show up and stink up the place? That’s the  challenges players face with Snug As A Bug in A Rug. One of more than two dozen fun-for-all-to-play cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom.

With three levels of play, these skills-building games grow as players become more proficient. Create a team to solve these problems. Two players will do, but there’s room for more. Designed to be played in 15 minutes, these games offer a quick solution to the challenge of keeping the peace before and after Thanksgiving dinner.

Search for Treasure

Find It games, theme-based treasure hunts in a cylinder, invite intergenerational searches.  Both offer cooperative and competitive ways to play. Think of  Wildlife, Dinosaurs, Mythical Creatures, or anything that elicits the comment Eww Gross.

For those who thrive on challenges,  Mythical Creatures is the ultimate Find It for intergenerational play. After all, two heads are better than one, and the more heads, the merrier the conversation, especially in intergenerational play.

Mythical Creatures requires knowledge of folk tales and supernatural beings from around the world. Keep a dictionary or Wikipedia handy while going down the list. Otherwise, when you see the word hippocampus, you might think of the region of our brain thought responsible for emotions and memory. Although that’s true, you’d be missing a chance to identify one of the fish-tailed horses of Greek Mythology. The beauty of Mythical Creatures is the chance to find out who’s who and what’s what, then check each off the list. While concentrating on finding out about the Jersey Devil, a kraken, or a troll or taking note of the similarities and differences between a hippocampus and a manticore, you’re happily learning, making memories and nurturing relationships.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Might Hospitalized Adults Benefit From Practices Advocated by Child Life?

baby with stethoscope and teddy bear
Making Hospital Less Traumatic for Children
I’ve written about the ways child life specialists make being in hospital less traumatic for children and their parents: advocating for positions of comfort, educating patients in age appropriate ways, providing distraction during procedures and opportunities for children to engage in activities that encourage self-expression. Play is essential to a sense of well being. Amidst the chaos of hospitalization, play gives children a normalizing experience. While playing, children are in charge, an important respite from having little control over what’s happening in their lives.
 Well Documented Benefits
All these practices reduce stress, enhance coping skills, and help patients manage pain. With preparation and distraction, procedures require less sedation thus reducing the risks of side effects. Patients recover faster, readmissions decline, and both children and their parents report increased satisfaction with the hospital experience. The benefits are so well documented that the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates for child life services.
Adults Struggle Too
Granted adults aren’t children, but illness and injury leading to hospitalization are discombobulating at best. Even the best educated, well informed, well adjusted among us can easily become overwhelmed by all that’s happening. We know we need to “get a grip.” We have questions and need easy to understand answers. We need time to process all that’s happening, figure out ways to cope, relieve our distress, and manage our pain.
Patient-Focused Care for All
 Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article online entitled “Why Hospitals Should Treat Adults Like Children.” Or to be more precise, how making adult hospitals more like children’s hospitals reduces anxiety and readmissions. This insightful article is a must read for everyone interested in patient-focused health care.
 Less Stress, Better Outcomes

The author, Lisa Ward, interviewed Kumar Dharmarajan, MD, MBA, an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine and co-author of “Balloon Animals, Guitars, and Fewer Blood Draws: Applying Strategies From Pediatrics to the Treatment of Hospitalized Adults,” which appeared in Annals of Internal Medicine, 19 May 2015.

Anyone who has ever been in hospital recalls being awakened every couple of hours for medical interventions, whether checking vital signs, drawing blood, or giving medicine. In neonatal intensive care units, best practice prescribes grouping interventions to minimize sleep disruptions. That’s a practice we all can appreciate and one example of how “treating adults like children” could make hospital stays less stressful.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Reflections on Becoming PlayopolisToys

Seven months have passed since we embarked on our journey to becoming PlayopolisToys Inc.  My head spins when I think of all we have accomplished and all that remains to be done. Despite our best team efforts, time lines, and task lists, we didn’t think of everything and certainly couldn’t control every aspect of the process.

No doubt you expected us to change the outgoing message on our telephone when we transitioned. You’d have been disappointed. Only when Chris Hamel, our rep at KMC Music, called, heard the old greeting, and left a much appreciated reminder that we’d changed our name but not our message, did I think to record a new greeting.

“Rome was not built in a day.” Neither was PlayopolisToys. Despite hiccups and glitches, we migrated to our new domain and are continuing to refine the site. New products will begin appearing once we’ve completed our transition revisions and proofing. To keep an eye on our progress, bookmark PlayopolisToys and visit often.

We’re delighted with the reception PlayopolisToys has received. One of our suppliers, Jim Marielli, emailed “I think the new name is really cute and imaginative, and I love the philosophy behind it!” When I expressed my delight, he elaborated.

Playopolis_Toys_logo_box“I really think it’s a great name, and the message behind it is so genuine and I agree 100% with it. I could go on and on about the benefits of play…my wife and I have 5 children so we are still learning and witnessing the value of play in our personal lives (versus how “social media” is hurting social skills in this younger generation – in my opinion).  Anyways, I just thought you nailed it!  :)”

That’s one man’s opinion. What’s yours?

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play


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Explore Nature – It’s Easier Than You Think

Forever on the look-out for ideas that enrich our lives, I was delighted to discover Nature Works Everywhere, a program of The Nature Conservancy that “gives teachers, students and families everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature around the globe alongside Nature Conservancy scientists.” Primarily providing lesson plans with videos, teacher resources, and webinars, Resources also offers virtual field trips. Eager to explore a coastal temperate rainforest?  The deserts and grasslands of Africa? Or China’s Great Forests? These and many other virtual adventures await visitors to Nature Works Everywhere.

Many of the lesson plans and videos provide useful information to anyone wanting to learn more and pursue nature-related activities. All are designed for students in grades three through 12, making the information readily adaptable to families and organizations. Consider the How-to-Garden series with videos on planning, building, and caring for a garden. And these are just the beginning.

Ever thought of planting a garden to attract pollinators? That would make a great family project. Consult Pollinator Garden Tip Sheet for links to resources that make the project go smoothly and successfully. There’s a guide for selecting pollinator plants based on your ecoregion. That’s a must read.

Wanting to attract Monarch butterflies? Monarch Watch sells milkweed plugs. Have two acres to dedicate to native habitat restoration? In that case, apply for free milkweeds. Learn about beneficial insects and build a bat house.

Or watch Meet the Scientists videos to learn about the work they’re doing:  managing fires in fire-dependent habitats, restoring forests in China, directing marine and freshwater programs, and studying soil ecology. You’ll be amazed by the diversity of their work and impressed with their commitment to the planet.


PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play