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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, children and adults who delight in entertaining themselves with engaging activities. That’s what play is. Younger and older citizens having fun together form 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, non-readers and readers, preschoolers and high schoolers, parents and grandparents can play a game and everyone come away with positive feelings. Team work leads everyone to success, and 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. It always amazes me to hear what they have to say about solving dilemmas within the game and how this taps into greater topics of conversation that might otherwise have gone unrealized. Furthermore new friends can easily be made 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.”

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 and both cooperative and competitive ways to play. Think of a day At the Beach, 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.

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, and 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.

Remember Waldo?

Find It Where’s Waldo? challenges players to put away their magnifying glasses and shake and turn the cylinder in search of all objects Waldo.

You’ll be looking for the 40 items listed on the top cap. Every object has an assigned value, from one to six. Spotting Wenda’s camera earns one point, Woof’s bone two, and Woof three. Waldo’s hat or Whitebeard’s scroll adds four, a snowman five, and the messenger bag or Waldo’s key six. With multiple ways to play, Where’s Waldo? keeps you alert and sharp eyed. English illustrator Martin Handford published Where’s Waldo? in 1987, making this a walk down memory lane for the parents and grandparents of new generation. Something old is new again and inviting intergenerational play.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Emotional Intelligence

From birth some children are easy going and easily soothed. Others arrive “kicking and screaming,” seemingly demanding we address their needs posthaste. Whatever their dispositions, infants are dependent on adults for nurturance. When someone responds consistently and lovingly to his/her cues, the infant learns that needs will be met and feelings respected. This creates attachment and builds trust, both essential elements in emotional well-being. Sadly many infants are not consistently nurtured, a situation that makes developing healthy relationships with others challenging.

And many well nurtured children have disorders that make social interaction difficult. Those with autism spectrum disorders have to learn social skills that come more naturally to others. Making eye contact, learning to interpret facial expressions and body language, and participating in a conversation are challenging and require patient, consistent encouragement from family and friends.

Role playing social situations helps build social skills; stories and games can too.

Eggspressions combines a storybook and six expressive wooden eggs to create a role-playing activity that helps children identify six basic feelings, communicate effectively, and collectively solve a problem. By sharing their feelings and working together, players figure out a happy solution to a challenge.

Eggspressions

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Alternatives to Screen Time

Statistics show that 99% of US households own a television; 66% have three or more. I have read that the average American child watches television 1,680 minutes per week. That’s 28 hours a week or an average of four hours each and every day spent watching television.

How else might that time be spent? Trade this passive, sedentary activity for something active, engaging and stimulating. Read a book. Paint a picture. Pull out blocks and build whatever comes to mind. Block play is fundamental. Classic wooden blocks in varied shapes and sizes invite play that develops spatial awareness; strengthens eye-hand coordination and motor skills; increases cognitive, language, and mathematical skills, and teaches about balance and gravity. Building enhances creativity, problem solving, collaboration, cooperation, and social skills. Add props and create an imaginative play scenario.

Take a walk – rain or shine. Jump rope. Play hide-and-seek. Plant a garden. Bake cookies. Pack a lunch, go to the park, and have a picnic. Play a gameWhether cooperative or competitive, games have rules that everyone must follow. Playing a game well requires mutual respect among participants, understanding and accepting the rules, taking turns, following directions, paying attention, playing fair, and accepting the outcome graciously. Playing well with others takes practice. Let the games begin. 

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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The Benefits of Cooperation – by Alfie Kohn

When the dog days of summer are upon us …

what  better way to spend our time than playing a game with your family and friends? We at PlayopolisToys value cooperative games that people of different ages and abilities can play together, each making his or her best contribution. We recognize the inherent value of collaboration, cooperation, and inclusion. When we “play well with others” we demonstrate emotional and social maturity.

In No Contest, the Case Against Competition, Alfie Kohn offers compelling arguments for laying aside our competitive spirits and embracing cooperation. He counters the fact that “we are encouraged to pit ourselves against one another and taught that competition is a prod to productivity, a builder of character, and an unavoidable part of human nature,” with the observation that “any win/lose structure is psychologically destructive and poisonous to our relationships.”

Embrace the benefits of acceptance, inclusion, and participation, of mutual respect and  of working together toward a mutual goal. Imagine giving encouragement, receiving support, and feeling safe and trusted in an open, honest environment. Everyone contributes, building confidence and a sense of self-worth. Everyone relaxes, increasing out enjoyment of the game. After all, if what we’re doing isn’t fun, we’re not playing. Joy in the process is a keystone of play.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play