Posts in the games category

Adult play is compulsory!

By Andrew McKenna Let's face it, who doesn't love a cable car? Small children, adults grinning stupidly, commuters at the bottom of the mountain ... James Bond. Some of my highlights from travelling overseas have been trips on cable cars. Valparaíso has a beauty. To be more precise it's a funicular railway, climbing up a steep hillside with the brilliant colours of Valpa and the sea beyond spreading below.  Another ripper was in Bournemouth, but this time I had the added thrill of taking my boys on it. They were wide-eyed with delight, and it remains one of the highlights...

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The forest of childhood

The forest - the grim, dark, rejuvenating, life-giving, mysterious forest. In folktales the world over, there's something special about going into the forest. The hero on his or the heroine on her quest inevitably treks deep into the forest. There are helpers and dangers along the way. In one lovely Danish tale, three brothers take it in turn to set out through the forest to bring a healing apple to an ailing princess. When they lose their way an old lady appears, asking what they have in their basket. The first two brothers don't spare her the time of day,...

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Swings and trampolines

I've always found trampolines disconcerting. I never grew up with a trampoline, and bouncing around on one as an adult invariably creates this feeling in me perhaps best described as a sailor without sea legs. I get disoriented, dizzy, nauseous, and start looking for a bucket. Perhaps I could do with a long sea voyage with a trampoline on each deck to overcome my phobia, but if I had that long sea voyage I'd most likely spend it in the library or enjoying 5 o'clock drinks on the poop deck (whatever that is). I will grant, though that there's almost...

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Brain development in a suitcase!

Who would have thought that merely by working on a jigsaw puzzle you exercise both sides of your brain, and increase the links between them? And increase your dopamine levels? (Dopamine is one of your pleasure and soothing hormones.) Brain development and creating pathways to soothe jangled nerves are crucial in early childhood education and development, of course. While 'hothousing' kids has been questioned in some quarters, it nevertheless feels wonderful to give your children a pleasurable, aesthetic and fun activity that at the same time increases brain activity and development. It's a little like eating chocolate cake loaded with...

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Co-operative Games to play as friends, not enemies

Unfortunately I can’t open and play every single game I stock, but I have played several of these Co-operative Games from Family Pastimes with my own children and was thrilled to find that even though the competitive element of the game was removed, they were still fun and challenging – and really the only element missing was that at the end of the game I wasn’t faced with the usual upset, defeated younger brother and the proudly victorious older brother. Rather than arguments about the rules and who is cheating, I found that my boys were high five-ing each other...

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