Christmas night in our house was marked by a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit. We all paired up and tried to figure out whether Helsinki or Oslo is further north (Helsinki), what the name of the first astronaut to return from space was (some Russian dude), and what organ hepatitis impacts (the liver). I’m thankful I married into a game-playing family, as I love games. I grew up playing hearts, cribbage and gin…I kept a deck of cards alongside my Eurorail pass as I traveled through Europe in college…I’ve bonded with friends over board games in my adult life…and I have fond memories of falling in love with Sean over al fresco Scrabble games.
Now, as I think about challenging my mind as a part of my overall well-being, games are part of the equation. Games fall into the category of neurobics – mental exercises that enhance the brain’s performance (no leotard required). Neurobics can include anything from doing routine activities in non-routine ways (i.e., sleeping on a different side of the bed or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand) to doing specific exercises to improve mental fitness. And more broadly, games are obviously part of play – something that’s increasingly emphasized by academics and educators and even business leaders as changing the way we learn, work, and relate to other people.
If you’re not a board game player and are thinking about giving it a try, here are some of my favorites:
- Hearts (cards)
- Settlers of Catan
- Ticket to Ride
- Uno (fun with kids)
As the new year approaches, maybe it’s worth getting a game night on the calendar! If you’re an avid game player, I’m always looking for suggestions…what’s your favorite game and why? And if you don’t play board games, but you have other ways to incorporate more play into your life, what works for you?