“Pass Go and collect $200!” Without being given any more context than this, half a billion people across the world already know the meaning behind this phrase and where it originates from. That’s because Monopoly, since the 1930s, has been one of the most popular board games internationally among friends and families alike. Included in that same list of popular games are Clue, Scrabble, Battleship, and Trivia Pursuit. These kinds of board games gained heavy popularity within the late 19th century/ early 20th century as living rooms within homes became epicenters for entertainment. Families were encouraged to spend time together gathered around a coffee table in the family room or in the dining room to play cards, chess, checkers or other table games. Board games and puzzles are engaging, strategic, and fun. But are there more benefits to participating in these activities than just the pure enjoyment of friendly competition and the possibility of winning? The answer is yes! Completing puzzles and playing board games have been shown to have a number of internal health and social benefits among their long term players.
It has been clinically proven that participating in strategic types of games, such as Risk or Catan, helps us enhance our problem solving skills and strengthen our memories. These kinds of games activate the Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex within our brains which are responsible for memory and complex thought. There is also evidence that games and puzzles are great even for kids to engage in. This is because at a young age games can target growing cognitive functions which in turn, can help with a child’s development early on.
Not only are playing games great for the health of your brain but they can also aid us socially within our relationships by building upon the connection between the members who are playing. Whether you’re battling against a good friend in checkers or winning in a game of Scrabble against your family, participating in games and puzzles brings people together. Uninterrupted, quality, good old-fashion fun of a friendly competition between players helps friends and family members bond in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, strengthening their relationships while exercising a healthy competitiveness.
Board games are still played today but with the rise of technology their popularity is declining. As new apps and computer games come out, physical board games are seeing less and less use. Not to fear though, participating in games or puzzles (even online) can still help with reaping the benefits and gaining the rewards that playing games offers to your health. As the annual celebration of National Game and Puzzle Week falls during the third week of November, we recognize that not only are board games and puzzles fun but they also host a number of health benefits and aid in strengthening our relationships. So use that Get Out Of Jail Free card and play on!
Did you know that you can check out games and puzzles at the library?
Click here to find out what we have and how to check them out.