It's time you dusted off the old Monopoly board, collected
all the missing Scrabble pieces, pulled down Trivial Pursuit
from your spare closet and gathered up your family for an
old-fashioned game night.
People who play board games regularly may drastically
reduce their risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia
as they age.
Why? Playing board games -- though not as talked about as
more trendy video games, online games and TV shows -- is incredibly
good for your mental and physical health and your very sanity.
In fact, while electronic games continue to make headlines,
board games have been experiencing a growth spurt in the past
decade. There are now over 42,000 board games and accessories
on the market, and sales reached over $5 billion in 2004.
"Millions of game enthusiasts already know that games
are positive, social entertainment," said Mark Simmons,
the founder of National Games Week (which just ran from November
19-25 this year) and publisher of Games Quarterly(TM).
But what some consumers may not know is just how positive
of an impact playing board games can have on themselves and
their family. So this holiday season take a look through the
amazing benefits below, then pick up a couple of new games
for under the tree, delight in playing them with your family
next to the fire, and bring back the traditions of years
Reduce Your Risk of Developing Alzheimer's Disease and
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that
challenging your brain with mentally stimulating leisure activities
(including playing board games or cards, doing crossword puzzles,
reading, writing, and playing musical instruments) is great
for your mind.
Seniors who participated in such activities about once a
week for a 20-year period reduced the risk of dementia by
7 percent. Those who engaged in these activities more often
reduced their risk even more -- by 63 percent!
More Quality Family Time
Starting a family game night is a great way to bond
with your family, relieve stress and challenge your
Sitting down for some uninterrupted family time may feel
like a rare luxury in your home, as schedules pull everyone
in different directions, but doing so is extremely important.
Kids of families who have regular "check-in" times,
such as a family
dinner every night or a regular game night, often have
higher self-esteem, get better grades in school, and are less
likely to drink alcohol or take drugs.
"If we don't keep some way of connecting together as
a family group, the kids really feel a loss," says Evelyn
Petersen, an early-childhood education consultant, author
and nationally syndicated parenting columnist.
Playing board games after a family dinner is an excellent
way to get closer to your family (you'll often be surprised
at where the conversation goes), while strengthening your
family bond, and allowing kids to practice essential problem-solving
and other cognitive skills.
"Children will learn patience and cooperation,"
says Petersen. "They also gain a sense of belonging to
Relieve Stress, Gain Mental Balance and Relax
Playing "casual games" (board games, card games,
word games, etc.) is an excellent way to kick back and relax,
according to an online survey by RealNetworks, Inc., a casual
The survey found that:
64 percent of respondents said they play games as a way
to unwind and relax
53 percent play for stress relief
42 percent believe game play is a way to keep his/her
75 percent of those with children said they see educational
benefits for their children who play casual games
"It's a wild concept, but I see this trend as a way
for women and men to establish mental balance and embrace
a healthy form of comfort," said women's lifestyle expert
and author Jennifer Louden.
Looking for a Great Board Game?
Check out some of these top-rated board games for children
and adults of all ages:
Settlers of the Stone Age: An exciting game of
strategy involving challenges unique to the dangers and
opportunities of the Stone Age. (Ages 10 and up)
to Apples: A wild, award-winning game of hilarious
comparisons that provides instant fun for four to 10 players!
(Ages 12 and up)
of Doodles: Oodles of Doodles takes the art of
doodling to a whole new level. Players race against time
to sketch out eight items that fit within a specific category
in a fast-paced family game that will keep everyone entertained.
(Ages 10 and up)
5 Benefits -- and a Few Risks -- of Eating Together at the
Crucial Health Value of Play ... for Kids AND Adults