Play games!

The general wisdom on the reasons for playing games is here. In a nutshell, it improves listening and attention.

Playing card and board games can be beneficial for improving focus and concentration in several ways, which are listed below. It’s AMAZING to see how many benefits there are. Aside from being fun, there is a huge link between playing these real life games and your child’s concentration and focus in school. 

  • Suggestions of games that might be suitable for different year groups:
    • Nursery: Hunt the thimble; Jenga; I spy
    • Reception: Hide N Seek; Snap (and variations); Snakes and Ladders
    • Year 1: Concentration (match the pairs); Kerplunk or pick up sticks; noughts and crosses
    • Year 2: Kims game; Uno;  Connect 4 or Boxes
    • Year 3: Knockout whist; Top Trumps; draughts
    • Year 4: Newmarket; Backgammon; Bananagrams (or Scrabble)
    • Year 5: Chess; Articulate or charades; Knockout whist
    • Year 6: Rummy; Dominoes or Yahtzee; Twenty Questions

Just ‘google’ the above if you want to find out how to play (an appropriate use of technology!). 

We suggest that you focus on these games as presents for birthdays and Christmas. 

Why are playing games essential for your child’s development?

1. Mental stimulation: 

  • Players need to pay attention to the game rules, remember cards that have been played, analyze their options, and make decisions based on the current game state. 

2. Attention to detail: 

  • games often involve paying close attention to details, such as card ranks, suits, and patterns. 

3. Task switching and multitasking: 

  • Many games require players to switch between different tasks or manage multiple elements simultaneously. Many board games involve tracking multiple elements simultaneously, such as game pieces, cards, resources, or scores. This multitasking aspect of card games can improve a child’s ability to shift their attention between different aspects of a task and maintain focus amidst distractions.

4. Patience and impulse control: 

  • Games often involve strategic decision-making, where players need to resist impulsive actions and think ahead. Learning to wait for the right moment, evaluating options, and considering potential consequences can develop a child’s patience and impulse control. 

5. Social interaction and focus: 

  • Many games are played in social settings, involving interactions with other players. Engaging in these social environments while playing games requires active listening, paying attention to others’ moves, and adapting strategies accordingly. 

6. Memory and recall: 

  • Games often involve remembering values, patterns, or sequences. Players need to recall information from their memory to make informed decisions. Regular practice of remembering and recalling such information can improve a child’s working memory and their ability to concentrate on and retain relevant details.

7. Goal-oriented tasks: 

  • Games often have specific goals or objectives that players need to work towards. This requires sustained focus and concentration as players strategize, plan their moves, and make decisions to achieve those goals. 

8. Turn-taking and waiting: 

  • Games typically involve turn-taking, where players must wait for their turn to make a move. This teaches children the importance of patience and maintaining focus while waiting for their opportunity to act. They learn to stay engaged in the game even when it is not their turn, honing their ability to concentrate for extended periods.

9. Complex rules and strategies: 

  • Games often feature intricate rules and strategies that players must understand and apply. This requires attentive reading and comprehension of the rules, as well as the ability to remember and apply them during gameplay. 

10. Problem-solving and decision-making: 

  • Games often present players with different challenges and dilemmas that require problem-solving and decision-making skills. Players must analyse the current situation, evaluate options, and make informed choices. 

11. Following instructions: 

  • Many games involve following specific instructions or rules. Players need to actively listen to the instructions provided at the beginning of the game and throughout its duration. 

12. Active participation:  

  • Players must pay attention to the actions, movements, or statements of others in order to respond or react appropriately.  

13. Communication and listening skills: 

  • Some games involve verbal communication and listening to others’ statements or responses. Players must actively listen to what others are saying, process the information, and respond accordingly. 

15. Rapid thinking and response: 

  • Certain games require quick thinking and rapid responses to stimuli or cues. Players need to stay attentive and react promptly to the game’s requirements.

Why you should avoid screen time

Research suggests several potential downsides to excessive screen time, particularly in children:

1. Sedentary lifestyle: 

  • Excessive screen time is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, reducing physical activity levels. This can contribute to an increased risk of obesity and related health issues such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and musculoskeletal disorders.

2. Sleep disturbances: 

  • Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Poor sleep quality can lead to difficulties with attention, concentration, learning, and overall cognitive functioning.

3. Impaired social skills: 

  • Excessive screen time can limit face-to-face social interactions, affecting the development of important social skills. Spending excessive time with screens may reduce opportunities for direct communication, empathy, and understanding of non-verbal cues, leading to difficulties in building and maintaining relationships.

4. Behavioral and emotional issues: 

  • Research suggests a link between excessive screen time and behavioral problems, including attention difficulties, impulsivity, aggression, and emotional dysregulation. Excessive exposure to certain types of media, such as violent or inappropriate content, can have a negative impact on behavior and emotional well-being.

5. Academic performance: 

  • Excessive screen time has been associated with lower academic performance in children and adolescents. It can interfere with studying, concentration, and homework completion. Additionally, excessive screen time may replace other productive activities, such as reading, engaging in hobbies, or participating in extracurricular activities, which can impact overall intellectual development.

6. Reduced cognitive development: 

  • Prolonged screen time may impede the development of cognitive skills, including attention, memory, problem-solving, and executive functions. Excessive exposure to fast-paced, fragmented media content may lead to difficulties in sustained attention and critical thinking abilities.

7. Vision problems: 

  • Excessive screen time, particularly without appropriate breaks and eye care, can contribute to eye strain, dryness, discomfort, and other vision-related issues such as myopia (nearsightedness).

St Peter's C of E Primary School

Moor Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Devon EX9 6QF

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