Some of the Benefits of Playing New Games:
Addressing Obesity and Fitness
Almost everyone these days acknowledges that people are becoming overweight and less fit. Studies confirm this, and show it’s getting progressively worse. Eating habits of course are a part of this, but so is a lack of physical activity. Our more sedentary life styles are the cause of this.
New Games provides one way to be active. Participants can contribute to controlling their weight and become more fit without even being aware that’s what they are doing, since all they’re concerned about is that they are having a good time. The activity is a natural part of the games. While New Games might not be the total answer to these problems, it can make a considerable difference to those normally not inclined to participate in sport or recreation games.
Enhancing Coordination and Motor Skills
A complete range of physical skills are a part of almost all of these cooperative games. A relationship has been shown between motor skill development and the ability to learn. New Games gets players to perform and improve their physical skills without necessarily being aware that is what they are doing, since their focus is having fun. For instance, kids who don’t know how to throw a ball well get many chances to do so during the games without anyone judging how well they are doing. Since there is much less pressure to win the cooperative games, there is room for learning and growth.
Dealing with Bullying
Playing cooperative games allows people to leave their ‘role’ and become someone else. Bullies can lighten up because they are having a good time without feeling they have to dominate anyone, or push anyone around. The bullied are given respect by participating fully as members of the activity, as opposed to being left out or even ostracized.
For some time now there has been shown a relationship between physical activity and the release of endorphins in the brain, which stimulate creativity and facilitate learning. Also, since players are interested in participating, their skills of concentration, listening, and following directions are enhanced. Incorporating New Games in to the classroom can help children remember more, learn more actively, and stay engaged while learning self control and how to cooperate by doing it through play.
Addressing Mental Health
New Games and cooperative play are not classed as therapy. However, playing the games is often very therapeutic. For instance, I had the experience of playing New Games with a group of autistic people early in my career. When the session was done, I felt it hadn’t gone very well, since the people had not participated very fully as I was used to seeing. However, one of the staff who worked with them came up to me and raved:
With such benefits, New Games programs are ideal for Schools, Youth Groups, and Religious Groups. These programs are tailored to help your group get the best from cooperative play. Your classroom activities, youth group games or church games will become more creative, more positive and fun for all!