Thursday, November 4, 2010

Member of the Bored

At this time of year, it's easy to get caught up in the cycles of work, housekeeping, and seasonal preparations. But, all work and no play can make life monotonous. Taking time out to enjoy some fun activity not only revitalizes the spirit, it can help elevate the usual slog. The problem, during fall and winter, is that weather can repel even the most ardent outdoorsmen/women. And, during the holiday season, there are times when budgets squeak at the mere mention of a movie or dinner out. That's when it's time to get creative.

Board games are the usual standby, and for good reason. When families discover their favourite diversion, game night quickly becomes a much anticipated event. It's an excellent opportunity for parents to teach their children in a pleasurable way. Depending on the game, young players can practice reading and counting, or get subtle education in arithmetic, geography, economics, or history. Perhaps the greatest lesson of all is learning good sportsmanship. That's an emotional skill which can carry children (and adults) gracefully through many of life's most challenging moments.

Some electronic games provide the same opportunities for family fun, but here the choices are more limited. Many games are isolating: one player, engrossed in on-screen activity, is not conducive to fellowship. But, there are a few games which engage several players, and some even provide energetic game-play.

Golf-pro hubby
A few years ago, hubby and I were introduced to Wii on a visit to our daughter and her family. What a fantastic invention! It wasn't long after that visit we bought our own console and games. Since then, we've enjoyed year-round golfing. Occasionally, we hit the lanes and go bowling, play ping-pong or tennis, or shoot some pool. And, when life gets frustrating, there's terrific tension relief in pummelling a virtual punching bag. With a wide-ranging variety of multi-player games, there's something for everyone. While I still enjoy our favourite board games, backgammon has never gotten my hibernating buttocks off the couch and engaged in activity.

Though Nintendo blazed the trail with Wii, many gaming platforms now have similar physically-interactive options. The initial cost of these consoles and their software can be expensive, but that cost is relative to how often the unit is used. If hubby and I had paid green fees for the many rounds of golf we've played, the cost of our console and all its games and accessories would pale in comparison. Shooting pool would've involved visiting some very dodgy establishments. Playing tennis would've subjected me to more direct sun than bearable. Wii has enabled us to participate in several activities that, for whatever reason, were previously inaccessible to us. These are values hard to calculate.

So the next time you find yourself a member of the bored, dig out your favourite game – or explore new ones – and enjoy some thrifty fun!