Sunday, July 19, 2015

Manic Monday #9 - The Power of Play

Every now and then you stumble across something that somehow just fits with your life, your philosophies, your goals...and you weren't even looking for it. You ever have that happen to you?  Well it just happened to me, and I'm excited as all get out!

When I was re-evaluating how school went at the end of the year this spring, there was one thing that was screaming to me (although that could've been the 2-year-old).  That one practice that I promise myself each year we are going to do, then, in the everyday fulfillment of duties, drop.  And that is the power of educational play.  I decided that in the fall, I wanted to consciously obtain board games that we could play as a family that reinforced the things we were learning in our studies.  We've had a weekly game night for awhile that we love, and we play games throughout the week, but I wanted it to be more.  And here's why...remember that little post I did two weeks ago about play?  Play has this incredible superhero power to fire synapses within learning.  It not only can help those children who are struggling with understanding or with learning difficulties, but can make an important connection in a child's ability to apply what they've been studying.  It's that moment when the addition goes from just functions on a paper to real life purpose.  Along with life experience and instruction, play makes up the trifecta of how we learn.

So, I pinned game after game on Pinterest that we could make, knowing that, realistically, me making games might not happen.  You see, I tend to drop those things that take too much set up time.  Good intentions, bad follow through.  A little later I was looking through my latest issue of Home School Enrichment magazine when seemingly a light straight from heaven shined upon an advertisement for an educational game company called SimplyFun (more than likely it was the 5-year-old playing with his flashlight, but it was inspired none the less).
The kids digging into the box with gusto!

SimplyFun's mission is "We Build Smarter Kids & Stronger Families Through the Amazing Power of Play!"  And looking at their games, I could tell that was the truth.  These games didn't look cheesy, like so many educational games are.  They looked exciting and fun.  There was everything from fractions to money, spelling to Shakespeare, geography to relationships.  I mean, I could build the whole school year curriculum just on the variety of games that were available, and we didn't have to hope that the game got printed or cut out or laminated by me!  So I decided I was going to get my shopping list started for the next school year.  However, there was one problem.  You can only purchase the games through a Playologist Consultant.  Now, I really had no thought or desire to become a consultant of anything, been there, done that, but when I looked into SimplyFun, I figured, if nothing else, the $150 to become a business owner would get us 11 awesome games for a great discount.
Tucker after he became Head of the Herd

That thought changed the instant we started unloading my kit.  The quality of the games far surpass any other game we've ever bought.  These games and boxes they come in are built to last.  The kids love these games so much, they don't even realize they are learning, and I find them entertaining, which helps my desire to play!  They have been so excited for them that I'm having to kick them out to go play in the sun, with them running back 15 minutes later, asking if they can come back in and play more.  They've been telling their friends all about them, and for my first Laugh & Learn party, my boys were just as anxious to share the games as I was! It was truly awesome to see twelve kids between 3 and 10 playing Bee Alert and Kilter without fighting and having a blast.

Why I say that SimplyFun fits for me is because everything about the company from their desire to build stronger families to their dedication to help foster connections between the things children learn and the people who influence them to their mission to make learning fun resonates within me.  It doesn't matter if you are a homeschool parent, a public school parent, grandparent, daycare worker, or teacher in a classroom, SimplyFun games can add that essential part to learning that is so often by-passed, that third element to learning: play.  And it just takes 30 minutes or less.  No kidding!  That's one of those features that I didn't really consider, but has become important.  Now when the children say, "Can we play a game?" thirty minutes before bedtime, I won't mind saying "Yes!"  So if you are looking for a way to enrich your home and enrich your school, I suggest you give SimplyFun a peek. I promise, you won't be disappointed!  And if you want to earn free games, please leave me a comment, and I'll let you know how!  Where can you check out all the fun?  Be prepared for the super power of play!  Click here.

Have a manic and blessed one!

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