There are many sensory games that can be used to specifically encourage children. In a playful environment, children not only learn quickly, but also have a lot of fun. From a developmental point of view, playing is a true "all-rounder" because a single game concept can address several development areas at the same time. The classics among child-friendly support games include so-called memo games, which are intended to improve the ability of the players to remember. The SpoSpiTo project by Thomas Gansert is taking a different approach, which aims to get children moving in order to prevent health problems in children. We got the promotion game Movement Memo and show in our board game review why playing is so important for child development.


Review of movement memo from SpoSpiTo

Basically, this is child's play Movement Memo initially nothing more than a variant of a classic memory game. The differences that make this development game so appealing only become visible in the details. The concept of Movement Memo is aimed at children from the age of 4 in order to come into contact with easy rule games. Instructed by an older player, thanks to the simple basic rules, MovementMemo can easily be played in a children's group. In addition, the title is ideal as a promotional community game for the whole family. The game idea is designed for 2 to 8 players, with an ideal game round consisting of 3 to 4 players. Basically: The more players in a game Movement Memo participate, the longer the waiting times for the next move of your own, and the higher number of tiles revealed between your own moves makes the game considerably easier. The compact game box contains 48 colorful memo plates made of sturdy cardboard and the instructions in German.

Board game review: MovementMemo by SpoSpiTo

The size of the memo boards is sufficient for larger gaming tables in terms of recognizing the symbols. Even if 8 players gather around the memo field, the individual symbols can be easily distinguished from one another, so that confusing moments rarely occur. The children depicted on the memo cards clearly show which actions are required of the participants in the alternative game variants.

In addition to the memo cards themselves, the following materials are required to play out some rule variants:

  • a small and a large ball (such as a tennis ball and a football or basketball)
  • a tablespoon
  • ein stuhl
  • a rope or a solid cord
  • Cushions or cardboard boxes
  • a tissue
  • and an inflated balloon

When putting together the additional play utensils, creativity is rewarded, because the supporting play elements can be easily adapted using your own house rules. For example, using a table tennis ball instead of a tennis ball can increase the level of difficulty slightly, while a basketball is easier to roll through the straddled legs. The same applies to the height of the cardboard boxes or the weight of the towels used.

For parents who Movement Memo Playing together with your children offers the opportunity for modifications at any time. This means that the individual support areas can be sensibly adapted to the children's abilities and their support goals.

State of health: good, but needs improvement

It is true that indicates Study on the health of children and adolescents in Germany (KiGGS) generally towards predominantly positive results, but health construction sites in children and adolescents are at least recognizable to the extent that targeted preventive measures are an important issue. Although over 90 percent of the parents surveyed rate the health of their children as good, children and adolescents from low-income or poorly educated backgrounds in particular are exposed to health risks. On average, the children's willingness to move has hardly changed over the last few decades. Yet 15 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 are overweight. Around 6 percent even suffer from obesity. The promotion game Movement Memo von SpoSpiTo wants to start right there and motivate children to exercise more in a playful way.

Basically, the colorful illustrations have a very encouraging character that can encourage children to participate. How well this motivational aspect works depends not least on the playful framework that the instructors create for the participating children. A simple but rule expanded memory game like Movement Memo can become a powerful tool for entertaining development support - not only in the private everyday life of families, but also in care facilities and in the context of therapeutic settings. 

Encouraging children through play: Why play is so important

While adults have to consciously create free play times in their everyday lives, play is a basic need for children, which is essential for healthy development. For children, games are as important as eating or sleeping. Games are not only fun, they also train various skills and abilities in a targeted manner.

A basic distinction must be made between two essential elements that are relevant for children in a playful setting. On the one hand, the participation in the game itself. On the other hand, the creative process that is related to the creation of a playful framework - for example the request to adhere to certain rules of the game or the distribution of roles. 

Board game review: MovementMemo by SpoSpiTo

Games are the ideal preparation for life for children because essential skills and behaviors are practiced free of constraints and pressure - as a by-product of a motivating play setting.

Some of the most important skills that are developed through games include:

  • Self-confidence
  • creativity
  • Thinking skills
  • Strategic thinking
  • Willingness to take responsibility
  • Sense of community
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • helpfulness
  • Conflict ability
  • Compliant behavior
  • Promotion of the parent-child relationship

In addition, games promote the handling of failures, defeats and disappointed expectations. True to the motto “One can grow with defeat”, playful disappointments ensure that negative experiences in comparative or competitive situations in adolescence or adulthood are dealt with consciously.

In play situations with others, children learn to develop understanding for one another. In contact with players of the same age (but also with younger or older) players, compromises are consciously worked out or strategies are developed to represent one's own point of view. So playing is also about forming opinions for children.

For parents, this results in the following prerequisites in order to create a motivating play environment for children:

  • Games take time: Parents should therefore create time, in which children have sufficient opportunity to deal with the content of the game. 
  • Games need space: Parents should pay attention to a child-friendly design of the rooms, not only from a safety point of view. Playing children must be allowed to cause disorder and chaos in their play areas. In addition, opportunities for movement ensure that children can live out their basic need for fun and games.
  • Games require guidance: Children often need support, especially when it comes to rule games. Parents should familiarize themselves with the rules for child-friendly development games in order to give their protégés a shallow introduction to the world of rule games.
  • Games are creative: Playing is always an expression of creativity and development. The use of different play utensils, such as natural materials, constantly creates new incentives and motivation for children.
  • Games must be suitable: Board games, special games and toys must be adapted to the child's level of development. In this way you can ensure that children are neither over nor under challenged. A varied range of toys and board games is important, but parents should plan new purchases according to the principle of “quality over quantity”. The more specific skills are to be promoted, the more extensive the game collection ultimately becomes, because many educational games for children focus on improving individual or fewer skills and abilities. Awards such as this are usually good indicators of the quality of games Child's play of the year.

Because people learn for a lifetime, childish gaming experiences lay the foundation for developing individual learning strategies.

MovementMemo: development support to the power of three

The memory game Movement Memo from SpoSpiTo promotes, as conventional memory games, not only the memory and concentration skills, but also expands the learning experience to include motor skills. The total of 48 memo cards provide the children with 24 pairs of cards, which then provide for 24 different exercises. With each correct image pair detection, the active player is asked to carry out the movement shown. Each exercise is described in the instructions - often including a few variations. For example, children should balance a small ball on a tablespoon or stand on one leg for a few seconds. Other picture cards encourage you to step over cardboard boxes or to walk on a string. Exercises are offered that promote various motor skills or strengthen certain parts of the body. For example the core muscles when lifting the hips (pair of images 19).

The 24 image pairs of Movement Memo focus on the following funding approaches:

  • Strengthening of the musculature
  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Balance exercises
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Endurance improvement
  • Memory and memory skills
  • Improvement of concentration
  • General coordination exercises

The victory conditions correspond to those of a classic memory game. After the last pair of pictures has been revealed, the stacks of cards are placed next to each other or, alternatively, the cards are counted. The player with the most cards wins the game.

Images for movement memo from SpoSpiTo

Infobox

Number of players: 2 to 8 players
Age: from 4 years
Playing time: 15 to 20 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: low
Invitation character: medium

Publisher: SpoSpiTo
Year of publication: 2017
Language: German
Cost: 15 Euro

Summary

The promotion game Movement Memo does not reinvent the wheel, but sets new accents to get children moving in a playful setting. The use of the traditional memory game rules ensures that the participating children get started with the game quickly. Complicated rule extensions are avoided as well as overly complex motor skills exercises, whereby it should be noted that some movement sequences can be real challenges for children who suffer from motor deficits. These include some exercise variations, such as “standing on one leg with your eyes closed”, but sometimes also basic exercises such as “prone on the chair”. After all, difficult exercises ensure that children are motivated to improve processes and thus themselves.

Movement Memo from SpoSpiTo is a simple concept that works - and not only in everyday family life. The development game is ideally suited as an instrument in therapeutic environments or as a learning toy in rescue facilities. With the exception of a few exercises with a sporting challenge, the memory game can even be used as a board game for seniors.

The purchase price of around 15 euros is fair, even if the picture cards have the typical disadvantages of some memo playing cards: the thick cardboard breaks easily if accidentally creased and the card edges of the pressed cardboard wear off quickly due to a lack of sealing. In the foreground of Movement Memo the game idea is very clear - and it works. In the in-house Webshop The sponsorship game from SpoSpiTo will be available from the end of August 2017.

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