Readers’ Blog

The Vast Expanse of a Couple of Feet of Cardboard

Popularity 2Viewed 8729 times 2014-1-3 05:15 |System category:News| Board, Games, Clue, Battleship, Mahjong

                It has been interesting to play with my oldest child this last year – watching her beginning to understand letters, numbers, and ‘how things work’ (like her electronic toys, television sets, CD/DVD players, and my computers).  Watching her work her fingers over switches and react to the various sounds and lights.  Yet, time and time again, after the initial amusement wears off, she will give the ‘simple’ toys and electronic games to her younger sister – bored with the limitations posed by limited number of lights, lack of new puzzles to solve, etc.  The same could be said for the DVDs and videos found on YouTube – for one can only watch Dora, Ni-Hao Kailan, and Hello Kitty only so much.  “Daddy’s Alarm Clock”, a.k.a. an old beat up Nintendo DS I found a few years ago, is still amusing – given the ‘Club Games’ chip that plugged in – allowing her to play checkers, bowling, and other games.  However, if given the chance, she will walk over the shelf, grab a board game and ask if someone (i.e. Mom and/or Dad) to play with her.

                 Whether it is Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, or just the old Checker Board – she will want to play turn after turn, game after game – never bored or exhausted (unlike her parents).  During play, there is a mix of amusement, puzzlement, and imagination in her eyes.  Through example, she is exposed to the concepts of fair play and cheating, and taught how to be gracious in defeat as well as humble in victory.  Moreover, the reality that there is no ‘reset button’ in real life is conveyed in a fun manner that can surpass the most of serious lecture.  The wide variety of emotions have been shown, good and bad, by all players involved – and all have learned to adjust with them (i.e. crying will only get some sympathy during the first couple of turns, and nothing more).  These are the things that will teach a child how to interact with the world.

                Come to think of it, some of my fonder memories of my childhood were playing board games with friends and family – from Battleship with my father to Clue at the family get togethers.  While I was part of the first generation of children to grow up in the ‘video game era’, with an Atari 2600 and stack full of cartridges – I cannot honestly say I remember much about them except for brief visuals and sound effects of Pitfall, Berserk, Indiana Jones and E.T. (yes, I actually played that game).  While the bright lights and sound did amuse, they are limited in scope and interaction, unlike the vast expanse of a couple of feet of cardboard and some bits of paper and plastic.

                I have to wonder about Chinese parents, much like parents around the world these days, when it comes to the ‘one eyed babysitters’ that make up the 21st Century landscape.  Do they let their kids sit in front of a computer ‘all day’ at home or at the local Internet Café?  Do they tell their children they are busy while they are front of a television or computer, when asked if they can play a round of Mahjong, Chess, or Checkers?  I would like to think that if they are serious about getting their children ready for the ‘working world’, they would indulge them with some real ‘game time’.

Sorry, the Board Game

'Chinese' Checkers

1970's version of Clue, the Board Game

1980's version of Battleship, the Board Game

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs

Flowers

Shake hands

Ray
Like 0 Share
8.03K

Report

Comment Comment (7 comments)

Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-1-4 16:37
The Internet access has been the sheer nightmare of most concerned parents in China. Kids must use Internet for homework and discussions with other kids. But they could easily spend the whole day in front of screen. Figuring out the "right" amount of access has been such a tormenting exercise to most parents.
Reply Report tradervic 2014-1-5 11:30
Dr.Bill.Shen: The Internet access has been the sheer nightmare of most concerned parents in China. Kids must use Internet for homework and discussions with other ki ...
Want to limit the issues?  Try this simple method - keep the computer next to the television in the family room, and have no others in the house.  I know, I know, 'smart phones' are an issue.  However, if the two major items are managed, both by word and example by the parents, then the kids should not so 'plugged in' when it comes to the world around them.
Reply Report wingless 2014-1-5 13:42
I wonder if it is a boon or a bane - the introduction of computers.
Reply Report Dr.Bill.Shen 2014-1-5 14:42
tradervic: Want to limit the issues?  Try this simple method - keep the computer next to the television in the family room, and have no others in the house.  I k ...
How do you deal with multiple computers? Nowadays, kids have laptops or iPads. They just tuck themselves somewhere and they are on. The ideal solution might be Internet provider can program the daily service time based on the requests of parents. Otherwise, I think  binge gaming becomes a major issue.
Reply Report tradervic 2014-1-7 03:56
Dr.Bill.Shen: How do you deal with multiple computers? Nowadays, kids have laptops or iPads. They just tuck themselves somewhere and they are on. The ideal solution ...
Same way my parents dealt with my sister and I - one computer for the all the children in the house, period.  Mom and Dad may have additional toys, but their were not accessible to the kids.  Mind you, my sister and I were of different generations that our children, but the principle stays the same.

As for the iPADs and other 'mobile devices' - as long as Mom and Dad pay the phone bill - that solves that 'loophole'.  Still can get a 'regular cell phone' for the kids, but no data plans.
Reply Report tradervic 2014-1-7 03:58
wingless: I wonder if it is a boon or a bane - the introduction of computers.
Same could be asked about all sorts of technology - starting with fire.  
Reply Report wingless 2014-1-8 13:47
How absolutely true.

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


tradervic

China's Eccentric 'Uncle Laowai' from Chicago, IL

Album

Recent comments

Star blogger

Anming

4124

views

Maierwei

2603

views

财神

4580

views

Most Viewed

Room

208

views

Most commented

Room

0

comments

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.