Board games in Schools / Time is precious

Time.

Time is a precious commodity in schools, and in life. So often we feel rushed off our feet, never pausing to breath, bundling from one day to the next desperately hoping to keep up.

Time.

Lockdown and the closure of schools has brought with it numerous challenges, both mentally and physically, but there are some glimmers of light through the overcast skies. One of these rays has been time. I have been working at my school, delivering online lessons, yet I still have regular lunch and break duties, and spend Thursday afternoons working directly with the vulnerable and key worker students who are in school. It is the highlight of the week. Actual interaction! In a desperate attempt to minimise on-screen time for the students (and myself!!), we have been playing a lot of table tennis, and playing games outside. However, the weather has not always been kind these last few weeks…enter board games.

I love board games, and started bringing in a few of my own each week to play with the students in during wet play and during our Thursday afternoons. Carcassone, Hive, and Azul all went down well (our Principal is an Azul enthusiast!), and the students started bringing in their own family favourites; Monopoly Go, Forbidden Island and Bananagrams all saw plenty of table time. Even when the sun began to shine again, the requests began to be for indoor games, rather than outdoor games.

Yet, we started to exhaust our small collection. Quite out of the blue, I saw an advert for Coiled Spring Games on Facebook, and thought their collection of simple, colourful and fast games would be perfect. I chanced my arm and emailed asking if they would be able to donate any spares for the students to play. I expected nothing back. Lo and behold, a reply. Of course, it said, happy to help. A few days later, a huge box turned up. And I mean huge. Like, moving house box big. It was chock full of ‘ding and dent’ games, but they were in perfect working order. Kingdomino, Sushi Go, Go Nuts for Donuts, Dragonwood, Harry Potter 3D puzzles and more. Sushi Go has become a firm favourite, and I have played so much Kingdomino in recent weeks I fear I may judge the value of everything by how many crowns it has on it from now on. The games went down so well that staff have been borrowing them at weekends to introduce to their own families. Coiled Spring’s generosity was truly touching.

Board games have filled our days with colour, when the world outside has seemed so bleak. The students have gone off and strategised between break and lunch about whether it is best to go for the Sushimi or Maki Rolls in Sushi Go, or whether it is better to get lots of low value dominoes, or wait and go for the smaller number of more valuable ones. Education at its finest, totally student driven.

Board games are for everyone and can offer enjoyment and a blessed escape from the world around us with life, colour, diversity and friendly competition. I am grateful to take part in a hobby that brings people together, when the world seems so desperate to push us apart.

Cheers,

Tom

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