Board games get boredom-busting boost

Vickie Schroder (left) and Grace Patu, both staff members at the charitable Mount Cargill Trust, fill their trolleys with games, to give to those living in its eight residential homes for people with intellectual and learning disabilities to help fill in
Vickie Schroder (left) and Grace Patu, both staff members at the charitable Mount Cargill Trust, fill their trolleys with games, to give to those living in its eight residential homes for people with intellectual and learning disabilities to help fill in the time over the next four weeks. Photo: Christine O'Connor
Board games and puzzles have suddenly become popular again, in a bid to beat boredom following the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Monday announcement of an impending lockdown to fight Covid-19.

There were empty shelves in Dunedin’s Kmart yesterday where the old-school games once stood, as shoppers zoomed in on the children’s games, arts and crafts and books.

Among the shoppers were Grace Patu and Vickie Schroder, staff at the Mount Cargill Trust, who provide residential care and support to children, young people and adults with intellectual and learning disabilities.

Trust manager Jane Booker said it had been a part of staff’s role to provide emotional support and reassurance and that included providing people with “meaningful things to do during the next four weeks”.

“We have been really impressed with how people living within this service have taken on board the hand-washing message and they are currently in good spirits,” she said.

A list of games had been made by the trust’s occupational therapist last week, but when the news of the unprecedented lockdown came, the pressure had been on to provide those who live in its eight residential homes with entertainment and educational games.

They managed to get their hands on 25 board games, 8 outside games, 12 books, 10 Xbox games and 110 arts and crafts items.

She said the outdoor games would help to ensure they had a good amount of fresh air during the four weeks, and she hoped it would be enough to keep everyone occupied during the difficult time ahead.

“We anticipate there will be big excitement when they receive the gifts.”

Helen Dunbar, of Cromwell, had not been so lucky.

She said it had been a “futile attempt” when she went into Paper Plus yesterday to purchase sudoku books, and there had not been any left.

John Brinssell, who owns Paper Plus Books, in the Dunedin Golden Centre, confirmed there had been high demand for all indoor games, including sudoku books, card games, and chess sets, as well as materials to create art.

The shop had been ‘‘just about flat-out’’, and the higher demand had ‘‘happened over a very short time’’ – within an hour of Ms Ardern’s mid-afternoon announcement.

The higher-than-usual level of demand was similar to the lead-in to Christmas, he said.

There had also been a high level of demand for books of all kinds, including thrillers, biographies, and sports books.

“They choose a wider spectrum than 20 years ago,” he said.

“People are looking for more than just one [item].”

Otago Chess Club junior play director Quentin Johnson said the stay-home "lockdown" was likely to stimulate greater interest in playing chess within families, but had resulted in the closure of chess clubs throughout the country, including the Otago Chess Club, which had closed on Monday, in keeping with Government safety requirements.

molly.houseman@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment

Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter - yours. For more than 150 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is now more important than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by subscribing to our print or digital editions, or by making a donation.

Become a Supporter