We all play bingo for pleasure. For some people, like callers and chat room moderators it’s a job as well. But what of those who use Bingo for worthy causes and therapies?
Here’s an example. In a United States Minneapolis suburb there is a Veterans Home. The Home exists to oversee and guarantee high-quality health care for veterans and their dependents in its care. Recently they were advertising on the internet through a charity called Hands On Twin Cities for volunteers to set up and run, a monthly Bingo session at the Home. This meant preparing the cards and the numbers to be called (there are amateur kits available for this, as well as children’s game versions), teaching the game to those who may not be familiar with it, or who have learning difficulties, and then helping the players where necessary during the game itself.
It was realised that Bingo can be a great leveller, binder and communicator across all types of people. That included those who had suffered physical and or mental damage resident in the Home. So the able-bodied and less fortunate were able to all join in an event with a common aim- to have fun and maybe win something! I will try to follow up and find out how the sessions are going in the Home. But I’m absolutely sure these sorts of Bingo events are taking place in British Homes, Hospitals, Care and Day Centres too! I shall look out for adverts for volunteers in my local area.
On the educational front, there was an English Speaking Language (ESL) teacher in Taipei who found herself with 15 minutes left at the end of a class. She used it to teach the students Bingo, and is now recommending it be used more widely as a valid ESL teaching aid. The combination of fun, speaking English and getting familiar with numbers from 1-90, with a small prize at the end, was found to be a winner amongst the students. As an added teaching incentive, each class was encouraged to see if they could complete the game more quickly each time they played it, which required them to become more adept at hearing and recognising the numbers and marking them off! The classes, by all account, became quite competitive in trying to beat their former completion time record!
All well and good, but I wondered if the teacher/caller tried to throw in a few well known caller names for the numbers? That could really confuse students who are learning English trying to work out why Number 9 is Doctor’s Orders, and what on earth is “Legs 11”!