The Jack-O'-Lantern Grin

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Jack-O-Lantern” by BarbaraALane is licensed under CC by 2.0

The best marker which indicates Halloween is just around the corner? Spooky jack-o’-lanterns burning bright on neighborhood porches, with their evil and crooked grins getting all the more sinister as day turns into night.

It is fun creating your own personalized pumpkin carving design – it could be a really petrifying grin with sharp and pointed teeth, or a friendly old welcoming grin of sorts. Talking about grins on jack-o’-lanterns, here is a fun game for kids to play this Halloween.

All of us have time and again played the ubiquitous ‘pin the tail on the donkey’. Well, why not try something like ‘pin the grin on the jack-o’-lantern’ this spooky season? Simply get hold of a large piece of paper and draw a big circular jack-o’-lantern on it, replete with eyes and nose but minus the mouth. Now blindfold the kids and ask them to stick a piece of black re-stickable tape where they assume the mouth of the jack-o’-lantern to be.

Simple, spooky and fun!

The Importance of Parent-Child Play

Playing comes naturally to children – it’s their way of knowing and discovering more about the world and people around them.

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Boy” by OpenClipart-Vectors is licensed under CC by 2.0

Play therapist and author of Playful Parenting, Lawrence J. Cohen, put it thus: “Play allows parents to enter a child’s world, on the child’s terms, in order to foster closeness, confidence and connection. Playing is how children show themselves to us. It’s also a way to be close and to reconnect after closeness has been severed (by an argument or conflict). The more we join them in their world, the more cooperative they will be when we drag them along to ours”.

Be it multiplayer racing video games like Mario Kart, the guessing and drawing word game Pictionary or simply a game of hide and seek, you playing with your kids amounts to them getting the message that you are being supportive of how your child thinks. Spend the next weekend getting competitive together playing the Super Smash Bros or just the board game Monopoly on the living room carpet. It’s the best way you can bond with your kids.

Mobile Gaming – The ‘In-Thing’

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Smartphone” by kaboompics is licensed under CC by 2.0

Once upon a time the mobile phone was a relatively bulky instrument one used to lug around in order to keep in touch with near and dear ones. Next came the era of sleek and compact phones which had a host of new features – short-message-services, music players and eventually a good quality camera. And now, when carrying a mobile phone in your pocket means you are veritably connected to the world through an internet connection and a computer, how can mobile gaming be far behind?

The gaming market as a whole is estimated to be worth approximately $99 billion today, with mobile games accounting for a major chunk with $36 billion. No doubt the smartphone has evolved from a basic entertainment tool to an advanced gaming platform. What’s more, surprisingly enough, a whopping 43 per cent mobile gamers are – hold your breath – parents! This was concluded through Facebook data collected and analyzed from 12 different countries.

Move over the erstwhile Nintendo Entertainment Systems and even the PlayStation devices; if the growing trend is anything to go by, one should be playing the mobile games based on popular series like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. And of course, there is always the ubiquitous Pokemon Go for when you’re on the go.

Need more game ideas, parents? Ask your kids; they still comprise the majority when it comes to mobile gamers.

A Fun Outdoor Online Game for Kids

Pokemon” by Tumisu is licensed under CC by 2.0

Well, online games that made your kids sit indoors all day with their noses glued to their tablet screens are now passé; Pokemon Go is the new extremely popular game these days that is taking the world by storm. Here are three reasons why you should be playing this fun outdoor online game with your kids:

• First and foremost, it encourages you to get up, get outside and get walking, since you can only find your Pokemon if you head outdoors.
• You get to spend some quality time with your kids, which otherwise might not have been possible. Getting to be on the same page as them, even if only for a while, is a big reason you should be playing the game along with them.
• Last but not the least, it is FUN! Sharing a common interest, finding your way around exploring new places and of course, getting hold of the generally evasive Pikachu can be a fun-filled experience in itself.

Need we say more?

A Robot Buddy that Plays Games with Kids

What would you say about a robot that plays games with your kids to keep them gainfully occupied through the holidays as well as helps them develop a personality over time? Come October and you’ll get just that.

Image courtesy: TechCrunch

Anki, the popular artificial intelligence robotics firm which is behind the launch of this new robot called Cozmo meant to interact with kids, had this to say: “He can detect different people and remember who he’s met. If you play with him every single day, he’s going to be much more interactive and happy to see you.”

Cozmo can be brave, calm, confident, excited and happy, all at different times. It is capable of recognizing its user. It’s akin to how a child actually feels over a period of time – cheerful while you’re playing with it, sulking if you ignore it or throw it in a remote corner.

Surprisingly, the robot is just about the size of a box of playing cards and fits within the palm of one’s hand. At first glance, it’ll probably give you the impression of being a miniature moon rover or some such object. It is priced at $180. Any takers?


I am an assistant teacher and my aim is to curate unique learning tips and techniques customized towards kids.

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