The Periodic Table Battleship Game

Most of us have played Battleship at home at some point in our lives – the opposing player has a fleet of ships that you need to destroy, with you calling ‘shots’ at your opponent’s ships. A homeschooling mom of four kids, Karyn Tripp, who has been a teacher to her children since more than seven years came up with an ingenious idea – she converted the periodic table into a Battleship game of sorts. Here’s how she went about it.

Image courtesy: Bored Panda

Four identical copies of the periodic table were printed out and the rows labeled in an alphabetical order. Gluing each of the four to hard re-foldable cardboards or file folders, the tables took on a laptop-type of form which could be opened and pinned together at the top while playing in order to create ‘barriers’. The rules are simple: Players play by calling out coordinates, after circling rows of two, three, four and five elements to mark the positions of their ‘ships’. Whoever finds the elements first, circles it and wins the game.

“I came up with the idea because we play Battleship a lot at our house. I was studying chemistry with my kids and we were trying to think of a fun way to memorize the elements. So it just came to me!” says Karyn.

Who could’ve imagined something as exciting as Battleship and as dry as the periodic table could go so well together?

Easter Month Activity Ideas for Kids

The festive Easter fever still hasn’t died down and there are remnants of the occasion which keep popping up at home here and there – just last night I found half a decorated egg shell under the coffee table in the living room. For those of you whose kids are still reveling in the Easter holiday spirit, here are a couple of fun activity ideas for the remaining part of the month.
Basket” by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC by 2.0

• Design a different colored Easter egg for each day of the month.
• Help make simple recipes for snacks. For instance, simple mini meals like tomato and cucumber sandwiches along with lemonade.
• Learn how to draw an Easter bunny. Once you’re good at it, draw it neatly on a large-sized chart paper and put it up in your room or on the door at the entrance.
• Play fun games like Easter bingo together with the entire family. Simply print out a template of the game from any of the free resources available online.
• Watch a couple of fun Easter movies like It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown or Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies and have a good laugh.

So long, till next year!

Homework vs. Homeschooling

There are several reasons why parents are increasingly turning to homeschooling when it comes to educating their kids. One, those who wish their kids to be imparted a rigorous education need to more often than not turn to private schools instead of public schools, an option that is not monetarily feasible in a majority of the cases. Two, homeschooling allows a child to blossom as per his strengths and weaknesses – curricula can be tweaked at will depending on the child’s proficiencies in a certain area, and everything is not just about learning by rote. Three (and this is becoming a big issue with parents and students worldwide today), the increasing burden of homework on kids is considered to be more detrimental than beneficial for their overall development.

Board” by geralt is licensed under CC by 2.0

Experts believe that instead of sitting indoors for hours on end, poring over worksheets and math problems and what-not, children will be better equipped to tackle situations if they spend the same time outdoors in a sport, or even reading stories of their choice. Those who advocate the fact that homeschooled kids are not socially well-equipped, well, that simply doesn’t hold true in this case. Children, who spend the first half or so of their day being homeschooled in the curriculum best suited to them, then spend their early evenings with peers running and playing games are in no way lesser academically than traditionally schooled kids burdened with a humongous amount of homework on a daily basis. After all, have a look at these numbers; don’t they speak for themselves?

'Contagious' Personality Traits in Kids

Behind the parents stands the school, and behind the teacher the home. True, definitely. But surprisingly, children even as young as preschool tend to get influenced by their peer group to a great extent. A recent study carried out by the Michigan State University and published in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has established what we have assumed all along – it is not just genes that do their bit in shaping a child’s personality; the environment and people around them have a considerable effect on how they turn out to be as individuals too.
Play” by johnhain is licensed under CC by 2.0

Jennifer Watling Neal, co-investigator of the study and associate professor of psychology put it like this: “Our finding, that personality traits are ‘contagious’ among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can’t be changed. This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back.”

So while parents like us might try our best to inculcate the values of, say, patience in our preschoolers, don’t be taken aback if your little one turns out to be exactly the opposite. It’s probably just their 3-or-4-year-old peers unknowingly acting as change agents and being impatient around them :)

The Benefits of Keeping Pets

Pets are akin to family. In fact, pets are family in a way. Be it a furry cat rubbing her face against yours, a warm puppy with those beseeching eyes that warm the cockles of one’s heart, or just a tiny little goldfish swimming around in its aquarium, once a pet enters your home, it becomes a member of the family. Agreed, it is fun to keep pets at home – especially if you have kids to play with them – but then it is also a big responsibility, more so if it is one of those friendly four-legged creatures. My kids have been pestering me for a doggy pet, but till I’m actually ready for it, I guess they’ll just have to make do with their pet games and feed their virtual pets. My better half is all for it, but I’m not too sure… yet.

Chihuahua” by Teerasuwat is licensed under CC by 2.0

The husband suggested that I should read more about the pros and cons of having a pet dog at home the other day and the fact is that the pros did seem to far outweigh the cons. This post is perhaps my way of trying to convince myself to take the plunge. Here are the two points which stood out over the umpteen others in the favor of pets.

Companionship & Responsibility
Pets offer a special kind of companionship to kids, which is a step ahead of the companions their peer group and friends are, since pets generally accompany kids all the time they are at home. In turn, children tend to become more responsible when they have a pet to look after. Sheryl Dickstein, Director of Humane Education at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had this to say: “As kids age and take on more of the care for the pet, it helps to build self-confidence in them.” The feeling of being ‘grown-up’ enough to be entrusted with a pet can do wonders to the self-confidence in a child, in turn inculcating a sense of responsibility and care in them towards the creatures.

Building Family Bonds
Walking the dog can be a wonderful way to bond with young kids, with the leash in your child’s hand and her feeling she’s in control. We have neighbors whose weekend ritual is to give their dog a thorough bath in the garden – each family member has to do his or her job – one runs the water in the tub, the other puts in shampoo, and it takes the rest of the two members to coax the poor dog who hates baths to gingerly step into the tub. I must admit, sometimes I do envy the fun they seem to be having going about this weekly chore of sorts; there’s laughter, screams, splashes and bonhomie all around. Pets somehow force the family members to do nothing except spend some time playing around with them doing nothing; and it is this ‘nothing’ which is pretty hard to come by in these rushed times, which brings the family members closer together doing something they love.

Gosh, I read through what I have written above and seem to be almost head over heels in the same league as the kids and their daddy! If any of you (who don’t already have pets of course) are still in the mood for dilly-dallying or aren’t particularly convinced, go through the results of this study recently conducted in the University of Cambridge in the UK. It categorically states:
‘Children reported having stronger relationships with their pets than their siblings, as well as lower levels of conflict – these results were particularly seen in kids with dogs.'

Who knows, my kids might just miraculously start bonding more with each other if they have an affectionate pet to look after between the two of them!



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

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