5 great ways to play and learn with your kids

A post by Maya.

Education is all about learning while playing. The word education has many listed meanings, but the one I like and believe in is this – ‘an enlightening experience’. The young of all creatures learn through play. Even before we had our first kid, my wife and I had decided, we would make time to play ‘with’ our ‘young’!

Once we made the time, the rest has been a blast. The number of players involved keeps morphing with friends and grandparents joining in.


I do it like this!” by Julie Jordan Scott is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here are a few of our favorite group play activities:

  1. The first has to be ‘Group Painting’ – the messiest, ‘funnest’ and most colorful of all our activities. We start with a large sheet of sturdy paper. We either tape it at a child-friendly level on the wall or lay it out on a large surface. Then we take turns to paint. Our youngest always paints the Sun with nice thick sunrays. As it gets more complex, we suggest things to each other. We leave our old paintings up until we have to bring down an old one to put up a new one!
  1. Our word games leave us in splits. We start with a word and then the next person has to say a word with the last sound. Our kids sometimes make up words and give them hilarious meanings. They even insist on using them for a few days!
  1. ‘I spy’ games are the loudest! We play this in the largest and most cluttered of rooms with the rule that the ‘spied’ thing should be at least partially visible. E.g.: One of us says ‘I spy a yellow and green ball’. As soon as its spotted, the spotter gets to go ‘I spy…’ next.
  1. With the virtual games world encroaching into our real word, my wife and I took a conscious decision to introduce our children to that world, but at our pace. This way we are preparing them to be safe out there. We have always used safe sites to play toddler games, art games and other kids games.
  1. Lastly here’s a game we play at home, in the car, at the park and just about anywhere – counting game. While we are in the car, our older one might call out ‘3 fat clouds’, then the younger one will call out ‘three people’ and then the older one goes, ‘no, four!’. Our younger one loves the story of the ‘sillies’ and keeps missing out on counting herself in!

Well, these are just a few of our games. We also play board games and outdoor games. But that’s for another post! Would love to hear how other families play and spend time together!


Games from foreign shores

We grew up hearing stories from our grandfather about his days outside the United States. His days in exotic places like India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Australia, Malaysia etc. Being an observant man, he noticed the local people with a keen eye. The clothes they wore, the way they carried themselves, their games and whole bunch of other stuff. What we always loved were his conversations about games played in other countries. They sounded alien and fascinating. So here are some games I remember from various countries-


By 灿烂的黎明 (http://cc.nphoto.net/view/2008/12443.shtml) [CC BY 2.5 cn (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/cn/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

1. China: Jianzi (chinese hacky sack) and kongzhu (chinese yo-yo),

2. India: Ghilli-danda  and kabaddi


By Tieu ngao giang ho1970 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3. Vietnam: Ô ăn quan

4. Malaysia: Batu Seremban