Singapore government announced “Circuit Breaker” measures in a bid to stop the covid19 or to “flatten the curve”. People working in non-essential businesses are to work from home from 7th April and board games publishing companies fall into such category. Home based learning (“HBL”) is to commence from 8th April, giving parents only 1 day to settle and prepare all the necessary equipment.
My elder kid has been hoarding my laptop for her HBL, forcing me to reschedule my work hours around her inflexible timetable. My preschool kid, on the other hand, finishes daily school work in a matter of minutes and happily plays with her toys for a few days, until she starts to get bored.
Then, she starts lamenting “What can I do?”. To stop her incessant chanting so I could stay sane, I manage to find some jigsaw puzzles, both for herself and for me. We challenge each other and she almost invariably wins, much to her delight, as the number of pieces of her puzzles is at most 300 while mine are all 1000 pieces. I also prepare plenty of art supplies for her to doodle or colour. Not to mention many books in the book shelf for her reading pleasure.
The cycle repeats itself a few days later, however, after she has exhausted all her jigsaw puzzles and runs out of ideas to draw or colour. “What can I do?” she exclaims. An eureka moment comes as I look at my collection of board games. They can be used to entertain her! Citadels; San Juans; Code Names, Taboo… all too complex for her. Even the company games such as Wongamania and Cryptocurrency are beyond her comprehension too.
And so, the curating of board games to play with her begins. Very thankful I have always enjoyed board games and own quite a few. Over the next few days, we play many games and several times for the games that she revels in. Scrabble; Monopoly Deal; Debtzilla; Sushi Go; Exploding Kittens, Cluedo; Harry Potter and the Battle of Hogwarts etc etc etc. While playing, I realise the kid would ask many questions during each game “Is this a complete set?”; “Is zin a word?” or “What’s Insurance card for?” and so on.
It dawns upon me that other than keeping the kiddo entertained, each game can be used to satisfy her curiosity and teach her at the same time. Thus, Sushi Go is used to teach her addition and even multiplication for the wasabi and sushi combo; Scrabble to teach her new words of course; Harry Potter and the Battle of Hogwarts on the benefits of cooperation and how each person (like the hero) has his / her own strengths (powers) and weaknesses; Cluedo on deduction and Debtzilla on savings and interest and insurance.
Most of the times, the challenge for parents is to think of real world topics and to explain them in such a way that a preschooler could grasp the concepts and to understand them fully; however, with board games, this becomes more palatable to the young mind with the visuals and the specific situations that arise during the games.
At this juncture, it is uncertain how long the circuit measures will last, as we read with apprehension at the numbers each day. Nevertheless, it is with relief that the staying at home presents a chance for us to bond with our family members when usually, we hardly see one another due to our busy and hectic schedules. Board games are certainly a good way to create happy and good lasting memories in the kids.