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Play to learn

entertainment Updated: Jul 13, 2010 14:08 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Monopoly and checkers may be classics, but this latest series of board games offer Mumbai’s kids more relatable inspirations like malls, ATMs and shopping. Developed by Candy Cane Club, these games are designed to increase educational value while connecting with children. What’s more, they are completely Mumbai centric.

Monopoly"These days, the only things kids are interested in are online games. I hope to re-introduce kids to board games," says Vidhi Mehra, founder of Candy Cane Club.

Relatable games
Mehra came up with the idea of conceptualizing these games after she noticed lack of relatable ones for her own two young children. She says, “Though simple and educational, these games teach children to tackle with issues they find in their immediate surroundings.”

The target age group is four years onwards, but includes adults as well. In projects of the Candy Cane Club, Mehra comes up with the idea and a team looks after actual implementation and design. The team also works extensively with children in the target age groups to fine-tune games.

So what can be turned into a board game? While the emphasis remains on mental growth and increasing interaction between players to aid in the development of social, emotional and creative skills, any idea has the potential to be turned into a game. “We look at day-to-day happenings and try to generate ideas that flow in tandem with them,” says Mehra.

For example, Shopping Village is played by giving players a face, which they have to complete by buying the relevant clothes as they go around the board. The kids are expected to start off by withdrawing money from the ATM. They then visit malls in search of clothes and accessories that fit into their budget.

Inculcating values
Each player starts with a certain amount of money, which they get to spend on either clothes or food and restrooms. They replenish their exhausting resources by stopping at an ATM. The player who finishes dressing up their character first is the winner.

The game has two variations with different designs for boys and girls. Mehra hopes to inculcate the value of money in kids via this game. “They learn about spending power,” she adds.

Mehra has also conducted life-size board game events where kids have been characters in the game itself. Mehra says, “The response to these events has been good and the children have gone home happy.”

The future looks good too. A school is currently in talks with Mehra to introduce these board games as part of their curriculum. In the coming months, Mehra also plans start a board game club.