What can you buy your kids this Christmas?


iPhone, iThis, iThat… our kids are so glued to these damn devices, they’ve probably forgotten how to play with real objects anymore. And that’s such a shame because in Singapore, we’ve come up with some pretty imaginative (and cheap) games to entertain ourselves in the past. Can’t let these games go out with the tides of time can we?

So come this Christmas, here are a couple ideas that are fun and free for the cheapskate parents amongst you. Tell your children that you want to “give them a piece of nostalgia” to play with.


1) Rubiks Cube

Who knew that  a boring old cube with colours could drive you up the wall? I know of kids who can solve this in seconds.




2) Five Stones

Why is it not 6 or 4 stones – we’ll never know. For some reason I seem to have the impression that this was predominately a “girls game”. The only reason that the boys were around was because they want to get close to some girl they really like and smell their pheromones.



3) String Game

Yes. Once upon a time we were happy with just a string. Just string could give us hours and hours of pleasure. Today that string better come with an Xbox attached to the end of it.



4) Rubber Band Shapes

Not just string – but even rubber bands. You can pull them, make shapes out of them, do magic tricks with them. Smell them. Lick them. Shoot family and friends with them. Oh yeah, they’re pretty useful in holding things together also.



5) Ji Gu Ba – A more sophisticated “Scissors Paper Stone”

Forgive the vulgar sounding name, but big, big decisions have been made by this simple tool of arbitration.



6) Continuity Game

Remember how this was played? It is a play on word continuity.

Here’s how it goes.

i) Person A says a word – any word. Example: “Monkey”
ii) Person B continues by saying a word that has to start with the sound of the last syllable said by Person A. The last syllable of Monkey is “key” so an appropriate sounding word could be “Kilogram”
iii) Person A then has to choose a word starting with the sound of “gram”. Example: Grammy
iv) And it continues until one person forfeits. Or tries to come up with some stupid invented word that no one has heard of.


7) Gratitude Game

This is a “feel good game” to encourage the feelings of gratitude and appreciation.
It starts with Person A asking the question: What are you grateful for today? Person B then replies with some elaboration, eg: “I am grateful/thankful for fresh air to breathe and non hazy air. Compared to last year in June, its nice to enjoy being outdoors!”
Then Person B asks the same question and so on and so forth. *yawn*



8) Flag Eraser Wrestling

The ultimate game of theft and hijack. You put both erasers on the table. Start flipping them towards each other attempting to pin the other one down. The subordinate eraser has to be given away as spoils of war. The little flags just make it more fun – feels like you’re capturing small countries.



9) Tic Tac Toe

Well, you can’t actually buy a tic-tac-toe game as a Christmas present. But you can buy some cheap paper and pencil and some written instructions and disappoint your children with “a game of stratagem that would thrill you hours on end”.


10) Zero Point

Rubber bands in abundance? Want to see some good ol’ injuries? Training to be an acrobat? For some reason, the boys in my school really loved hanging around the girls whilst they play this game. In their skirts.









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