The Scorpios

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Nostalgia revisited

It was a nostalgic moment for me when I got in my hands the Tinkle holiday special, a magazine that I had been addicted to in my childhood.
I remember the eagerness with which I would await Dad coming back from his tour because he would almost always get us one tinkle and another random Amar Chitra Katha.

So as I leafed through the pages in anticipation, I notice that the fonts are finer and somehow they look larger, more artistic and cleaner than what I remember they were. However each story seems to be having a unique font. The Greek story had a Greek looking one and the vampire story had a scary word bubble outline.
The pages have a glossy finish but I do miss the musty matt paper feel of the older magazines.

While Suppandi and Tantri Mantri seem to look the same as always the recent illustrations seem to have a sharpness about them.

Each story has a note at the top of the page with quotes from the author and illustrator which really gives a perspective to the inspiration behind the story.

I loved the Idea Thief story. It talks of finding inspirations or muse at different points of life for inspiring creativity and the importance of gaining life experience for the same.

I also found the crime scene very interesting in which one has to solve the crime using a set of given alibis and clues.

The magazine is also peppered with word games and puzzles that provide a fun filled and stimulating break between stories.

Title- Tinkle Holiday Special
Price- Rs 100
Publisher- Amar Chitra Katha

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rubik's Cube

40 years of Rubik's cube and counting today.

Funny that an object that was created by Erno Rubika professor of architecture as a teaching tool to help his students understand 3D objects has become a challenging toy in its own right. His actual purpose was solving the structural problem of moving the parts independently without the entire mechanism falling apart. He did not realize that he had created a puzzle until the first time he scrambled his new Cube and then tried to restore it.
It is said he took an hour to put them back together!

Today speed cubers solve them faster. 

Yesterday I taught the kids how to solve a single face of 2X2 cube. They would be pleasantly surprised when sometimes accidentally they solved two faces.

I taught them the principles of face of a 3 x 3 cube and we will be getting on soon I hope. 

At this moment, it is just an interesting toy for them to fiddle with rather than a challenge to solve.

I have spent hours trying to figure the movements out though following the algorithms on the internet I have been able to solve them.
However not mastered in the true sense.
There are multiple software available in the internet for cube games. 
And multiple puzzles like cube race which teh kids had but I never got to see the pieces.

I bought the rubik's snake and a prism which is like a showpiece and I dare not do the mirror cube which are different sized pieces or the cubes which are more than 3 x 3... 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Your Turn Now

The fact is that we all have a well of kindness inside of us.We just have to remember to use it. And when we do it, triggers a chain of happiness that transforms everyone it touches.

And how do we always remember to do it? This is where we use the Your Turn Now blue card which passes on from person to person as they unleash a chain of good deeds like a game of tag.

A sort of pay it forward whereby you do not pay back the person who did a good turn to you but you repay him only by doing a good deed to someone else. And thus do not be surprised that one day the good turn comes back to you and you are in possession of the blue card yet again. And thus this goes on and on.

The book not only talks of acts of kindness. That may save lives like that of an epileptic person who was struggling on a platform, but it also stresses upon the importance of everyday good deeds, like offering your seat to an elderly passenger or offering a glass of buttermilk to an exhausted postman.

The YTM international movement was started in 2009 by Rushabh Turakhia. The movement spreads smiles and cheers across the globe. On three years it has touched 90000 people each of them doing generous acts beyond their imagination. The movement has touched corporates via CSR initiative that helps in building a happy and unified team.
YTN has also been introduced in many schools.

A lovely concept that every child must be initiated into. Children love to emulate what they have read. And it is important that we drive home this point into them by re reading this book to them.

The book believes in walking the talk and comes with a supply of cards attached to the back of the book so that the reader can start their own YTN initiative and thus touching upon more lives than they can imagine.

You can be a part of YTN by sending an SMS to +919029602897

You can be featured in the next book by writing your YTN story to

There is a very creative YTN calendar that gives ideas to the children to do little acts of kindness to people that touch our lives and also worksheets with YTN exercise.

Like saying hello to the lift man or giving a bottle of cold water to the traffic policeman, helping the aunty carry shopping bags to her house, buy a cake for the maid's son and give away books and pencils to the children of your iron wallah.

Can you think of some acts of kindness that you can do in your day to day life?
Can you write them down in the spaces earmarked in the book?

Title- Your Turn Now
Author- Lubaina Bandukwala
Concept- Rushabh Turakhia
Illustrated by - Shraddha Pimputkar
Price- Rs 199
Publisher- Funokplease
Age-8 +

Number March

Number March is a delightful book that takes a sing song approach to learning numbers and their related significance in different objects.

From the number of prongs in a fork to the number of sides to a coin to number of hands in a clock to the number of legs in an animal.

Each number is represented by a panorama of illustrations that are half hidden. The child is expected to decipher what the illustration may be, perhaps the five vowels or the six balls on an over or eight planets in the solar system. Forgotten games and concepts floated in front of my eyes as I noted the eight squares of a hopscotch or eleven muscles of our body, I learnt something fascinating, that a pitta bird has nine colours!

The book ends saying
our refrain ends at 12
But that does not apply to you

And it encourages the reader to observe and keep learning the various number facts.

Number March operates at many levels.

One is the simple number series that it allows the child to anticipate as each page turns.
Second is the skills of detection and extrapolation where the child is expected. To guess what each illustration may be depending upon the number they are representing. Third is to do with memorising a catchy rhyme and last but not the least is to think and talk about many more objects that represent that number. A methodology that can be done with children that are older than three.

Title- Number March
Author- Nalini Sorensen
Illustrated by - Shraddha Pimputkar
Price- Rs 199
Publisher- Funokplease
Age - 3 +

Friday, May 16, 2014

idli competition

Whoever finishes last has to clean up so the last morsel got stuffed. Looks like both had the same idea.
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A cool site

Came across

A cool children's mag online
Its really cool, especially the videos on various themes based on science like  germination, Continental drift. There are some fun ones like how to draw a dog also and each page has educational stuff as soon as you land on it.

For example I clicked the GOTO button on the top right corner and it led me to their videos page

As i scrolled the page I saw a section with facts on fingerprints. It was like a scroll along bar.
There were jokes, quizes and facts

There is a video on the History of the Indian Rupee and another one on facts about bumps and bruises.
Unlimited topics I must say.

The only thing is you need to register and I did not really do it. So I wonder what more goodies await if I take the trouble to register!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mitsubhishi outlander

Mechanix car....he was very surprised that he had to dismantle another creation before making this one. Claims this is mitsubhishi outlander.
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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Puzzle Mania

The Chinese Puzzles are solved but not conquered.
And so are the two by two and three by three rubik's cubes.
The prism, I am scared to risk.
The snake twister is simply fun.

All bought at Connexions.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Puzzling Times

We recently bought online the rubik's 2x2 cube. It looks deceptively simple but I am still trying to work it out. I have solved at least one face and T shape of the 3x3 cube intuitively but no amount of intuition seems to work in the two by two one. It needs algorithm. Good old algorithm which needs to be memorised. Strangely while imitation three by three pieces are available dirt cheap at even Rs 20,  this one is more than ten times the cost. 
Watch this space for updates.

We also got the rubik's snake which is a chain of prisms that can be turned 360 degrees along one plane and twisted into various interesting shapes. An interesting toy which doesn't seem to be as much available as one would like it to be considering it is also a great one for stress relieving. 
I wouldn't mind having one at my desk....this or the Bucky ball...instead of having a stress ball. 

The three by three yet needs to be mastered. 

Friday, May 02, 2014

Bucky balls
Check the above toy...(not)
I love it.
Saw this at the science museum Singapore.

But worried the kids may swallow it by accident.
These are very high power magnets and can be made into various shapes.

A great stress reliever I guess.
Check out. There are some cool stuff.

I also love the Chinese metal interlocking puzzles which I failed to find!! They are sold wholesale in China I guess.

Sent from my iPad