Monday, June 15, 2009

Kids Games: Würfel-Zwerge

children's games candyland, dwarves and dice

This charming little kids game, Dwarves and Dice, is quite popular with my four year old, so, I thought I could share it here... and hopefully get fellow moms to let me know about other simple kids games that is a hit with their little ones. Also known as Le jeu des nains (French) or Würfel-Zwerge (German) the game is made by Selecta.

It is a very simple game: 56 little wooden cards have pictures of dwarves wearing pants, shirt and hat of various colors. Three dice are rolled at once. The resultant color combination starts the race to find the one single card among the 56 in which the dwarf's pants, shirt and hat matches the colors from the dice roll. Whoever finds the matching card first gets to keep that card. And the next player takes turn to roll the dice and so on. The game has a few variations for older kids, but in the simplest version the game ends when the dice-roll results in a color combination already played (and therefore the card is not on the table anymore).

children's games candyland, dwarves and dice

I fell in love with this game right away and haven't turned down an invitation from Ana to play so far. Ana is pretty quick if she is into the game, so, initially I take it slow and let her 'win' a few cards so she doesn't get frustrated...

This is not really a memory game, just needs sharp observation and quick processing.

The pictures of the dwarves on the cards are terribly cute with interesting facial expressions and poses. The first few times we played when Ana was three, she would just stare at the pictures and study them, not really getting the hang of the game. The colors are vibrant and eye-catching.

If there is one thing I would change about it, it is the same issue I had with Candyland: the red and pink tend to blend together in indoor light; I would make the red a little deeper and leave the pink closer to pale baby-ish pink. Invariably D confuses the pink and the red, and Ana and I have to help him relearn his colors :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Mom from Little Guru Skool

About 3 months back a Mom sent me a mail. She said "I have created this collection of bilingual Books and DVDs because I wanted to introduce my son to Indian culture at an early age. I feel that this is an issue that might be interesting to your readers. " and then she gave me her website address and some media articles about her and her company.

I was thoroughly impressed, a Mom, a MBA and an entrepreneur with such a creative idea. I was so smitten that I asked her for an interview by e-mail. She readily obliged. I was still more impressed, she had done a lot of the artwork and content for the line of books and DVD and those books looked write on target to get a kid growing up in a foreign country acquainted with India and its culture and also the language

My Mothers Day post which is way late is dedicated to Pooja Pittie Goel the founder of Little Guru Skool. Kudos to her for pursuing her dream

Below is the interview she did for Desi Momz Club

1. What prompted you to start Liitle GuruSkool ?
I was inspired to create Little GuruSkool because I wanted to introduce my son to Indian culture at an early age. I could not find any books or DVDs in the market (either in the US or in India) that were appropriate for pre-schoolers - educational and entertaining at the same time. I wanted to expose my son to Indian languages, music, art and nature in a fun and interactive way. When I talked to other parents, I discovered that I was not the only one facing this problem. So I decided to create the products myself!

2. Were you inspired by Baby Einstein series ?
I think we have many products in the US for preschool children that are interactive & fun while being educational. I admire Disney's Baby Einstein range of products - they are brilliant! Since similar products don't really exist for this age group in India, I drew inspiration from my childhood memories in India while developing Little GuruSkool. Everyday objects, colors, music and nature that represent India to me - things that I want my son to be aware of and relate to - they are my inspiration.
I like to think that Little GuruSkool books and DVDs provide a good balance of Indian and American culture. The material isn't too "ethnic" - the color sensibility & illustration is quite modern.

3.Which age range do you target ?
The current products are targeted towards the preschool age group - 1 to 5 years. However, I have had parents use them for older children too - it depends on how much exposure the child has had to Indian languages and Indian culture. My son turned 6 last October but enjoys reading the books (now he reads them himself!) and looking at the illustrations and listening to the music.

4. Who writes and illustrates for the board books as well as the DVDs ?
I have created the storyboards and illustrations for the books myself. I am an amateur painter so this is a great creative outlet for me! I have also produced the DVDs myself - I worked with a film production studio in India. I traveled there often and spent weeks at a stretch - I was involved in every aspect of production from script writing to graphic design to filming & editing.

5. I see the books are bilingual. What about the DVD ?
The books feature words in English, Hindi (in Devnagri script) and transliteration in English. The DVDs are bilingual too - one can choose either an English or Hindi soundtrack from the main menu.

6. How old is your son ? Does he enjoy this line of product ?
My son turned 6 in October 2008 - I have used all the books and DVDs with him and he enjoyed them a lot! Even now, he enjoys reading the books himself, looking at the colorful Indian illustrations and learns new Hindi words each time he watches the DVDs.

7. Tell us a little about yourself and how you ventured into this business. It might inspire many more Moms you know
My academic background is in Accounting and Finance (I'm a Chartered Accountant from India and a CPA). I got my MBA from the University of Chicago GSB in 2005 and worked in Brand Finance at Unilever's Dove hair for 1.5 years thereafter. In March 2007, I left Unilever to pursue Little GuruSkool full-time.
I have no prior media experience but as an Indian mom living abroad, I have a clear idea of what I want my son to learn about India. This vision is what guides me as I build and grow Little GuruSkool!
The response to the products has been thrilling - it is very satisfying to answer my son's questions about Indian culture as he reads a Little GuruSkool book and I hope that parents around the world can enjoy exploring this exciting culture together!

Do check out her web site nad products and send comments, ideas and suggestions at