Two children playing ‘pick-up sticks’, a game where players pick up sticks from a loose bundle without moving the whole stack. Pic by Raja Khalidatul Asrin

IPOH: As the world evolves, children’s preferred games have also changed with toddlers nowadays seen playing with tablets or smartphones.

Modern technology and lifestyles are putting a strain on most parents, as the gadgets cost a bomb.

Realising the economic impact, some parents are now encouraging their children to play traditional games or creating activities for them.

Mona Lisa Abdullah, 40, said she was happy that her two children were now playing “tingting”, or hopscotch, and “batu seremban”, a traditional Malay game of five stones, which are now a rare sight.

“I took them back to my hometown in Kuala Kangsar during the school break and they picked up these traditional games from the children there.

“I never allowed them to play with gadgets as it will stop them from interacting with other children,” said Mona, whose family lives in a housing estate here.

 Mona said her children’s involvement in such games kept them occupied and they did not crave iPads or other gadgets.

She admitted that initially her 12-year-old daughter was teased at school for not having such gadgets.

“Her friends have now stopped teasing her as many of them are interested in playing traditional games,” she said.

She said even the simple “main masak-masak” (playing chef) that her daughter played when she was young had enabled the girl to help her in the kitchen preparing breakfast.

“She can now make simple breakfast dishes, such as french toast, for herself and her brother,” she added.

Azalia Suhaimi, 30, said parents should not give in to the demands of their children.

“Show them the ‘old school’ way of entertainment  and it will benefit both parents and children.

“We should teach them to fly kites in an open field and play board games, such as chess, instead of online games, such as ‘Candy Crush’,” she said .

 Azalia said parents should also inculcate the reading habit in
their children and if they could not afford to buy books, they could always borrow them from the local library.

She said young mothers could save by creating activities at home instead of sending them to nurseries.