Kids today are so lucky. Because of the presence of advanced technology, more family-friendly comedy movies emerge. I remember when I was a kid when almost every film was about adults, so I just focused on my cartoons starring Tom, Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Popeye and other hilarious animated characters. Most episodes of cartoons were pointless and filled with nonsense, but you can’t expect a kid to find joy in movies long ago.

Finally, film studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks started to produce movies that are filled with special effects and eye-candy characters. The best part is that these and other studios of the same kind of movies do whatever it takes to give attractive and, at the same time, meaningful content. Lastly, based on my own experience, some movies are hilarious for all ages – proven by how my husband and I laughed with our kids during movie nights. If you’re starting to get curious about my top 10 comedy movies for kids, here they are:

Mulan

The most difficult part of having a daughter is making sure that she would become a strong, capable woman. Thanks to movies such as “Mulan,” female empowerment can already be taught in such a young age. I love how Disney princesses are not all glitters and sunshine because of Mulan.

Walt Disney Pictures

Don’t get me started with how funny the movie is! The voice actors, especially Eddie Murphy, successfully put humor throughout the movie. My most favorite part is Mulan’s training montage with the troops. My kids love those scenes too!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Whenever my kids watch this movie, they always get hungry and make me promise to cook or buy delicious food for them as soon as possible. I can’t blame them – everything in this movie looks so yummy! Funny, I already imagined some scenarios in my head when I was kid, especially raining ice cream and spaghetti.

Sony Pictures Animation

I noticed that my kids got so affected when Flint Lockwood totally forgot his responsibility to just control the production of food. They were so disappointed that Flint became selfish and stubborn. As a mom, I was so proud to see my kids knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Big Hero 6

It is hard to raise more than one kid, believe me. Siblings really fight over the tiniest problems. However, when my kids watched “Big Hero 6,” the house was peaceful for a few days. No fights, no arguments, no crying. My kids were so affected by the two brothers in the movie.

Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

Forgetting about the sad parts of the movie, the scenes are filled with comedy, youthful action and science. My kids loved the humor of Baymax so much that they asked for plush toys resembling the cuddly character. The young characters are also positive influences for any child because of their passion in knowledge, learning and school.

A Bug’s Life

This is one of my most favorite animation movies. The artwork is amazing and jaw-dropping. When it comes to humor, “A Bug’s Life” also hits the jackpot. Overall, the movie teaches the value of unity and confidence no matter how small you are. The tiny creatures in the movie can do a lot of wonderful things. That’s why after watching the movie, I reminded my kids that they are all amazing despite how young they are. It helps them to be more confident about themselves and perform better at school.

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Frozen

Another story about sibling love, “Frozen” was the center of my kids’ attention when it first came out. They really loved the songs! I shared what I observed to my co-teachers who are also parents. All of them could relate. Some of my colleagues even bought Elsa and Anna dresses for their daughters.

Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

The impact of “Frozen” to kids – and even teenagers – goes to show that it is an unforgettable story about family, forgiveness and unconditional love. It is okay to show if you’re sad or angry about something because concealing it might lead to more conflicts. It is also important to let people love you because no man is an island.

Inside Out

As a teacher, I highly recommend “Inside Out.” Dysfunctional people exist because of negative emotions building up inside of them since childhood. People think that life is all about showing people that you’re a strong, happy person. It’s not. Kids must always be open to their parents about their confusions, problems and doubts. Like what the movie implies, you can only be genuinely happy after experiencing sadness. As usual, I gathered my kids after the movie to teach them lessons from the movie. I really emphasized to them that they must talk to me if ever they would have problems. Good thing my kids quickly understood how important my reminder was.

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Enchanted

This is not entirely an animation movie. Some scenes are composed of actual people but still entertaining and lively for kids. Amy Adams is such as lovable actress for children. My daughter looks up to her.

Walt Disney Pictures/Sonnenfeld Josephson Entertainment

Some people might not agree with this, but I want my kids to believe in true love. I want them to be optimistic about the opposite sex, that there will always be good men and women despite bad people in the mix. I want them to have high standards in choosing their future partners, especially when it comes to personality.

Monsters, Inc.

Before this movie, my kids were so scared of monsters under their beds and inside their closets. I’m not sure where they got these ideas. Maybe they got it from their friends at school or their father’s love for horror stories. Anyway, after watching the whole movie, they started to think that monsters are not scary at all. I also didn’t expect that Boo would be such a powerful influence for my kids. Children must learn how to be brave while still young, so they will be independent as adults.

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

The Incredibles

Now, this is a family favorite! I still find it hilarious that Mr. Incredible looks so much like my husband. From start to finish, everybody in the family room was laughing out loud. One Halloween, we were even the Incredibles. The movie gave importance to family, and I’m thankful for it. I’m sure the kids will always remember the fun we had while watching the movie and dressing up like the characters for trick-or-treat.

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Finding Nemo

I’m proud to say that my husband kind of teared up while watching “Finding Nemo.” My kids kept on hugging their daddy during sad scenes. It’s the sweetest thing.

Obedience is the foundation of child discipline. When Nemo disobeyed his father, their lives became chaotic and risky. I know Marlin was a little too much for not granting even just a hint of independence for his son, but Nemo also did a bad thing. Parents just want to give what’s best for their children, even if it would come across as annoying. “Finding Nemo” teaches life lessons for both parents and children. Kudos to the creators for a very imaginative and meaningful movie!

Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Final Thoughts

To be an effective parent, always give time to your children, not just in serious stuff but in fun moments as well. Watching movie with the kids is one of the best ways to bond as a family and teach children about life lessons without appearing too dominant. Let the movies teach your kids sometimes.

Do you love riddles? If yes, that’s a good thing! A riddle is a phrase, question or statement with a double meaning to serve as a word puzzle. In general, puzzles are very beneficial for everybody. To go further, let’s learn how important riddles are for children, adults and old people.

All about Riddles

Before heading to the benefits, we must first understand completely what makes a riddle. Actually, there are two types of riddles: enigma and conundrum. Enigma is an allegorical or metaphorical puzzle that requires deep thinking. Conundrum, on the other hand, comes in puns.

Experts consider riddling as a “universal art.” How? Almost every culture has local riddles. Some countries that have many riddles are Philippines, Netherlands, Russia, China, Hungary and Finland. Many cultures already realized through riddling that everything is not what it seems.

Even ancient and medieval cultures had riddles. Here are some examples:

Babylon

Babylonian riddles are considered to be the oldest based on today’s records. According to research, ancient school texts from Babylon were riddles that sound too enigmatic for modern people because answers were not preserved. That only means that riddles in the ancient world were passed from one generation to another verbally. An example of a Babylonian riddle is “My knees hasten, my feet do not rest, a shepherd without pity drives me to pasture.” Speculated answers are rowboat or river.

Sanskrit

When it comes to the first ancient poetic and complex riddles with answers, we have the Sanskrit Rigveda. An example from the Rigveda goes this way: “Who moves in the air? Who makes a noise on seeing a thief? Who is the enemy of lotuses? Who is the climax of fury?” Believe it or not, these questions go together, not separately. Why? The answers for the first three are combined to answer the last question. The answers in the right order are bird, dog and sun. In Sanskrit, the answers are vi, çva and mitra. If combined, the answer to the final question is a famous man that time with a short temper – Viçvamitra.

Benefits of Riddles

Finally, we’re now going to find out why riddles are beneficial for different people. Let’s start with:

Children

Riddles can obviously improve how kids think. After all, they are oftentimes called brain teasers. Here are specific reasons why riddles are beneficial for children:

Parent-Child Bonding

Children usually develop behavioral problems if their parents don’t bond with them much. With parents giving riddles, kids are not afraid to blurt out answers. They get more confident in expressing themselves. That’s why riddles are useful to develop children’s social skills.

Opportunity to Teach

One thing that makes a riddle is that it can be passed on to different people until it reaches the next generation. It is an endless chain. A factor that contributes to this is children telling riddles they know to other people. It means that riddles can develop a child’s memory.

Improve Vocabulary

Riddles are usually told in a creative way with more advanced words. When kids want to share riddles, that’s after they understand the whole context. Riddles also encourage kids to ask about words they can’t understand yet.

Comprehension

Many kids can read at such a young age but can’t fully understand context. In order for a child to share riddles with other people, he must fully understand the riddle first. With great understanding comes great comprehension.

Preparation for Advanced Tests

Most tests in schools rely on creativity, logic and comprehension. Riddles can improve a kid in all those areas. They can improve the critical thinking and problem solving skills of a child.

Intellectual Humor

You know how most kids are when it comes to funny things. Children tend to love slapstick comedy and childish jokes. To improve a child’s taste in humor, you can give creative riddles to them. Riddles can entertain a child and get his brain working at the same time.

Adults

Some people may get surprised that riddles can still be beneficial for adults who have fully developed mental capacities already. Here are factors to prove that riddles can still be important for adults:

Memory Enhancer

Let’s face it, our memory as adults can be rusty sometimes. Riddles can actually help sharpening our minds. Experts suggest that puzzles such as riddles can reinforce the ongoing connection between brain cells. Riddles can enhance thought process because of mental alertness.

Accelerated Logic

Some riddles can be tough for adults. But, they can make a person think about the answer in all angles. They allow a person to think outside the box. Every trial and error in answering questions follows a system.

Encourage Imagination

To answer a riddle, you must recognize the details and combine them to form a bigger picture. That triggers a person to work with logic and imagination.

Release of Dopamine

Answering riddles enables the brain to produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps in improving motor skills, concentration, positive thinking, confidence, memory and understanding. That’s why some people won’t give up even if they answer the riddle wrong several times.

Old People

Being old is associated with poor memory and recognition. On the other hand, riddles can help in sharpening mental capacity once again. Check out the benefits of riddles to old people:

Reduce the Risk of Dementia

Studies suggest that in the year 2050, 37 million people over 65 years old will have experience mental illness due to old age. Puzzles, in general, can either slow down the effects of dementia or avoid it if done continuously. So, with riddles, our grandparents can read word puzzles from time to time to keep the mind sharp.

Exercise the Brain

Alzheimer’s is a critical disease among old people. If you know someone who already displays early stages of the disease, you can help exercise his mental faculties by giving riddles. Riddles can enhance cognitive functions such as memory because they can help increasing the number of new neurons inside the brain, especially in the hippocampus.

Riddles are definitely not just for children. Exercise your mind from time to time by reading tricky word puzzles. Now that you know more about the benefits of riddles. Let’s play some. 😀

Honestly, I could have made this topic all about math lessons and students. But, since I was a little girl, I’ve noticed how people associate counting fingers to being dull in math. That’s why I’m not going to make this about teachers and students alone. I want everybody to understand that there’s nothing wrong about calculating with fingers. Even as a teacher, I’m not stopping my students from counting with their hands. I know for a fact that different people have different levels of learning. Besides, the most important thing is getting the answer right.

Importance of Visuals

It is stated in various sources that there are 12 ways of learning. One of which is focusing on visual tools to teach students. Other examples include verbal and auditory learning. Studies suggest that the human brain can interpret what the person sees 60,000 times faster than reading words. Now, fingers can definitely serve as visual tools. Some people even use their hands like abacus.

Learning math is hard enough. Why not make it easier by letting the young ones count using their fingers? Funnily enough, our fingers are the most accessible visual tools we can count on.

Why the Hate?

People who dislike counting with fingers consider the act to be unhealthy for the brain. They even believe that a kid’s brain development gets weaker if the finger technique is continued. They also consider the technique to be unhelpful in making the child understand math. To them, counting fingers is just giving answers with no regard to the mathematical concept behind. In fact, some schools all over the world prohibit counting fingers during math class.

Studies Supporting the Technique

Despite the negative implications of finger counting, several studies actually support this technique. One study claimed that representations and strategies using fingers help students to learn and understand math. In my case at least, whenever I attempt to solve something in my head, I visualize my fingers. I could even feel my fingers slightly moving while I’m calculating in my mind.

Another study stated that first graders who are good in finger counting have better skills with numbers when they reach second grade. More studies emerged to prove that well-trained children regarding finger representation can end up with achievements related to math in the future.

Advanced Calculations Using Fingers

Many people consider finger counting ridiculous and childish. Counting 1 to 10 through each finger seems to be the easiest thing in the world. Wait until they get to see these unusual and more advanced techniques:

Finger Partitions

Many people resort to counting their finger partitions to calculate. On one hand, there are already 15 partitions. For sums up to 30, finger partition counting is faster than the basic one.

Chisenbop Counting

Now, let’s turn up the heat! Interestingly, Koreans have this finger counting technique called Chisenbop Counting. This is useful for calculations up to the sum of 99. Here’s how to do it:

  • Place your hands on a table as if you’re playing a piano.
  • On the right hand, the fingers represent units. The thumb represents 5.
  • On the left hand, the fingers represent tens. The thumb represents 50.

Are you starting to get confused? Well, take a look at this diagram below for reference:

10 Billion Counting

Yes, you’ve read that right – 10 billion in just two hands. Even I can’t understand this technique! Facts stated that this is an ancient finger counting method from the Chinese. I’m sure Chinese forefathers didn’t invent this technique just for fun. It must have worked.

Multiplication by 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

I have to admit, I encountered this technique when I was a kid. This is a fun way to learn multiplication – I swear! Here’s how it goes:

  • Raise your hands in front of your face with palms facing towards you.
  • The fingers represent numbers 6 to 10 starting from the bottom or pinky finger. Same goes with the other hand.
  • To multiply, let two fingertips touch each other. For example, if you want to solve 6 x 6, connect your two pinky fingers.
  • To calculate, the two fingers touching and the fingers below them should be counted by tens. Since there are no fingers below your pinkies, you only have 2 x 10 which is 20.
  • For fingers above the two, multiply them based on their actual quantity. Since you have four fingers on each side, it means 4 x 4 which is 16.
  • Now, add 20 and 16. You have 36, right? Try it with other equations. I assure you that you will always get the right answer with this technique.

Finger Abacus

Like the 10 billion finger counting technique, the finger abacus is also an ancient calculating method in Asia, specifically in India. It was a very useful tool to calculate complex equations without an abacus, especially for blind people. In fact, the method was too complex that it could take years to master it. Some of the complicated equations the finger abacus could solve were multiplication of numbers up to 10 digits, and getting the square root of up to six-digit numbers.

Even to this day, the Universal Concept Mental Arithmetic System (UCMAS) still teaches the finger abacus to some schools. Its program started all the way from 1993. It already invaded 57 countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, and taught millions of kids. Actually, even top universities like Harvard, the University of Chicago, Stanford, the University of California San Diego, the University of Manchester, and the University of Khartoum did some researches about the finger abacus. All universities agreed that the method is still useful for students from 4 to 13 years old.

The Express Tribune

Final Thoughts

If you were confused when I mentioned some advanced calculations using fingers, then that’s the reaction I was hoping for. Finger counting is definitely not something we should underestimate. Using fingers as visual tools is not different to using images to understand things. If some people still find using fingers as a dull move to calculate something, then maybe they should also prohibit pictures in articles, books and other learning materials. We must never hinder a child’s preferred learning process just because the society says so.

We are all different, no doubt about that. That’s why some of us are contented with silence while focusing on something important during work or study time. But, in my case, I can’t concentrate without music. Silence is distracting for me because after all, we can’t achieve total silence unless we’re in a scientifically altered room for it. Without music, I can hear even the slightest sounds which distracts me. As a teacher, I need to read a lot to have smooth discussions in my classes. That can’t happen if I’m easily distracted by sounds. I need music to consistently play the whole time until I don’t notice it anymore.

Music for Deep Focus

Now, what exactly is the perfect music so we can focus or concentrate deeply? Well, there’s no exact music for it. The perfect deep focus tracks for you totally rely on your personality and mindset. I am a type of person who easily gets distracted. So, I need to set the ambience with instrumental music that’s consistent – no sudden highs or lows such as loud bass, electronic dance beats, etc. The type of music I’m listening to conceals sounds from my environment but, at the same time, doesn’t overpower everything completely. When I hear birds chirping, it seems that they are just part of my music.

But, not everybody likes instrumental music. My husband, for example, tends to get sleepy when he listens to tracks without lyrics. So, he listens to his favorite rock songs at work. Of course, he needs to use earphones. Meanwhile, my kids want to listen to their favorite cartoon songs during study time and homework. They say they get bored with silence, my tunes or my constant blabbering.

My Top 11 Tracks for Deep Focus

I don’t expect everyone to like the type of music I listen to during mind-based activities. But, there’s no harm in trying. Maybe you would like it anyway. I discovered these tracks on Spotify. I hope you’ll find the following tracks useful:

“Requiem” (Lights & Motion)

This track is a smooth journey for the ears. It starts low for quite some time until you get used to the music despite all the violins, bells and louder volume in the middle and last part of the track. I, for one, haven’t noticed the intense progress this track gives until I listened to it on purpose. Isn’t it amazing how my ears become fully accustomed to the tune without me being conscious about it every time I’m busy?

“Daylight Goodbye” (Message To Bears)

A piano plays softly at first with an ambient sound in the background. Later, more repetitive, clinking sounds join in. Even human hums are added to the track. But, the extra sounds are added smoothly. No sudden noise at all. Everything blends perfectly. The clinking sounds even figuratively tickles my brain. For some reason, I read or write faster with this track.

“Supernovas” (William Roud)

The vibe of this track at first is similar to “Daylight Goodbye.” But, as the track progresses, soft drum beats join the dreamy melody. It is an instrumental song with a hint of spice. I never get sleepy with this track.

“Branches And Constellations” (The Echelon Effect)

The Echelon Effect’s smartly composed track is quite similar to “Supernovas” because of the drums in the last part. But, the first part is much quieter. Sometimes, you need tracks that almost have a similar vibe when you make a playlist for deep focus. That enables you to have a smoother progress in your playlist.

“Losing the Light” (Explosions In The Sky)

The whole track focuses on ambience. You won’t notice its progress, which is great. “Losing the Light” has some extra sounds but all are subtle. These sounds just put texture into the track.

“Silver Lining” (Lights & Motion)

Another track from Lights & Motion, “Silver Lining” reminds me of some Coldplay songs. It sounds nostalgic and psychedelic. It is more upbeat than the previous songs I’ve listed. But, it is still not distracting. The powerful vibe just makes you want to think and move faster.

“Bless Those Tired Eyes” (Clem Leek)

The title hits me hard. Just kidding! This track also focuses on ambience but has extra guitar sounds for texture. The guitar is more on being plucked, not strummed. The track is relaxing and clears your mind from other thoughts.

“An Old Peasant Like Me” (Explosions In The Sky/David Wingo)

This time, Explosions In The Sky collaborates with David Wingo to compose a relaxing ambient music with minimal piano and violin sounds for texture. It sounds similar to “Bless Those Tired Eyes.”

“Petrichor” (At The End Of Times/Nothing)

If you’re into rock music, “Petrichor” has that sort of vibe. It has a lot of electric guitar sounds. It also has that continuous marching beat of the drum in the later part. But, it is amazing that the whole track remains soft to the ears. The ambient sound really helps in balancing everything out.

“Hypersleep” (65daysofstatic)

Now, we have the combination of ambient and drone sounds in this track. The result is a surreal and out-of-this-world music, as if you are transported into the outer space. Personally, this belongs to my top three go-to songs whenever I need to concentrate on a certain task.

“Igelstorp” (Fellows)

When it comes to sophistication, I think this track nails it. I can’t even identify if the sounds are electronic or from musical instruments. “Igelstorp” has so many elements that you can’t predict what the next sound is going to be. I associate this track to memory because of the reverberating sound effects. So far, this track never fails to make me memorize stuff.

Final Thoughts

There’s always science behind anything, and music is no exception. Basically, music helps the brain waves to achieve a certain frequency. The brain wave frequency conditions the brain to handle specific tasks. Obviously, some songs can make you alert while some aim to relax you. Music is a trigger to help you with what you need to do. That’s why music is definitely not just for fun and entertainment.