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Black Lives Matter-LA Co-Founder Melina Abdullah Talks About Defunding The Police And Fostering Change



On May 25th, police officers in Minneapolis arrested 46-year-old George Floyd after a convenience store employee alerted 911 that he may have paid with a counterfeit $20 bill. Once apprehended by the police, officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground, driving his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, despite onlookers calling for him to stop and Floyd’s own desperate pleas for help. Video of the killing sparked protests in all 50 states and around the world –resulting in significant actions being taken across all quadrants of our society. Laws are being changed, police departments have been defunded, and statues of colonizers and slave traders have fallen.

Melina Abdullah, an activist, professor, and co-founder of Black Lives Matter’s (BLM) LA chapter, knows that if we really want to change the world, the protests must also give rise to calculated political action.

“Make sure you research who your DA is and whether or not you want to keep them,” Abdullah urges, after weeks of leading demonstrations across Los Angeles (including outside the home of Mayor Eric Garcetti). “The district attorney is an elected official who prosecutes crimes, so we want to make sure that as they’re prosecuting, the first people who go to jail for committing crimes are the police who brutalize and kill our people.”

Abdullah and Black Lives Matter LA have been at the forefront of the protests in Los Angeles, helping the city demand accountability from its police department and elected officials like never before. Since taking to the streets, Angelenos have prompted Garcetti to reexamine a budget that would allocate 54% of the city’s funds to law enforcement agencies and promise a $250 million cut from the LAPD, with money redirected towards health and education in black communities. The mayor has also floated the idea of implementing an independent prosecutor to oversee police violations.

Anger at an unjust system is easy to muster, but turning that rage into a tool to bring about meaningful and systemic change is crucial. Many of us who have taken to the streets don’t know what to do after we’ve made signs, marched, signed the petitions, and donated our money to organizations like BLM. So we reached out to Abdullah to talk about the next steps, defunding the police, and why we need to vote in this upcoming election, even if we’ve lost faith in our government.

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I wanted to talk to you a little bit about defunding the police. On the surface that might sound a little bit extreme to some. For the people who wonder who will keep the law if we massively scale back police funds, what would you say to those concerns?

I think that defunding the police sounds radical until we realize that there wasn’t always policing and there wasn’t always this kind of expansionist approach to policing. So when we say “defund the police,” we mean defund the police. Here is something else that should be equally shocking, if not more. In the city of Los Angeles, the mayor was proposing to spend 54% of the city’s budget on the LAPD. That is an astronomical amount, especially when you consider that we’re in a health pandemic with an economic fallout and that policing doesn’t answer a healthcare crisis or an economic crisis.

LAPD was the only city department that Mayor Garcetti proposed an increase for, as he’s slashing other city departments and furloughing 16,000 city employees in the midst of this economic crisis. Some will say that defunding the police sounds radical but I think that they should also look at how radical it is or how shocking it is to be spending so much money on police.

Finally, everybody says things are “crazy” or “radical” or “impossible” until they’re done. The city of Minneapolis just committed itself to disbanding their police department, so I think that shows us that it is possible. If people look at, they’ll see that when we engaged in a participatory budgeting session with Angelenos, they wanted to spend 5.7% of the city’s budget on traditional approaches to law enforcement. That includes the LAPD, that includes traffic enforcement and includes the city attorney’s office, which is the prosecutor for the city. People don’t want to spend this kind of money on police. When we look at those survey results, people saw this kind of approach to law enforcement as the “least important” of their spending priorities.

Saying “defund the police” really just moves us towards what most people say they want anyway.

You’ve been center stage in the effort to prevent Mayor Garcetti from passing his city budget and even with the $150 million cut that still leaves over $3 billion for law enforcement, before the cut that was 54% of the city’s budget. In your view, what is a better way of using that money and what kind of community organizations and things should we do with that money instead?

I think everybody wants to live in a safe, healthy, and vibrant community. When we think about how to get there, we know that the first thing we need to do is meet the universal needs of people, make sure that everybody has housing, make sure that everybody has healthcare, make sure that everybody has access to healthy food, make sure that we have parks and libraries and after school programs. I think you make a safe environment by providing first for the needs of people.

Angelenos don’t like being home to the largest houseless population in the nation. We have 60,000 unhoused people in this county, and it’s absolutely ridiculous. If you look at a budget you’ll see people’s priorities. So what this budget tells us is that the priority for this mayor is clearly investing — or spending, I won’t even call it an investment — spending on policing, which really functions to repress, and oppress, and surveil, and brutalize and even kill our community members rather than doing what the people say that we need, which is spending on things like housing.

Aside from abolishing or defunding the police, there is also real reform that we can get done now, without waiting for the cogs of bureaucracy to turn, or election cycles to come around. What are some of those things that we can demand now?

There are spaces for abolition and I think that most people are with us on this one: police don’t belong in schools. Period. Right now., the LAUSD schools have police armed with AR15 weapons. The first thing that we can do to end policing or to defund police is to remove them from schools. We’re working with our partners from StudentsDeserve, we’re working with the teacher’s union UTLA, to immediately remove police from schools. We talk about bureaucracy, but these are things that can happen overnight, all it takes is a decision to end the funding of LA School Police, which is the largest school police system in the country.

We can also have Recs and Parks sever their relationship with the LAPD, this is happening around the country. People are recognizing that police have no business in the parks, we need youth workers in the parks, so lets severe those ties — that’s only the stroke of a pen by the head of the department.

The LA police union has said that the reason they’re taking up more of the budget is because they’re doing jobs of social workers, drug rehabilitation counselors, and EMTs. What we’re saying is they have no business or expertise in doing those jobs, so let’s give them a break. You shouldn’t be doing those jobs, let’s move that money to hire real social workers, real drug rehabilitation counselors, and real EMTs.

Sometimes we talk about bureaucracy and we know that white supremacist capitalism sets up systems to make it seem difficult to do the things that need to be done, but the city council can change the budget at any time. It doesn’t take long, all it takes is eight votes of the city council, which is what they did in Minneapolis. All they did was vote for it — all we need our city council to do is have the will to overturn the mayor’s budget. It can be done, it doesn’t have to take some long, drawn-out process.

Right now, there is a real possibility that we’re going to have to take to the streets en masse, multiple times, if we want things to get done and really want them to change. How are protests organized, and how are actions planned?

We spend a whole lot of time strategizing as a team in BLM and among our ally groups. We have a commitment to group-centered leadership, which is the recognition that no one person should be in charge of the movement, it should be a collective of people.

This last week we’ve had an action every day. Some things are highly visible like Sunday’s march in Hollywood, where we had more than 100,000 people in the streets, but then there are some things that we don’t put in the media because it’s not meant for everybody. We had a black community meeting that was invitation-only, not to be exclusive but to say that we knew the church basement we were meeting in couldn’t accommodate tens of thousands of people so we sent out personal invites to folks and had a couple of hundred people talk about what it means to defund the police, and getting into conversations about revolutionary radical visions, and how do we get some justice right now, today.

We strategize and we talk and figure out how to balance — our strategy is always to disrupt white supremacy and build black community, so how do we strike that balance? It takes a community of people who are committed to doing the work, to figuring out that balance and planning out the next move.

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Right now there is a lot of passion amongst people who want to help, aside from protesting, donating, and signing petitions — especially for those who are immunocompromised — how else can a person help end police violence?

There is a whole lot people can do. A lot of our actions are still online, recognizing that there are still people who are immunocompromised. So today, from 1-2 pm, we have a Twitter storm, we’re asking everybody to call in to the budget committee, we’re asking people to send emails to the LA city budget committee, we’re also continuing our work in places like Torrance, where Christopher Deandre Mitchell was killed by two Torrance police officers, Anthony Chavez and Matthew Concannon. He was killed in a span of 15 seconds of their approach to the car. They still haven’t been fired.

Every Tuesday night, we put pressure on the Torrance city council to both fire those officers and also establish a police oversight commission. People who are immunocompromised can engage in actions like that.

There are three things everyone can offer: your voice, your body, and your resources. If your body is not available then please share your voice and your resources. Amplify what we’re saying, even if it’s as simple as tweeting out or posting on your page “Defund the police,” even if its something as simple as explaining to your family what defunding the police means. One of the greatest resources we received recently was a $500 Uber Eats gift card. The reason that’s great is because we have meetings, and we need food at those meetings. If you have gift cards you aren’t using, please give them to us, we’ll make use of them, there is a need for sound systems. You can donate things like that. Let me just say: whatever it is you have, bring it to the movement. Anything, whatever it is.

We recently got into a relationship with the singer Amber Riley. She has one of the most magnificent voices I’ve ever heard in my life, what she does now is show up at the actions and sing, and it brings life into those actions. You might not be able to get out and do it, but whatever it is you have, please contribute it.

When someone is donating to BLM or one of their local BLM chapters, where does that money go and how is it being used?

Black Lives Matter is not a traditional non-profit organization. Nobody works for Black Lives Matter or gets a check from Black Lives Matter. We’re not employees. When you donate money, we use that money for a range of things including organizing work. We use it to pay for flyers, we use it to pay for sound systems, we use it to amplify posts, we use it to support families.

When people are killed by police they’re not considered crime victims, so money that would normally go to victims of violent crime don’t go to those folks, so we help to pay for both funerals and independent autopsies, which are hugely important because, as we’ve seen with the murder of George Floyd, sometimes the coroners are in bed with these law enforcement agencies and their reports don’t reflect what actually happened.

We have some medical examiners who volunteer their time with us, but we still have to pay for their expenses, the storage of the body, etcetera. The donations make sure families can get independent autopsies which generally cost about six to seven thousand dollars per person on the low end.

We’re in the midst of an economic fallout from a health pandemic, so we also do a lot of mutual aide work. When people can’t pay for their groceries or need help paying their utilities or other bills we try to contribute to that. There is virtually no administrative overhead, so the space in which we meet, the space in which we store things, those are all donated. We don’t pay for anything but utilities, phones, and the internet in those spaces, so your donations go directly into the streets.

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What’s something every protestor should know before hitting the streets?

We always try to have legal observers there, and we always try to have street medics there, but safety is a huge issue. You don’t have to worry so much about the protestors, but the police violence we’ve seen with this round of protests has been particularly brutal. We say that especially if you’re coming out with kids — and I’m a single mom so I always come out with my children — that you make sure you have an exit plan. That you make sure someone knows what to do if you get separated from your children. If you’re on parole or probation or if you have warrants, you want to make sure you think it through around whether or not you want to do certain things, we definitely don’t want you out on the frontline next to the police.

We also make sure people write down the number of the National Lawyers Guild on their arm so that if you are arrested we can help provide you with some legal support so we can make sure you’re released.

Then I also think it’s just a good call, in general, to engage in the safe practice of letting someone always know where you are and what your emergency plan is. Always have. an energy plan and don’t come to protests alone, find at least one other person to go with you.

A lot of people right now are frustrated by the process of reform and voting and getting things done through official channels. Do you have a message for first-time voters, and those who feel disenfranchised by the systems we have in place?

I think you should vote because even if you’re not going to vote for the President — which I think you should — but even if that doesn’t move you, we need to get this district attorney out of office. We need to get Jackie Lacey out of office. If you don’t vote for anything else, go to the polls and vote in the DA race and make sure you don’t vote for Jackie Lacey. If you live in other cities or other counties, make sure you research who your DA is and whether or not you want to keep them. The district attorney is an elected official who prosecutes crimes, so we want to make sure that as that they are prosecuting, the first people who go to jail for committing crimes are the police who brutalize and kill our people.

For protestors, what is the next step and how do we keep up this historic and unprecedented momentum?

Don’t go in the house. Don’t let them lure you with crumbs and tell you now its time to go home. We need to stay in these streets and we also need to organize. It’s really important to plug into organizations. If you’re black and want to join Black Lives Matter, we welcome you. If you’re white and you want to support Black Lives Matter, we’re asking you to join White People for Black Lives, and there is lots of other organizations Centro CSO, American Indian Movement — find an organization that speaks to you and join that organization.

Transformative change does not happen just one person at a time, being plugged into an organization increases our power exponentially.


How Las Vegas became the world’s casino capital





These days, it’s impossible to think of Las Vegas without the image of the lights on the strip and glamorous casinos coming to mind. But the Vegas we know of 2020 wasn’t always that way; and it took a long, long time to get its reputation for being the world’s casino capital. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and get to the root of how Las Vegas became the city that never sleeps.

A historical journey

It’s hard to believe these days, but the Las Vegas region was once an abundant marshland stock full of rich vegetation. That is, until the marsh receded, and the waters disappeared, transforming the landscape into a desert, with the trapped water underground sprouting life and forming an oasis.

It was during the 19th century that the explorer Antonio Armijo from Mexico foraged the way from New Mexico to California on the first commercial caravan. It was a member of the group, Rafael Rivera who rode west to find water and venture through the desert, setting his eyes upon Las Vegas Springs. Las Vegas was therefore named ‘the meadows’ after the grasses found growing there.

Years went on and both Mormon and Mexican settlers began to filter through. In 1890 it was decided by railroad developers that Las Vegas would serve as a spot along the San Pedro, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles railroad route as well as connecting to major cities along the Pacific Coast. From there on, Vegas boomed with stores, boarding houses and saloons popping up around the area. This was the beginning of the Las Vegas as we know it — with railroad workers and ranchers enjoying the gambling and drinking through illegal speakeasies and bootleg casinos operating despite the ban on gambling in Nevada in 1910.

In 1931 gambling once again became legal in the state, with new casinos and showgirl venues opening up along Fremont Street to entertain the thousands of workers who flocked the city during the construction of the Hoover Dam. The first hotel, El Rancho Vegas, opened up in 1941 along Highway 91. Its success inspired others to open up their own hotels along the highway which would one day become the strip. Tourists began to flock to the city over the next few decades to enjoy the casino scene and see incredible artists like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra perform.

The birth of the mega resort

It was in 1966 the businessman Howard Hughes purchased the Desert Inn hotel; this was followed by over a dozen more hotel purchases, pushing out the mobster-owned hotels that had previously dominated Las Vegas. The concept of the mega hotel came about in 1989 when Steve Wynn opened the Mirage as the first hotel resort in the city. By 1994, Las Vegas was the home of more than 86,000 hotel and motel rooms with 13 of the 20 largest mega resort hotels in the world. It was during this era that the Strip became populated with more hotels and casinos, with developments inspired by the iconic cities and countries of the globe including Egypt, Paris, New York and Rome.

Las Vegas in the 21st century

The Las Vegas of today is well and truly established as a home for entertainment and casinos — which remain the biggest source of income for the city. However, there’s no doubt that Vegas faces more competition than ever before from the virtual world, with more people than ever before opting to play at an online casino, rather than play in the old fashioned way, but Vegas will always have the advantage. For many, it’s a once in a lifetime trip that an online casino can’t replicate, but do the online equivalents help to increase interest in Vegas?

The bright lights of Vegas is attracting billions of dollars in investment as many try and get a slice of the revenue that the sector has to offer. During 2019 over 42.52 million people came to visit Las Vegas from all around the world. Domestically, it was shown to be the second most popular destination for U.S. traveller’s dream spots after New York.

These days, Las Vegas continues to thrive and be a source of entertainment for millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience what the city has to offer. With new generations becoming interested in casino games — and some incredible musical residencies continuing to be announced — Las Vegas surely will continue to be one best places to go for a unforgettable dream destination for many.

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Land-Based Casinos




What can people find at some of the biggest land-based casinos in Canada? From Niagara Falls to Toronto, there is something for everyone at casinos in Canada, including table games, slots, roulette, blackjack, and other games. There are also many poker and blackjack tournaments held throughout the year and it is easy to find jackpots or slots with free spins at the casinos. Many casinos also have hotels, bars, and numerous restaurants which are perfect for players seeking some comfort. A relaxing casino experience for all ages can be found in many different places in Canada. Choose one from below.

Choosing a casino depends on your tastes and location within Canada. Do you want to experience the grandeur and splendour of nature while placing a bet? Then head to Niagara Falls. Do you want to see a show? Choose a casino with a show that will be perfect for you. If you are looking for pure relaxation, then check out some of the casinos with spas and world-class dining. Entertainment is also a large part of the casino experience in Canada. Musicians, bands, comedians, and other types of entertainment continue to be found at all of the biggest casinos.

Some Big Casinos Near Nature

Casino Niagara is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada and the world. People from all around the globe come to experience the best of both worlds at Casino Niagara. Players have access to beauty and scenery while spending time at one of the biggest casinos in Canada. The casino has two floors with over 1200 slot machines, poker, and other table games. There are also many different restaurants and even a comedy club. The sports bar and casino was refurbished back in 2017, meaning that it has not lost any of its charm and shine.

ST Eugene Golf Resort: Casino of the Rockies is a golf and nature lovers’ paradise. The location could not be any more splendid. People can find the casino between the Rockies and Purcell Mountains. Furthermore, the casino has an interesting history after it was converted from an Indian Residential School. It was then opened in the early 2000s. St Eugene has table games, electronic roulette, baccarat, and blackjack. There is also a golf course, restaurant, bar, spa, and hotel that is highly rated in Canada. Overall games are limited so most people come for golfing and betting fun.

Caesars Windsor is famously located on the riverbank in Windsor, Ontario. Visitors from both Canada and the States frequent the casino and hotel. Players can see the Detroit and Michigan skyline from the area. There are two floors of slots, table games, and plenty of poker tables. Blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are also available at the casino. It has beautiful restaurants, a gym, bars, slots, and live sports. Check out the Titan 360™, a 10-foot tall slot machine with 5800 pounds of wins at the click of a button. It’s the largest slot machine in the world and great fun.

  • Enjoy the size of Casino de Montreal and Hard Rock Casino
  • Enjoy the big and beautiful Casino Niagara or ST Eugene Golf Resort
  • Enjoy High Culture at Elements Casino Brantford

River Rock Casino Resort – In Transit

Are you passing through Vancouver Airport and have a long transit? Hire a cab and spend some time enjoying slot machines at River Rock Casino Resort. There are slots galore and the different themes make it an enjoyable visit for all. There is even a Dungeons and Dragons slot for gamers. A fourteen-table game room can be found at the casino and international poker tournaments are held regularly. Other features include a VIP area, spa, live music, 24-hour food and drink, as well as other entertainment. Richmond is also worth a quick visit, especially for some delicious seafood.

Casino de Montreal – The Big Gun

Casino de Montreal is 526,488 square feet of casino excitement. The casino has around 20 thousand visitors each day and is one of the biggest casinos on the globe. If you are still unconvinced about the size of the place, then imagine five floors of slots and table games. 3,000 machines and 111 table games make the casino seem even more mammoth. Casino de Montreal games can be played in a smoke-free environment and many players comment on the user-friendly games and helpful staff. Complimentary drinks and top-rated gourmet food is all part of the experience at Casino de Montreal.

Hard Rock Casino – Another Big One

Hard Rock Casino is another large casino located in Vancouver, British Columbia. The casino is over 80,000 square feet, making it a big one in Canada. Hard Rock has gaming tables, slots, baccarat and a poker room. The casino includes 70 casino tables and 1,000 slots. Private rooms and high roller areas are also available. However, the Hard Rock name is known for excellent food and this is what people love about this casino. Many players comment on the quality of the food here. It even has a 1,000 seat theatre, making it great for dining and a show.

Elements Casino Brantford – Enjoy High Culture

Elements Casino Brantford is a historical gem for culture in Ontario. It is a charity casino that was established last century. It includes the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is a high society entertainment venue in Ontario. The centre is well known to performing arts enthusiasts in Ontario and Canada. Players come to see a show, enjoy some gourmet food and a game. The casino also has plenty of slots, table games, blackjack, baccarat, sic bo, three card poker, roulette, and other games. There is also a 14-table Texas Hold ‘Em poker room. Enjoy all the excitement.

River Cree Resort and Casino – Sports Lovers

River Cree Resort and Casino is a sport and gaming venue located in Edmonton that should not be overlooked. It has 39 tables of various money limits and over 1,000 slots. There are also a few different places to dine while enjoying a bet and other things to experience. There is a fitness centre, spa and a 200 room resort. However, the most interesting feature of this casino is the two hockey rinks, which are often used by the Edmonton Oilers for practice. It is possible to watch the team practice and go for a meal and some gaming fun.

For the ones who fancy playing online we recomend visiting!

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Top 8 Online Games That Kids Can Play Without Much Parental Supervision




The gaming industry has been quite widespread since its inception. With the advent of globalisation and technology, this industry is reaching new heights. Kids these days are more inclined to the internet than they are to books. 

The internet has more information about everything than anywhere else and is very easily accessible. This further makes some parental control necessary. Most parents are worried about their kids playing violent video games that can further affect their mental health. 

Nevertheless, you cannot stop a kid from finding ways to log in to the internet, nor can you keep them away from playing video games. You can always supervise them on their media consumption. But that also gets tiresome after a point. This is when it gets necessary for you to introduce them to games that are not only kid-friendly but are also of their liking. 

If you are in a similar situation, looking for a way out, this article will surely help. Further mentioned are a few games that you can let your kid play while you concentrate on your work and well-being.  

1. Gummy Drop

Finding games that you can let your kids play without supervision is quite a task. With games like Gummy Drop, you do not have to worry one bit. With beautiful graphics and interesting gameplay, it does not take long for your kid to get hooked to the game. 

With new cities and interesting content being added almost every day, this 3 puzzle game is a good choice for your kids to play. It also connects to your Facebook account, letting you play with your other friends. It is also a nice way for your kids to improve their general knowledge and problem-solving skills. 

2. Skribbl

If you were a fan of Pictionary when you were growing up, you should definitely introduce your kids to this game. While the rules of Pictionary remain the same, this game improves on the visual aspect. With all of their friends in the same server, your kid can easily get hooked to this game. 

Easy and fun to play – once the server is set up, each player will get a word that they have to draw on the screen. The motive of the game is to help the other players guess your word. Each round chooses players at random. While it is advised that you use a tablet and a stylus to play this, you can always sketch with your finger. 

3. Ludo Supreme

A classic in every sense of the word, online ludo needs no introduction. There are some new features that are added in the game version of this app. It lets you connect to your Paytm account and earn real money while playing the game. 

Along with such amazing features, you can also play it for fun with your family or friends. It has other versions as well that come in different languages, especially in India, given the diverse nature of the country. You can download the LUDO for your android phones

4. Houseparty

There is no doubt that Houseparty has been one of the most popular downloads this pandemic. This is a networking app that lets you add as many as seven friends and play different games face-to-face via video calls. 

The novel approach of phone gaming made this a very widely chosen app. While playing games with your friends is always fun, this app lets you see and talk to them as well. Some of the most played games in this app include Heads Up!, Chips and Guac, Trivia and Quick Draw. With such amazing features and games, this is a worthwhile download for your kid. 

5. Monopoly

Monopoly is a very interesting game, which you can get your kids. Along with being fun, it can be played by any age group and is always stimulating your brain. This board game is an all-time classic that is now available on mobile platforms. 

The good thing about it being on the phone is that now your kids can play it with their friends as well, and all from the convenience of your home. 

6. Rocket League

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to play soccer but with cars, this game is exactly that. You get to pick a car at the beginning of the game in an oversized field with an oversized ball. Then start the five-minute matches where you have to score goals against them. 

To make it even more fun, this game allows the player to add up to three friends on the same server. It also has options where you can choose between casual play and ranked online play. Nevertheless, in both gameplays, you can earn new cosmetic looks for the car and get a chance to score more goals. 

7. UNO

Another all-time classic, UNO has been a very celebrated game all these years. The original company of UNO came out with the online version that is available on both iOS and Android devices. Since they are the copyright holders, you already know, the gameplay cannot get any better than this. 

Nevertheless, since it is a multiplayer game, you can play it both against your friends or strangers. It’s fun aesthetics, and new rules make it more interesting. It now has different modes of play and tournaments as well. You can also partner up and play 2v2 to win together. With servers available all around the world, you can connect to anyone you know. 

8. Guess The Word

Very obvious from the name itself, this game is known to be one of the most popular downloads in this list. It not only helps your kids spend some unsupervised time with themselves but also ensures that they learn new things in the process. 

The game contains different levels which get harder as your kid progresses, further making it more interesting and attractive. If you have some free time on your hands, you can also jump in and play with your kids.

Final Thoughts

So, these are the 8 games that kids of all ages can play without any tension. Above all, parents don’t have to panic or keep an eye on them all the time. 

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