Marlisa Doubell, a South African actor, producer, drama teacher, mom, and author has released a second book in her popular Ms Mol’s series – titled Ms Mol’s Favourite Games. The first book in the series, Ms Mol’s Favourite Things was released in April 2022.
In a world dominated by screens and digital devices, Doubell’s new book aims to inspire young kids to put down their gadgets, step outside, and rediscover the simple pleasure of classic games.
Suited for children aged 2-7 years, the story serves as a delightful reminder of the amusements that generations before them fondly played, and cherished. Young readers embark on an exciting adventure with Ms Mol as she lists her favourite games like hide and seek, hopscotch, hula hooping, and musical statues , all whilst embracing the joy of physical play and creativity. These games are not only fun and interactive, but they also cost nothing and can be played anywhere, fostering a sense of nostalgia for the good old-fashioned and timeless games that have been loved for generations. “The purpose of both books is to bring upliftment. Ms Mol helps her readers discover and focus on things that bring joy. The concept I use is similar to how a gratitude list brings us adults back into the present moment. It’s amazing to see children’s little faces light up when they speak about things they love,’” says Doubell.
Focus on children’s mental and physical wellbeing
Inspired by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marlisa embarked on her literary journey to address a critical aspect of children’s well-being—happiness and mental health. During the initial lockdown in South Africa in March 2020, she noticed a significant decline in her niece’s happiness levels, which she attributed to the restrictions and uncertainties of the time. This revelation prompted her to create a series of books aimed at promoting happiness, mental well-being, and physical activity among children.
“I wrote both books during the lockdowns as my heart went out to young kids stuck at home at such a crucial age in development. In my own childhood, my father used to encourage us to find cheerful things to focus on. He would ask us what our favourite things in the world were and we had to list them, talk about them, and go and do them. I have learnt that life will always be filled with challenges. What is important is how we learn to cope through them. This is an essential life skill,” she says.
Founder of Kidz Discovery, Kathy Rautenbach, highlighted in her research paper ‘ The Cost of COVID-19 on Children’s Mental Health in South Africa – Averting the Next Tidal Wave’ it’s important to promote curiosity and resilience in young children. “One sure way to do this, is for parents to connect meaningfully, minimise digital distractions, create joyful opportunities for family engagement such as a Friday or Saturday Family Game Night. Kids from as young as two can play Snap, engage in memory games, or play ‘I spy’ even in the car. Board or card games also help preschoolers deal with winning and losing and that builds resilience, a skill so needed for good mental health. Ms Mol’s Favourite Games and Activity extensions are perfectly placed to inspire joyful experiences.”
The heartwarming tales of Ms Mol and her favourite games provide a wonderful platform for parents and caregivers to connect with their children actively. Ms Mol’s Favourite Games engages young readers by prompting them with questions and encouraging them to share their own passions and interests. This interactive element fosters language development, imagination, creativity, memory, intellect, independence and very importantly physical play.
Marlisa aims to rekindle the spirit of outdoor play, promoting crucial motor skills and healthy physical activity. The book pays homage to the games we all cherished in our childhoods, long before smartphones, tablets, and YouTube and social media stole the spotlight.
Additionally, the accompanying Ms Mol’s Colouring Book – a beautifully illustrated third book in the series – offers a calming and creative outlet for young minds. Encouraging creativity and artistry through colour, this book again offers a welcome escape from screens and technology.