So Many Ways To Keep Them Busy

Posted: Apr 27, 2003 at 0000 hrs
No matter how well Cliff Richard crooned We’re all going on a summer holiday, not too many of us are actually doing it. Or even if we are, the fact remains that one has to come back to the sweltering heat. And who knows how dull and boring the summer can be better than children? Imagine sitting in front of a television all day or reading about the adventures of Harry Potter and the Famous Five for the nth time! Well, here are some options for those of you who were wishing there was something more your child could do.

A number of institutes as well as schools are organising summer activities for children. And you could pick from these keeping in mind what your child is interested in. The best idea is to let the child decide what he would like to do and not force him to learn anything.

If your child is of an adventurous bent, iDiscoveri’s Youreka is the best bet. The adventure company’s programmes have been widely appreciated and more than 6,000 children have attended Youreka summer programmes in the last six years. The programmes aim at making the learning experience fun.

iDiscoveri Youreka is an eight-day programme specially designed for 9-17 year olds. It aims at instilling confidence through engaging activities. Each participant chooses a major activity, which is conducted over five hours each day and aims at skill acquisition. In addition, the participants also go through a number of ‘minor’ activities.

The major activities include rock climbing, trekking, white water rafting, outdoor skills, rifle shooting, photography, theatre, aero modelling, mountain biking and life expeditions. The minor activities include astronomy, first aid, campus radio/newspaper, painting, music/choreography, backpacking and trekking. The camps in Sitalkhet and Tons in Uttaranchal and Tithan in Himachal Pradesh will vary according to the activities that your child picks. The eight-day summer programme costs Rs 6,900 and the 10-day life expedition programme, Rs 9,900. The travel costs vary from destination to destination. You can enroll from Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Chandigarh.

Similarly, many other agencies are conducting various activities for kids in various cities. Take your pick:

Habitat World has activities for children aged 5 to 18 years at the India Habitat Centre (IHC). The hand pottery workshop is from May 12-22. The workshop costs Rs 1,500 and is open for children aged 5-10 years. If you want your child to pick up some paper skills, there are three options. On May 18 is a day-long workshop in mask making for children aged 9 to 13 years; this costs Rs 200. On May 24-25, there’s a two-day workshop in paper gift bags and boxes; this costs Rs 500 and is for children from 13 to 16 years in age. The origami workshop (May 26-28) is for children aged 9-15. Then there is sticker painting on June 14, which costs Rs 150 and is open to children aged 10-16.

If your child is the kind who can’t hold his interest in any activity for more than one day, there’s a marbelling workshop on May 9, best of waste on May 10, glass painting on May 24, coconut marvels on May 31 and many more. Ask for a brochure from IHC.

If you want your child to use his holidays doing something more useful, there’s a Maths workshop (May 12-28 May and June 2-18) for children aged 7-12 years; this costs Rs 1,500. There is also a confidence building workshop (May 12-15) for children aged 9-14 years costing Rs 750. Then, there is a four-day workshop on positive thinking (19-22 May) for 11-15 year olds for Rs 750.

The National School of Drama (NSD) is also organising its annual summer workshops for children. Forms can be collected from NSD and must be submitted before April 30. The workshop is on from May 14 to June 15. It costs Rs 500 and has six centres: Amity International School, Noida; DAV Public School, Shrestha Vihar; Great Mission Public School, Sector 5, Dwarka; Modern School, Barakhamba Road; Sri Ram School, Vasant Vihar, and Salwan Public School, Rajendra Nagar.

If you want your child to dabble in a number of activities, YMCA’s summer camps are a good option. Right from dance to music to karate to art and craft, the courses are a good combination of activities. The camp is for children aged 3-14 years and costs Rs 1,200 plus transport. Also available is a day camp, on June 9-20, for children aged 10-14 years. The course costs Rs 1,000 and offers activities similar to the summer camp. This year, YMCA is also organising treks from May onwards. The two-week trek costs Rs 2,000-2,500 and operates in a group of 30 students.

Theatre is an extensive part of Mumbai and what better than to let your child pick up some finer points of theatre from experts? Theatre personality Nadira Zaheer Babbar’s Hindi theatre group, Ekjute, is holding two theatre workshops for children aged 6-14 years. This exercise has been going on for the past 15 years. The fortnight long workshop, from April 21 to May 4, aims at providing ‘extensive training’ in theatre orientation, not only in acting, but also in various other aspects of theatre such as stage movements, dialogue delivery, improvisation, character building, voice and speech and the intricacies of music and dance. By the end of the workshop, participants will be given certificates, and the most eligible students will be offered a chance to join Ekjute’s Children Theatre.

The fee is Rs 2,000 and the workshop is conducted from 9 am to 11 am at Vashi and 3.30 pm to 5.30 pm at Andheri. Says Ms Babbar, “Theatre is not just acting. It is much more than that. It is life. It teaches children teamwork, coordination, discipline, the value of hard work, punctuality and humility. All this without scolding and sermonising.”

Raell Padamsee, daughter of theatre personalities Alyque and the late Pearl Padamsee, has her own workshop, called Academy for Creative Expression (ACE). Thoughout the summer, ACE will present ‘Mumbai Matterz 2003’, a whole new set of workshops designed to unleash a child’s potential. Says Ms Padamsee, “Each workshop is aimed at surprise and delight with imagination building, art exercises, dramatics, music and, of course, tonnes of fun with an informal final performance at various venues.” The classes are aimed at children aged from two-and-a-half to 13 years. Each course is priced at Rs 1,500, while a pick of two courses makes the participant eligible for a discount.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has come up with ‘Wildlife Exploration’, a five-day wildlife orientation camp for students aged 10-15 years. The camp will make children explore and learn to love the wilderness of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It will also provide the participants opportunities to acquire knowledge and inculcate in themselves the interest, values, commitments and skills required to protect and improve the environment. The camp will be held in three batches, April 29-May 3, May 14-18 and June 4-8; the fee is Rs 3,000 and the venue the Conservation Education Centre, near Film City, Goregaon (East).

Now for some cooking and kitchen skills. Little Chef, run by Bina Bhansali and Dina Desai, holds classes in basic cooking at Napean Sea Road for children as young as six years to 12 years. They are taught basic ‘fun cooking’ and familiarised with kitchen gadgets. Says Ms Bhansali, “It isn’t serious cooking, but they are taught how to shell peas and string fresh beans. We also teach them to use sprouts and green vegetables in recipes as children normally avoid eating these.” The class consists of eight children in a batch for two hours from 10 am to 12 noon for five days at a fee of Rs 1,500. The children are taught 10 recipes.

The Shilpi Summer Academy in suburban Kandivli has been conducting summer workshops for the past 18 years at the Swami Vivekanand International School. Nina Tijoriwala, the person behind the academy, says it has detailed programmes comprising of five phases for children aged from four years to 14 years. Phase one has yoga, phase two stresses on values, self esteem and creative thinking with attribute listing by psychologists and counsellors. These classes last an hour from 11.30 am to 12.30 pm Monday to Saturday. Phase three is a dance and theatre workshop from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm Monday to Saturday. Creativity with science projects and cooking constitutes phase four; 2 pm to 3.30 pm Monday to Saturday. Phase five is fun time with games and logic building along with career orientation from 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm Monday to Saturday. Fees vary from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,500, depending on the age of the child and it includes drop and pickup, swimming coaching, breakfast, lunch and materials.

Ms Tijoriwala also conducts a Spring Club Sports Camp, which teaches skating, badminton and squash with fees ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 600 for children aged above six for 45 minutes.

For bookworms, bookstore Crossword, has a holiday package called ‘Crossword Summer Holiday’ from April 18 to May 11 at all its stores in Mumbai. To participate in any one activity of this three-week long promotion, customers are required to purchase merchandise worth Rs 50 from the store. The store provides some holiday reading for both children and adults in the family, along with fun-filled activities.

Sriram, CEO and managing director, Crossword, says, “This is being done with an aim to unleash the creative talent in little children, and provide an opportunity for parents and children to spend quality time together.” Accordingly, families can enrich themselves with a variety of books, self-development workshops, book reading sessions and treasure hunts in parent-child teams.

Kinnari Cultural Centre, a part of the Kinnari Congress (a women’s organisation), has a workshop for children on a weekly basis, which began on April 21 and will go on till the first week of June at its premises on Bhulabhai Desai Road, Mumbai. A tiny tot of two years can learn clay modelling or indulge in play activity, a three-year old can learn gymnastics, drawing, calligraphy and craft, while children aged five and above can learn yoga and aerobics, ceramic and stone painting, folk dance, rock climbing, murals and a host of other activities, including memory concentration camps. The workshop also includes drawing, chess and judo competitions. The fee is Rs 400 per class of one hour duration each for five days.

Go on, let your child discover his metier.