Page 1



wo roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)

A year ago, we decided to take the road less travelled with a strong desire to reach out to parents - to create an awareness of the importance of their role as parents; to realize how vital it is to know, to understand and to connect with their children; to help parents pause and reflect on their own views about their children and how they parent them. This month we have reached an important milestone – we have completed our first year of publication of Parent Circle and we are proud to bring to you the first issue of our second year. This last year, has been a challenging but fulfilling journey. We have taken major strides in reaching out to parents. It always brings us great joy when someone tells us how something we have published has helped them in some way. We have also launched our website which we hope will become an additional resource for parents to gain information and to connect with each other. As we celebrate our first anniversary, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you the reader for cheering us on and infusing us with the energy needed to keep us moving forward. A big thank you to our numerous writers, contributors and supporters for making this journey possible. I would also like to acknowledge my very enthusiastic team for stepping up to every challenge in creative and innovative ways. This issue is a very special one. Instead of our regular articles, we bring you 108 ideas with a very hands on, practical approach to ‘nurture curiosity, creativity and character’ in your child. These ideas are meant to spark interest and curiosity in the child. As you will notice, we have not necessarily given complete solutions to all the ideas. We want you to encourage the child to use these ideas as a starting point and explore and expand beyond what we have suggested. This time we have another special for you. Rochelle Rao, the winner of the Miss India International 2012 pageant and her parents share their experiences on how they have bonded together as a family in support of each other. Interested in knowing your parenting style? Take the quiz under ‘What’s your Parenting Style?’ to find out. As we embark on our journey ahead, we look forward to your continued support and encouragement. We would like to know what issues are uppermost in your mind as a parent, how we can improve your experience as a reader and how we can further support you as parents. We also encourage you to share your views and experiences so that other parents can benefit from it. It is said, “Every change starts in a small step” (Ron Stolero). We have taken our first small step and we are now moving forward enthusiastically with the hope of reaching out to even more parents like you. May 13 being Mother’s Day, I wish all mothers, “A very Happy Mother’s Day!”


Contents 4 Your Word

g Introducin

Letters to the Editor


What’s your Parenting Style? Quiz yourself

10 Interview Miss India International 2012 12 Lighter Vein The ‘H’ Word 15

16 Brain Gym 20

World of Imagination


Do-it-yourself Toys


Retro Games


Games on Wheels


Expend that Energy


World Explorer


History Mystery


Tech Tonic


Young Scientist


Invention Corner




Nurture Nature


Lines & Strokes EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Nalina Ramalakshmi


Crafty Creations


Designer Forum


Room Makeover



Li’l Chef


Book Nook


Writers’ Guild


Voice your Thought


Looney Tunes


Giving Tree


Lead thy Kin


Sense & Sensibility






C Ganesh S Thirumalai SUBSCRIPTION

Dolly Preethi Martina M PUBLISHED BY

Nalina Ramalakshmi Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. (A Ramco Group Associate) 8/14, First Cross Street, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020 PRINTED BY

Canara Traders and Printers Pvt. Ltd. Type II/33, V.S.I. Estate, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai 600 041 TO ADVERTISE OR SUBSCRIBE Call: 044 24461066/67/68 or Email: Parent Circle is published by Nalina Ramalakshmi, Director, Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd. All editorial material including editorial comments, opinions and statement of facts appearing in this publication, represent the views of its respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the publishers. Information carried in Parent Circle is gathered from sources considered to be reliable, but the accuracy of all information cannot be guaranteed. The publication of any advertisements or listings is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered.

ear p. H

ts! r e p x he E



Your Word

e. S t u n i



I am a special educator and many articles in the April issue such as the ones on dyslexia, labelling children and the mainstreaming of children were meaningful and relevant, especially to our field. It gave me an opportunity to reflect on and review my own work. The article on summer camps was also informative. I must compliment Parent Circle for its dedicated effort to maintain the quality of content without dilution for commercial reasons.

AARATHI AJITHKUMAR, Special Educator, Chennai The cover story ‘Building Resilience’ comprehensively addresses most of the issues faced by children fearing failure. The article on dyslexia provides a valuable insight on how to identify and work with dyslexic children. Sadly, despite the tremendous advances in medicine, the numbers of specially-abled children are only growing.

Are you planning any interesting event for children or parents?

The article on summer camps is timely, giving us ideas on how to zero in on the child’s requirements, assess summer camps and monitor issues in the camps. I would have liked to see some ‘Parent Speaks’ on various summer camp experiences that would have provided interesting views.

V JAGANNATHAN, Chennai I had attended Howard Gardner’s session on Multiple Intelligence in Chennai but I found that your article in the March issue presented the subject in a more engaging way. The language was reader-friendly, and the concept was made simple enough to be understood even by high school children. In fact, I made a high school student do a project on this subject, based upon this article.

List it in our EVENTS section for a wide reach!

The teen section is also interesting. The teen sleep article in a past issue was an eye-opener.

Gift yourself or gift a friend an EZINE subscription for just `200 to read the current & back issues of Parent Circle magazine

KAUSALYA SRINIVASAN, Correspondent & Principal, Akshara Mat. Hr. Sec. School, Madurai I liked the Viewpoint on failure written by Ashok Rao. Parents must teach their children to be prepared for failure as much as success.

Pay with any Mastercard/VISA Credit or Debit card or through NetBanking


n n n

Directory n Classifieds n Camps & Workshops n Education & Enrichment Parent Forum n Message Board n Discussion Board n Events Articles & Information n Read, subscribe, advertise in the Ezine

And more... Please send in your letter with the subject line “Letters to the Editor”, before May 15, 2012, to or send them to PARENT CIRCLE, 3rd Floor, Sri Renga Vihar, 8/14 First Cross St, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, India.

n n n



What’s your parenting style? Authoritarian Authoritative Indulgent Neglectful Quiz designed by Saras Bhaskar, a counsellor affiliated with the Chennai Counselors Foundation

Put a  against your answers. 1. It is your 15th wedding anniversary. Your children wish to organize a grand party on the eve of your wedding day. But your husband and you wish to celebrate it at the orphanage close to your heart. What do you do? a. Inform the children that it is your day and that you wish to celebrate it the way you want to. b. Allow your children to take over and organize the party to please your children. c. Spend lunch time at the orphanage and attend the party your children are organizing in the evening. d. Tell them that you are in no mood for celebration as there is no need to celebrate a marriage. 2. Your family consists of six members. Your in-laws are diabetics while your husband has high cholesterol. Your teenage children love Italian and Chinese food but you prefer simple north Indian food. What meals do you serve your family? a. I will follow north Indian, diabetic and cholesterolfree diet at home. My children can eat out if they want. b. Prepare a weekly menu in advance to ensure a balanced diet, keeping in mind the preferences of all members. c. I will follow a diabetic and cholesterol-free diet at home. Even the children have to eat the same food as eating out is bad. d. I will serve whatever I like, irrespective of their preferences. 3. Your daughter has cut her hair short and streaked it, too, without informing you about it. You a. Refuse to give her permission to attend her friend’s birthday party. b. Will tell your spouse that she has the right to do what she wants with her hair. c. Will tell her that you are upset and that you would have wanted her to discuss it with you. d. Will ignore it as you don’t care what she does with her hair. 4. Your son performs exceedingly well in his music class. What will you say to him? a. I will buy you an iPad for making me proud. b. Anyone who works hard will do well. c. For the efforts you put in, you should have done much better. d. You have done well. You worked hard for it.

5. Your daughter has been caught cheating on a school test and you are informed. How will you handle this? a. I will punish my daughter so that she does not copy in the future. b. I will apologize to the teacher for my daughter’s behaviour. c. I will teach her about behaviours that will cause trouble and teach skills that will show how to stay away from them. d. I will not interfere as it is her problem. 6. Your son tells you that his friend Ashok is a drug addict. You will a. Tell your son that you do not care what his friend does for he will face the consequences of his actions. b. Tell your son that you will buy him a BlackBerry if he stopped being friends with Ashok. c. Tell your son to convince Ashok to stop using drugs, failing which your son will inform his friend’s parents. d. Warn your son strictly against being friends with Ashok. 7. I am doing everything for my child so that he takes care of me in my old age. a. Even if I did everything for my child, he is anyway going to ignore me in my old age. b. Let him lead his life, we will lead ours. c. Why not! It is his obligation. d. Certainly not. 8. What do you think is the main objective of parenting? It is a. To let your children be happy by allowing them to do whatever they want. b. To make sure that children always obey your orders. c. To provide children with just food, clothing and shelter. d. To make sure that children are taught the life skills needed to be disciplined and are able to make their own choices. 9. Your daughter lost a diamond ring that has been with the family for generations. Now, your mother-in-law wants to see the missing heirloom. What will you do? a. You will say that you lost the ring to protect your daughter. b. You will tell your mother-in-law that you slapped your daughter hard for losing the family heirloom. c. You will tell her that your daughter lost the ring and is sorry for her carelessness. d. You will say that she never gave it to you in the first place to protect your daughter and yourself.

10. Your children are playing when suddenly the elder one hits the younger one. What will you do? a. You will scold both of them and ask them to stop play for an hour. b. You won’t interfere as children will always hit each other while playing. c. You will ignore and pretend you didn’t watch the younger one being hit. d. You will tell your older child it is not right to hit people, make him say sorry, and teach him how to resolve conflicts without force. 11. You go to a restaurant for lunch with your colleagues and at a nearby table, you see your daughter and a boy holding hands. You a. Pretend you have not seen her and proceed to your table. b. Walk over to their table and drag her out. c. Walk over to their table and greet the boy with familiarity to protect your daughter. d. Walk over to their table, greet them and proceed to your table. 12. Your 17-year-old son returns home smelling of alcohol. You bring him in and a. Tell your spouse that the boy is just like his uncle. b. Take care of him and speak to him later. c. Strongly reprimand him and question why he is bringing disgrace to the family. d. Inform your spouse that kids this age need to experiment and that is exactly what he has done. 13. You want your daughter to become a doctor while her Dad wants her to be a lawyer like him. But you are not sure what exactly your daughter wants. What will you do? a. Let my daughter follow her own wishes without consulting us. b. I alone will decide as I know what is best for her. c. We will discuss with her and determine together based on her interests, skills and abilities. d. I really don’t care what career she pursues later. 14. Your 16-year-old son has been invited by his friend Sunil for an overnight beach party. When your child asks for your permission, you will a. Tell him that you will decide whether he should go or not. b. Say that he should check with his Dad. c. Ask your son to give you the contact number of Sunil’s parents so that you can discuss the logistics of the party and then give consent. d. Buy him clothes so that he looks smart at the party.

The table below matches your answers with a particular parenting style. Circle the answer you have selected for each question. The column with the most circled answers reflects your dominant parenting style. Question No. Authoritarian










































































You may find that you are somewhere in between. Or you may congratulate yourself as you find your style is authoritative. If you find yourself to be an indulgent or authoritarian parent, there is no need to panic. There are many instances where nonauthoritative parents have reared well-adjusted and happy children. Again, the temperament of a child may also be a factor in influencing your parenting style. Think about what kind of adults you want your children to become, and make suitable changes to your style after you have considered all these factors.

WHAT THE STYLES MEAN Authoritarian Authoritarian parents expect their children to follow strict rules as they believe in strong discipline. Channels for negotiations are blocked, and if the children break rules, harsh punishments are meted out. This style of parenting does not take into account the views and wishes of the children, and unwanted child behaviour is severely punished. Such parents would say things like, “Because I say so,” “Because I am your Mom”, or “Because I am your Dad.”It is believed that while children of authoritarian parents often perform well academically, they are at risk of becoming adults with poor social skills and low self-esteem.

Authoritative (or Democratic/Balanced) This is the gold standard of parenting. Authoritative parents lay down the rules or ‘guidelines’ and do so in a democratic fashion, keeping in mind their children’s viewpoints. They also tell children the reasons behind such rules. Such parents are affectionate and engaged, and responsive to the needs of their children. But when the situation demands, they will be strict and adopt a nononsense approach. Such parents will say, “Fine, let us think through this”, “Let us find more acceptable solutions”, or “May be we should talk about it and then decide.” Children of such parents usually: • Are assertive

• Do well at school and are happy • Are kind and responsible • Become independentthinking adults • Are confident & cooperative

social skills and high self-esteem. However, such children may get involved in risky behaviour and do not hold themselves accountable for their behaviour.

Indulgent (or Permissive) Parents who favour this style love their children so much that they cannot say ‘no’ to anything that their children want. They are unable to set boundaries and believe in having a friendly relationship with their children. They can also be unpredictable and inconsistent in their behaviour towards their children.

Neglectful Parents who adopt this style are uncommunicative and unresponsive to the needs of their children. While they ensure that their children's basic survival needs like food, shelter and education are met, they are not much attached to the parenting experience and abdicate discipline.

Parents will say,“We are best friends” or “I am not her father but her best friend.”

According to researchers, children of such parents may experience problems in cognition, emotional skills, attachment, and social skills.

Children of such indulgent parents often have better


“My parents

are my spiritual mentors…” Femina Miss India International 2012 ROCHELLE MARIA RAO stands tall and smiling, her slender frame elegantly sheathed in a brick-red gown. For a 23-year-old, she is remarkably poised wearing her success, minus any attitude one usually associates with newly-crowned celebrities. It may be because the Rao household is no stranger to fame. There is already a celebrity in the family–her older sister Paloma, a VJ with a music channel. Affable, down-to-earth and vivacious, Rochelle’s eyes sparkle with enthusiasm as she reminisces fondly to SHASHWATHI SANDEEP about how her parents, Dr Nicolas Vincent Rao and Wendy Rao, shaped her life and stood by her on the long road to success.

You are one of the very few Chennaiites to win the Miss India title. How does it feel? It feels great. It took time for the impact of the achievement to sink into my psyche. My name was announced as the winner, and I took to the ramp; only then did it hit me that I had actually won! What role did your parents play in this win? My parents are my spiritual mentors. They taught me to have faith in God. They taught me that sticky situations will resolve themselves for the best outcome. I have tried and tested this philosophy and it has worked out well for me. They taught me to never give up and to follow my dreams. Our father taught us to stand up for what we believed in. In our family, love comes first. We always forgive and forget. My parents have supported me and been with me whenever I needed them. I can truly vouch for my family being the source of my strength. Many parents feel that modelling is a dark career and do not allow their children to enter this profession. What do you have to say to them? Every field has a dark aspect to it and modelling is not an exception. All I can say is, if you don’t want to get dirty, don’t play with dirt. Modelling has good sides to it. Focus on this and avoid dubious shortcuts. Play safe, trust God and be assured. Life is not always easy. Success is not the only phase of life. What did you learn from your siblings? When I was 16 years old, I lost my eldest brother. He was in the US Army. There is a huge age difference between my twin brothers and my sister and me. But he was the first model in our family and he inspired me to become one. His bold and confident attitude rubbed off on me. My sister Paloma is my mentor. She is

Paloma, Nicolas, Rochelle and Wendy Rao a good dancer, she plays the guitar and has many talents. I have a responsibility of living up to her expectations. How do you spend family time? We are a very talkative family. We talk and waste so much time just deciding where to go if we want to go out that we end up not going anywhere. Our fun time is usually at home – we invite friends over, Dad plays the guitar, and we sing, dance and chat.

Meet the PARENTS What kind of an environment did you provide for them? NICOLAS: There were no rigid rules. I have encouraged my children to chase their dreams, and did not pose obstacles. In my case, my father wanted me to study medicine though I had a fascination for aeronautical engineering. I studied medicine for nine long years but did not practice it. Children should be allowed to develop their interests, and given the freedom to make career choices. Otherwise, it gets hard on them and they start rebelling. Any advice that you gave Rochelle before she entered modelling? WENDY: Rochelle was just two when she began modelling for advertisements. Paloma guided her, so our role was minimal. We told her to finish her education before entering this field and the related competitions as education is a basic necessity. We always told her before a competition, “Even if you don’t win, we will still love you, but don’t fear

failure.” What makes your family close-knit? WENDY: As parents, we ensured the bonding and involvement with our children right from the start. We were able to talk to our children about taboo subjects such as childbirth and physical relationships without difficulty. This needs to be done in this day and age so that children do not blunder into situations. Rather, they become aware of the pros and cons of typical adolescent pressures, and do not make impetuous decisions that they would regret later. We also gave our children the freedom to do many things like going out to parties and staying out late. But the trust factor between us is very strong and our children never stepped out of bounds. What is your message for all the parents? WENDY: By the time a child turns four, 80% of his learning capacity is over. So talk to them as much as possible. Teach them about God. Always be there for your children. Encourage them - your words mean a lot. Give them their freedom and they will understand their boundaries. Being overprotective does not help. Be open as a family, allow them to ask questions and share opinions. Accept them as they are. NICOLAS: Trust your children. Don’t cast children in your mould. God made us unique. Help them to be themselves and allow them to make their decisions. Strengthen their weaknesses and build on their strengths. Make them think realistically and help them face the world.

Lighter Vein



new business opened just down the street from my house. It's called “Rent a Husband,” No kidding. My husband says that they probably send a guy over to watch basketball and fall asleep on your couch. Nope. Turns out, you can call to have a man (presumably someone else’s husband) come and do stuff, like clean out your gutters or fix your back stairs. Frankly, if I was going to pay good money to rent a husband, I wouldn’t waste him on household chores. I’d rent one who liked to dance and bring him to my nephew’s bar mitzvah or lease a man who wouldn’t grumble about spending Friday night seeing a romantic comedy instead of a movie with car chases and submarines. But I already have a husband and even though I will have to wait until the next Hugh Grant movie comes out on video, and beg my husband to dance at the bar mitzvah, he’s a good guy with a steady job. The job is especially attractive, because when something breaks in our house, my husband doesn’t grab his toolbox, he reaches for his wallet. It’s true; my husband is talented in many areas. He can name the entire 1976 lineup of the Philadelphia Phillies and

his grilled steak tips are perfection - but he isn’t handy. Neither of us is. In fact, at our house, the word is practically a profanity we call it the “H” word. There are handy guys out there. I’ve seen them at Cub Scout meetings where their sons race Pinewood Derby cars that look like they were engineered by NASA. The sleek lines are testimony to the dad’s professional wood shop and prowess with a lathe. Our son’s car is slopped with poster paint and festooned with Pokémon stickers, but he made it all by himself. When the other kid’s car wins first place, the kid gets the trophy, but it’s the dad who deserves it - for being handy. When our son’s car careens off the track, we tell ourselves that building character is more important than winning a race. Our son, whose character is still under construction, sulks in the backseat as we drive home. Handy guys are like sled dogs in the snow; they leave their mark everywhere. They remember to put down the toilet seat, and then stand on it to install sky lights in the bathroom. They watch the NCAA Playoffs and during half time they wire their family room for surround sound. When their Internet connection is down they know how to get it back up. Handy guys see a problem and they get their drill bits. My husband sees a

problem and he gets an estimate. It’s hard not to be a little envious. In my neighbor’s back yard, there’s a tree house that my kids adore and that I covet. It’s got more square footage than my entire first floor. The kitchen is nicer too. That’s because the dad who lives next door to us is handy. But unlike the chickenpox or crabgrass, being handy isn’t contagious. You can’t catch it from your neighbors. Instead, you have to endure watching them tackle one fabulous home improvement project after another. New front steps, a backyard patio, bunk beds, and a home theater. It’s enough to make you dread the weekend. “Dad, can you build a real batting cage in our back yard?” my son asks my cornered husband. “Joey’s dad made one and it’s awesome!” Errr…I’m not sure that we have room for something like that,” Harris stalls. “But if you grab your glove, we can have a game of catch.” You know, it would be easy to rent a husband to build a batting cage in the yard or hire a hubby to install granite counter tops in the tree house, but I don’t think there’s any place where you can rent a dad.

Great Offers with Parent Circle









` 720

` 490

` 230


` 1440

` 950

` 490




+ Dentistree Privelege Card


SEND MAGAZINE TO same as billing address

Name: Mr/ Ms……………….............. .......................................................... Address…………………................... .......................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... City……………….............................. .......................................................... State………………............................ Pin………………............................... Tel.No…………………..................... Mobile no. ……………………………. Date of Birth......………………........... Email…………………….....................

Name: Mr/ Ms……………….......... ...................................................... Address…………………................ ....................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... City………………........................... ....................................................... State………………........................ Pin………………............................ Tel.No. ..………………................... Mobile No. ………………............... Date of Birth......………………....... Email…………………….................


No. of children .................................. Ages ................................................. Attending School .............................. .......................................................... ..........................................................


+‘One World’ + Dentistree Privelege Card from Tulika

PC Lite Backpack

Mail the filled in form to Shri Harini Media Pvt. Ltd., 8/14, III Floor, Sri Renga Vihar, First Cross Street, Karpagam Gardens, Adyar, Chennai 600020, along with a cheque / DD favouring SHRI HARINI MEDIA PVT. LTD. For further details, call 044 24461067 or email us at

I agree to the terms & conditions. Name................................................. Signature..........................................


PC Lite Backpack



` 360

2 YEARS ` 650

Subscriber’s Name ................................... Subscription No. ....................................... Ph no. ....................................................... Email: .......................................................


Dentistree Privelege Card

Subscribe online using your credit/debit card or through Netbanking at EZINE subscription only `200 per year to access current & past issues of Parent Circle This is a limited time offer. Rate & Offer valid only in India. Allow 4-6 weeks for processing of your subscription. SHRI HARINI MEDIA PVT LTD. reserves the right to cancel or extend or discontinue this offer or any part thereof at any time without giving any reason or prior notice. SHRI HARINI MEDIA PVT LTD. is not responsible for any postal delay. Conditions apply. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent courts and forums in Chennai jurisdiction.

g n i c u d o r t In



Brain Gym

ind games help in keeping the children occupied, particularly when they do not have outdoor activities to keep them busy. They are food for the brain, developing memory, thinking and logical skills. The ideas below can be modified to suit the child’s age and level of learning.



Make Your Own Dominoes AS there are 49 tiles in total, every


fraction numeral should be part of a group of seven.


THE remaining six tiles for the 1/2

You can create domino

fraction will carry 1/2 on the left

vocabulary games, too.

side while the circles on the right will

For younger children, create tiles

represent the remaining fractions -

with opposite words, a word and

1/3, 2/3, 1/4, 3/4, 1/6 and 5/6.

a picture or words and colours

SIMILARLY, create tiles for

or rhyming words (mat/cat,

each fraction.

right/flight and the like).

YOU can print all the tiles from

Counting dominoes are another


- http://www.dr-mikes-math-games-

idea with dots on one side and

Unruled paper, Sketch pen,

numerals on the other.

Cardboard/thick paper




tile from his pile. Match the numeral

PASTE paper on a cardboard. Cut it

PLACE the tiles face down on the

and circle fractions with either a

into 49 rectangular tiles.

table and shuffle them.

numeral or circle fraction or you can

DIVIDE each tile into two. The

EACH player takes 7 dominoes.

match a numeral fraction with only a

left side will show the fractions in

Leave the extra tiles in a pile.

corresponding circle fraction. Make

numerals and the right side will show

THE player with the highest double

circular fractions.

plays first. In fraction dominoes,

DECIDE on the seven fraction

the ‘highest’ fraction will be the one

PICK up from the pile if you can’t

numerals. These can be 1/2, 1/3,

with the smallest denominator. If

place a domino.

2/3, 1/4, 3/4, 1/6, 5/6. Now create

no player has a double, then each

PASS if no more dominoes are left in

a double for each. For example, let

player may pick a tile and the one

the pile.

us take the fraction 1/2. On the left

whose fraction has the smallest

THE winner is the first person to run

side, write 1/2. Draw a line in the

denominator can place the first tile

out of dominoes.

middle. On the right side, draw a

on the floor.

half-shaded circle depicting

THE next player will have to match

the fraction.

one side of this tile with the side of a



This activity is ideal for children who have just started learning fractions.

sure that tiles with equivalent values touch.




Riddle-Me-Ree Witty and clever, riddles appeal to children and adults alike. But have you told your children how they




can create their own riddles? We show you how.

STEPS TO WRITE A RIDDLE Tell your child to: THINK of the answer first. Choose an everyday object like a pencil, a cup or a comb. It could even be a colour! NEXT, think of the characteristics of the chosen answer and describe it. Write down all the verbs and adjectives related to

Memory Game

the answer.

This game will test

COMPOSE a riddle using the verbs and adjectives.

your children’s

USE words such as ‘like’ (‘I shine like a sun’: answer is ‘lamp’) and

memory prowess

other words denoting sound (‘We buzz and buzz in gardens great

while providing

and small’ - answer is ‘bees’) when she scripts her riddle; end the

interesting information

riddle with a ‘What am I’?

on countries.

ASK the riddle to family members and see if they can answer it. If they cannot, have her rewrite the riddle so that they can identify it after a few

CUT a vertical strip of paper and write down the names of 9 countries in a sequence.

attempts. TELL her not to lose heart if others fail to

SHOW the strip to your children for

answer. Let their wild guesses create more fun

30 seconds.

and laughter till she reveals the answer!

THEN ask them to name the

Now have your child go ahead and make her own

countries in the correct sequence.

riddle with these as answers - green, cat, house, computer, bed, water, flower and book.

Look at the riddles given here and tell her to write a few of her own.

TO make them think harder, ask I’m as small as an ant, as big as a whale. I’ll

indirect questions like: Which country is followed by

approach like a breeeze,

the country that is known as the

but can come like a gale.

birthplace of pasta?

By some I get hit, but

Which country is listed three

Two who go together but never

all have shown fear.

places above the one whose capital

meet each other. What are they?

I’ll dance to the music,

is Barcelona?


though I can’t hear. Of names I have many, of

Black I am and much admired, men

names I have one. I’m as

seek me until they’re tired. When

slow as a snail, but from

they find me, they break my head,

me you can’t run. What

and take from me my resting bed.

am I?

What am I? (CHARCOAL)


Which country is known as the land of the rising sun and where is it in the sequence?





Clown Box FOR AGE S

YOU WILL NEED 3 boxes (empty food cartons, too, will


do), Paper, Pen, Crayons, Old



p ap


a fo rest


ed as


g an r t s


visiting cards/bits of paper

1 ugh “An apple ran thro the forest to scare


2 a stranger!”

DRAW the faces of three clowns on paper. Have your child colour them. Stick the drawings on the three boxes. Your clown boxes are ready. Label them 1, 2 & 3.


NEXT, on the blank side of old visiting cards, write nouns which the children

You can also put nouns in one

will find interesting. For example, in Box 1, drop visiting cards with nouns

box, adjectives in another and

written on the blank side like - an apple, my mother, a cat, the book or

verbs in the third box and ask

my car.

the children to make sentences

IN Box 2, drop cards with phrases like ‘sails on the river’, ‘ate apples’, ‘baked

with the words they pick up, one

cookies’ or ‘ran through the forest’ written on them.

from each box. Your child may

IN Box 3, drop cards with phrases like ‘to scare a stranger’, ‘without

demand that you write a word

stopping’, ‘under my bed’ or ‘while I ran away’ written on them.

for him! Add it to the box. You

NOW, ask your child to pick a card from each box. Let him read the sentence out aloud. It could be something hilarious like - ‘An apple ran through the forest to scare a stranger’! (COURTESY: Aruna Raghavan, Shikshayatan)

will be surprised how fast he learns. BENEFIT. This activity helps with reading and sentence formation.



World of Imagination

reative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child.” JOAN ALMON Fact and fiction merge together


4+ What’s on the menu?

to form a great imaginative world,

Remember those fake tea

one in which you catch your young

parties that you organized

child playing with invisible people

as a child, along with your

and things, cracking jokes with

friends? Let your child

dinosaurs while going on a walk,

now run his own pretend

smiling at nothing in particular.


Enjoy it while it lasts.

YOU WILL NEED Table, Kitchen set, Table cloth, Paper to double up as napkins and table mats



DESIGNATE a room for your child to create this set up. Then

The food items can be

cover these with a table cloth or even newspapers.

creatively made. Corn soup can be made with soap water or tea with coloured water. For a dish that is green in colour, grass can be used. Rice, grain, cut

help your child find a table or tables (even stools would do) and

CHILDREN can now decide on the menu. Let their imagination run wild. You can help them come up with a unique menu (or even unique names for dishes) that includes their favourite dishes and variations.

veggies can be borrowed from

NEXT, they need to make a menu card. It can be made

the kitchen, and so on.

with paper or even with white cardboard sheets. The

The pretend restaurant will

menu card should have the restaurant’s name on the

be fun if more children join

top, the list of foods available and their prices.

together and run the place.

NOW ask your child to set up the kitchen. She can also

They can assign designations

use some of the utensils available in your kitchen.

for themselves and take on various responsibilities. Families and friends can be invited as customers.

SET the table with plates and glasses. The restaurant is now OPEN!




6+ & Doll House

The doll houses can be theme-based. This need not be an exclusive activity for girls. Boys can build garages for their toy cars or a house for their Pokemon figures. Here is a simple idea


6 + My very own museum

for a doll house.

YOU WILL NEED Cardboard boxes, Newspapers, Scissors, Cutter, Cellotape, Gift wrappers, Handkerchiefs, Sketch pens

HOW TO Have your child:


TAKE a cardboard box. Its sides become the walls of the

Any prized possession of your child. It could be

house. Stick together the flaps on top to make the roof.

a photo or drawings, awards or toys.

ROLL some newspapers and tape them tightly to make

HOW TO YOUR child will love this activity and you will get surprising insights about him.

paper logs. Stick them close to each other on the roof. DRAW the windows and doors with a sketch pen and later, cut the shape with a cutter or a knife. CUT out broad strips of cardboard and stick them

TO have a memento museum, you first need to

inside the house as shelves, or to make rooms. You can

designate a room that can be used by your child

arrange your dolls

to display his precious objects.

inside as you like.

ASK your child to select the most memorable

USE handkerchiefs

articles he has - his baby photos, his drawings,

as curtains for

favourite toys, trophies and certificates

the house and for

or artwork.

flooring, they could

HE can divide the museum into different

some fancy gift

sections and categorize them as ‘school’,


‘family’ or ‘hobbies’.

HANG a lemon with

she can make a garden

HAVE him make placards out of cardboard

chillies strung on

by bringing in some sand

sheets explaining each article, giving the date,

thread at the entrance

and grass from outside. To

title and background.

of the house for

make a swimming pool, she an

Indian feel. Draw

can use blue shiny paper.

rangoli in front of

Furniture can be made

the house with chalk

using match boxes.

HE is now ready to take you and the rest of his family and friends on a guided tour of his museum.

TIP Every week, your child can

the use

add something new to the doll house. For example,

draw it on paper using sketch pens and paste it in front of the doorway.







Shadow Puppet Theatre Children like watching puppet shows. We can encourage them to make simple puppets at home. They will enjoy putting on a show for you.

YOU WILL NEED FOR PUPPETS: Black chart paper/Old X-ray sheets, Cutter, Scissors, Stapler, Pencil, Coloured glazed paper, Broomsticks FOR THE SCREEN: White cloth (Dhoti), Table lamp, Table, Rope

TO STAGE THE SHOW Place a table at one end of the room and cover it with a colourful sheet. To make a screen, fasten a length of white cloth (like a dhoti or bedsheet) across two convenient fixtures (chairs, windows) above the table. Take a table lamp or candle and place it about 2 feet behind the screen. The light from this lamp falls on the manipulated puppet, when the show is staged.

TO MAKE THE SETS Take modelling cardboard sheets and make cut-outs of trees, houses, hills, clouds or waves according to the story. Leaving a thick border, cut out the inner areas of these shapes. Then, paste coloured glazed paper over these spaces.

TO MAKE THE PUPPETS Choose your story and profile your characters on a black chart paper or discarded X-ray sheets. Cut out

the characters and punch holes for the eyes and ears. Cut out little squares or diamonds in the hems of the characters’ dresses. Paste bits of coloured glazed paper over these squares. Attach a broomstick to each character with staples or fevicol. For characters that can move their tails or limbs, make separate pieces for the movable parts. Attach these pieces to the main body with file clips. Attach a broomstick to these pieces as well. The stage is now set! Plan your scenes, dialogues and music.


Fix the backdrops

Shadow puppetry is a great

across the bottom of

activity for those nights

the screen, though

when there is a power cut.

cloud backdrops can

Project the shadow of your

be fixed at the top

puppets on a blank wall

of the screen. The

with the help of a candle.

puppeteers should sit

Alternatively, you can try

comfortably behind the

using your hands to cast

table, taking care not

shadows of creatures like

to be seen behind the

dog, donkey or bird on

screen. They should

the wall. With songs and

move their puppets by

dialogues to go with your

manipulating the broom

characters, you can have a

sticks and conduct

great time indeed!

the show.





Do-ityourself toys

eadymade toys based on scientific principles are easily available but some of them can also be made at home. Children derive greater pleasure playing with these and incidentally, exhibit a greater willingness to learn.

Super Strockets FOR S AGE


YOU WILL NEED Scissors, Paper, Drinking straws, Tape, Markers

Straw Spinner YOU WILL NEED Thick straw, Thin straw, Tape and Scissors

HOW TO HAVE the child fold the thick straw in half to locate the centre. Nip (cut) the corners on both sides at the folded end to get a diamond-shaped hole at the centre of the straw.


THEN he should seal both the ends of the straw with

Tell your child to:

a tape.

CUT a piece of paper that is slightly shorter and wider

AFTER this, he should nip triangle shapes at the taped

than a straw.

ends of the straw such that they are diametrically

WRAP the paper around the straw forming a cylinder.

opposite to each other.

TAPE the cylinder so that it holds its shape and slides off

THEN he should take the thin straw and cut a V-Shape at

the straw easily.

one end of this.

TAKE the paper cylinder off the straw. Form an airtight

HE should insert the cut end of the thin straw through

‘nose’ at one end of the cylinder by pinching and taping

the cut out diamond shape at the centre of the

it. To make sure it is airtight, insert the straw into the

thick straw.

cylinder and blow.

HAVE him shut one end of the thin straw with his finger

CUT fins for the cylinder. These could be triangle or

and blow into the other end to see the thick straw spin.

butterfly-wing shaped. Tape the fins to the cylinder. DECORATE the rocket with a sticker or drawing.


INSERT the straw into the cylinder. Point the straw away

Newton’s Third Law of Motion is exhibited in this toy. If

from people and blow into it to launch the rocket.

you apply a force in one direction, the same amount of force is applied in the opposite direction. As you blow, the


air comes out of the straw at a greater pressure than

Simple rockets use the force of compressed air to fly. By

the air normally surrounding us. This applies a force.

quickly releasing the pressure, the expanding air exerts

When the other end of the straw is closed, the opposing

a force that is channelled to propel an object upwards.

pressure makes the thick straw spin.

(SOURCE: Tech Museum of Innovation, California)


11 ideas

Water 8+ Whirlie FOR AGE S


YOU WILL NEED Sturdy plastic cup, Hole punch or


scissors, String (3 to 4 feet long)

HOW TO HAVE your child punch two holes under the rim on opposite sides of the cup.

Marble Coaster YOU WILL NEED

THEN he should lace the string through the holes and tie the ends together so that the string forms a handle. THEN he should fill the cup half way with water and take the cup outside

Foam pipe insulation (the one having 3/4-inch diameter works best),

where it is okay to splash.

Scissors, Masking tape, 1 Marble, Paper (optional)

HE should wrap the string handle


securely around the hand. He should hang his arm down in such a way that

HELP the child, only if needed, to cut the foam pipe insulation

there is six inches of space between the

lengthwise from the middle. The child will have two long strips, or

cup and the ground.

tracks, for his marble game.

HE should swing the cup back and forth, taking

TAPE the two tracks together to double the length of the original

larger and larger swings every time. Then, he

insulation. Be careful before you allow the masking tape to be used

should try swinging his arm and the cup in a

on furniture and walls. Tape can pull paint off the wall or the finish

circle over his head without

off a table.

slowing down.

LET the child set up his marble coaster using the pipe and tape.

HE should try to slow down

Encourage him to think about his design. How does it start? Can he

without splashing.



If he

on the track before he tapes it down. If necessary, he can make tunnels with paper taped over the top of the track. He can repeat

When you spin the water-


this step as many times as needed.

filled cup in a circle,

the water

NOW he is ready to tape down the track, release his marble and

you create centripetal

will not fall

watch it go!

force. When you spin

off the cup!

the cup fast enough, you

He can try

design a loop or a corkscrew? How many turns does it have? HAVE him test each new curve or loop to see if the marble stays


masters the

create something called

doing the

The higher he starts the marble coaster, the more potential or

centrifugal force, which

same thing

stored energy the marble will have. If the marble slows halfway up

overcomes gravity. That is

with a bucket

a loop or hill, he may need to adjust the loop size or hill height to

why the water does not spill

of water.

keep the marble going. The start of the track can be raised to give

out when the cup is upside

In summer,

the marble more energy or to make the loop smaller. If the marble

down. Centrifugal force is

getting wet

falls off the curves or other places, change the angle and tilt of

the natural tendency of a

should not be

the track.

moving object to continue to

a problem!

(SOURCE: Tech Museum of Innovation, California)

move in a straight line.


13 &



s children we played games, many of them traditional, that were more than just fun. These games were designed to imbue us with logical thinking skills, strategy-building skills, basic math skills and more. While we learnt sportsmanship, we simultaneously developed sensory skills, improved our motor skills, and learnt to be alert. These games sometimes involved chants or songs that remain forever etched in our memory. Here is a sampling of some games, which young children are sure to enjoy.

Postman, Postman England

A group of children sit down and form a circle. One child, however, is the post man, and stands behind this circle. She

Keechu keechu tambalam

goes around the circle, swiftly and noiselessly dropping a handkerchief behind a child, even as the other children are singing:


I sent a letter to my father

A great game that is played on the beach or by the river

The postman came and picked it up

bank. Two children play this game. They face each other

And put it in his pocket

On the way I dropped it

with a mound of mud or sand between them. Looking only at each other’s faces, one child hides a small object like

Once the handkerchief is dropped, the particular child

a shell or stone somewhere in the mound saying Keechu

behind whom it is dropped, should sense it, get up and

keechu tambalam, kiya mutti tambalam, machu machu

chase the postman around the circle and catch her. If

tambalam, mayya mayya tambalam.

she fails to realize that the handkerchief is right behind

The other child has to correctly find the spot where the

her, and the postman completes a round, she is ‘out’ and

object is hidden by placing his clasped hands, palms down

she becomes the next postman. If she spots the kerchief

over the area where he thinks the object is. The child

but nevertheless fails to catch the escaping postman,

that has hidden the object then uncovers the rest of the

who manages to sit in the vacant spot left by her, she is

area to reveal if the guess was right or not.

‘out’ and becomes the next postman.

15 ideas

Aappadi thaappadi Maharashtra



All the children squat on the floor and place their palms down on the floor. They chant ‘ Aappadi thaappadi... gattup’, with each word in the sequence being uttered by the next child. At the end of it, the one who chants the last word catches the ear of the child to her right. With her left hand, she holds on to the hand of her neighbour on her left. All the other hands are still facing palms down. The singing begins again, one word at a time and in sequence. The game goes on until all the hands are occupied - either holding other hands or other ears. Then they slowly rise as a group without breaking the chain and sway as they chant collectively one last time. As there is a high chance of the chain collapsing, the children burst into gleeful laughter.

Aappadi Thaappadi gulachi paapadi Dhammak ladoo, tael padu, Telangiche ekach paan. Dhar ga paby hacch kaan Chau mau, pitalitle pani peou. Ek handa, gattup, don hande gattup

Muthu Kuruchi Tamil Nadu

The children are divided into two teams that take turns in either ‘hiding’ or ‘guessing’. The team that has to guess goes away to a different room. The hiding team selects one child to be hidden as ‘muthukuruchi’ and another child to be the watcher. The child to be hidden is covered under a sheet. The rest of the team, other than the watcher, goes into hiding. The ‘guessing team’ is now called to guess who is hidden under the sheet. They chant ‘muthukuruchi, muthukuruchi’. To this, the child under the sheet responds by making a clicking gutteral sound in his throat. Based on this sound, the other team has to correctly identify who is hidden under the sheet. The ‘guessing team’ is given three chances to figure out who the hidden child is. If they succeed, then the ‘muthukuruchi’ reveals himself and tries to catch a member of the ‘guessing team’ as they run to a pre-selected safety zone. If the team either fails to guess correctly or one of its members is caught, then it remains as the guessing team. Else, the two teams switch roles.


17 &


Hopscotch Hopscotch is a universally popular game which is known as Paandi in Tamil and Stapu in Hindi. Children enjoy this game which improves their motor skills, fitness and estimation. A common way to play is by drawing a grid of 8 numbered boxes on the floor or sand, as shown. The player stands outside the box numbered one and throws a small stone into it. Then she hops over that box right into box 2. She hops across the grid on one leg except in boxes 4&5 and 7&8 where she lands with one foot in each box (feet spread apart). At boxes 7 & 8 she turns around and hops back. When she reaches box 1 she has to land on top of the stone, pick it up and hop out of the grid. Then she throws the stone inside box 2 and repeats the steps, and does this till the stone has been thrown into all the boxes. There are many variations. A common variation is when the stone is kicked while hopping from box to box, right across the grid and back to the start point, without the stone touching the lines of the grid or going out of the box. Rules: You are ‘out’ if you step on the lines or if you throw the stone inside the wrong box or on a line. The other player then gets a chance.

Seven Stones This is a game guaranteed to raise adrenaline levels. Having several variations, this game involves two teams with equal number of members and seven stones. The seven stones are stacked up, one on top of the other. A member of the first team stands behind a designated boundary and tries to knock down the pile of stones with a tennis ball. The team is given three tries to knock down the stones. Once the pile is knocked down, the other members from the team have to rebuild the pile, without being ousted by members from the opposing team, who try to hit their legs below the knee with the ball. If any team member is hit before the pile is rebuilt, the first team is out and the teams switch roles. If they succeed in rebuilding without being ousted, then the first team gets a point and another turn at building.

19 ideas



Games on Wheels H

ow often have you been asked “Are we there yet?” each time you take a trip with your family? Here are

some games that will put an end to these questions and keep the family entertained throughout.

Licence Plate Bingo 6+


Carzoo CHOOSE two different listing ideas. For example, car makes and names



of animals. Players take turns to play. Player number 1 begins by naming a car model. For example: Estilo.

To play this game, bring along some


papers to serve as game cards. Get some pens or pencils too. You can also

WITHIN 15 seconds, player number 2 has to name an

print out game

animal that begins with O, the last letter of the word

cards ahead of

Estilo. For example: Orangutan

the travel. The

CONTINUING in this manner, the next player has

game has different variations, so the game cards can

15 seconds to name a different car make or model

have the names of states as one’s bingo squares or

that begins with N, the last letter of Orangutan. For

random letters and numbers. As the players see the

example: Nano.

states or letters and numbers on the passing licence plates, they cross them off. The first player to get 5 in

NO repeats are allowed. If a player cannot think of a

a row wins, and it might be a good idea to keep a few

car or an animal, he loses.

prizes on hand for the lucky winner.




8+ Spell a Car

8+ Rhyme the Sign

FIRST, for this game, you need to list all the car models that your child knows. Write about ten to fifteen such names. PLAYERS set a time limit for the game.

21 to


THEN, when the time keeper says ‘Start’, each player forms a complete sentence using words

THIS is a game that will have your family in fits of

starting with each letter of the car model in the

laughter. It does not require any pen or paper; just a

same sequence. For example: VOLKSWAGEN-

person who can keep points.

Very Old Lion King Sings With A Giraffe

AS you drive past a road sign, one of the players calls

Every Night.

the sign out loud. The road sign could be a sign like ‘No

THE first player to form her sentence calls out

Entry’ or it could be the name of a road or

‘Done’ and reads out the sentence to the other

a destination.

players. Each word in the sentence earns 1 point.

THE first player that comes up with a rhyming word or

THE play continues till one of the players reaches

phrase gets a point. For example: No Entry-Dysentery

a decided point (say 25 points).

or Delhi-Belly.



4 3



Spot that car 8+ MAKE a common chart, listing out various types and colours of vehicles with points assigned to each. For example: A blue Nano could be assigned 5 points while a Black BMW is assigned 20 points. THE player, who first spots a listed vehicle, gets the points that have been assigned to the vehicle. AS a bonus, if the player spots a construction equipment on the road, he gets 100 points. AT the end of your trip, the player with the most points is the winner.

24 Expend that idea


hildren have boundless energy that can be channelized for their long-term well-being. Inculcating simple habits and practices in childhood will go a long way in ensuring that the child learns to stay fit, thus bringing about a balance between the physical and mental self.


Endurance 4 + Building This exercise will bring about sustained

improvements in their endurance. This activity, even if done partially half-an-hour before a meal, will induce hunger in children. Tell your child to: MAP a route inside or outside the house. Ask him to walk around on the marked route say, 5 times in 3 minutes.

TIPS ADD skips, jumps and hops to change intensity. INTRODUCE obstacles for variety. Ask your children to crawl under a table, jump over a stool or loop around a tree. BE imaginative if the child gets bored of the same route. For example, you may say, “Cross the river, jump over the mountain, run across the desert, seven times over. The magical key shall appear and you

NEXT, he will have to run on the path 15 times within

shall have the power to slay the mighty dragon hiding

10 minutes. Mark and notice if there is any progress

under the cave (bed)!�

on a weekly basis.


Balance with nonchalance



Balance is an important physical quality. This exercise will help your child maintain a

25 to


good balance: ASK your child to walk in a straight line on the floor, one foot in front of the other. PLACE a book on his head, tell him to look straight ahead, and walk normally. TELL him to stand on one leg with his hands spread apart. Time how long he can stay without swaying. Ask him if he feels a difference between the right and left sides of his body. Tell him to try this with his eyes closed and observe how his perception changes.

Connect with the core



The deep abdominal musculature and connected muscles are the primary posture builders, strength and power


generators and energy enhancers. It pays to know how to keep them active. Tell your child to: INHALE deeply and as he slowly

Foster Posture 8+

exhales, tell him to gently contract the musculature beneath the navel. He will

A good posture is dependent on the vertebral column’s strength

immediately feel the spinal alignment

and mobility. This activity will help your child adopt a good posture.

changing and the set of his shoulders

Tell her to:

altering. Let him stay focused in this

GET on to the floor in a crawling position. Ask her to inhale and

position for a few seconds.

look up, while making a valley with the lower back. Ask her to

TELL him to extend this while sitting,

exhale and simultaneously tuck chin to the chest and arch the lower

standing or lying down and while doing

back, into the shape of a hill.

routine activities like watching TV

LET her round her shoulders so that the distance between her

or walking.

shoulder blades increases. Then ask her to draw them back, pulling them close together.


28 &


Creative Movement



This game will not only keep a group of children engaged, but also improve their joint mobility.


4+ SEAT them in a circle. A child starts with a movement, say stamping and the rest of the group joins in and stamps to the same beat. Then the next child stamps her feet and adds a head nod and everyone else repeats these movements. The movements keep

Coordination & Reflex

increasing in complexity as more moves are added.

This activity will improve your child’s

This is a great activity to improve neuromuscular


coordination. TO add variety, in the next round the person stamping calls out ‘Monkey’ each time she stamps. Now, everyone mimics this and then stops. The next person comes up with another move and gives it a name which they all repeat. After the entire group has taken turns naming

Tell her to: THROW a ball on a wall at different angles each time and catch it. This can be played as a game with two or more people.

moves, the leader calls out a name and everyone has

ASK her to throw objects having

to recollect the associated moves and perform it. Use

different weights like a scarf, a ball

your creativity to add more variety to the movements.

or a stone and catch them one by one.

(INPUT: Mrinalini Sekar, Blue Movement Circle)

Try different-sized objects.

30 idea

World Explorer

oes your child want to discover new worlds? Here are some ideas to get her started.

Star gazing



As children, we loved to lie under the moonlit sky and stare at all the stars. We would try to make sense of the world above and give names to the different stars out there. Now, with people and children preferring to stay indoors, no one really looks at the sky at night. Here are some ideas to introduce your child to the moon and the stars. TAKE your child to the terrace and make him observe the stars. A fun activity for the child would be to count the stars and even give them their own names. TELL your child to observe the stars carefully and trace the position of the planets. He has to identify the planets (with a little help from you) and then track the changes in the position of the planets every day, for a week. Tip: Log on to It shows the position of the stars and the planets as seen from each city. AS expensive as it might be, it is a good idea to invest in a telescope for your child. It will encourage him to use it and get closer to the celestial world. Who knows, he might even discover a planet of his own in the process! TAKE him to the planetarium. He will probably be ‘starstruck’ and become inquisitive. You could also ask him to make a presentation later, on what he observed at the planetarium.


Make your own Diorama Is your child interested in learning about rainforests or the zoo


or even a desert or jungle? Dioramas are a fun way to recreate these habitats and environments in three dimensions. Your child



needs to research the environment and then use her creativity and imagination to make a diorama. As an example, we have shown you how to recreate an under-the-sea environment.

An Under-the-Sea World

PAINT the inside of the box blue to represent water. BRUSH the bottom of the box with glue and pepper it with


sand, shells and pebbles.

Shoebox, Coloured print-outs of fish / hand painted paper

PAINT and cut out seaweeds and coral from other

fish, Sand, Pebbles, Hand-painted seaweeds, Corals,

cardboard/paper and paste these along the three walls

Glue, Cellotape, Cling film

and bottom of the shoe box.


TAKE different types of coloured fish (you could draw and cut these out, or take coloured printouts from the

TAKE an empty shoebox, which has a detachable

computer), fasten them to ends of strings and glue/tape

lengthwise cover/flap on top. Remove this flap and keep

the strings to the underside of the top flap.

aside. Lay the shoe box on the side such that the open

COVER the front of your diorama with cling film.

end is facing you. You will be viewing the diorama from this open side of the box.

the 32 Follow dinosaurs idea



Trails are a great way for your child to explore an area of his interest. When you devise trails for children, you should follow the triggers in their thought processes, make them ask questions, help them research answers and take them forward. Answers to earlier questions lead to more questions and a long trail... Here, we are providing a sample trail tracing the evolution of the dinosaurs in the Triassic Period (300 million to 240 million years ago). In this trail, we have listed out some questions as well as answers. This is mainly to give you an idea of the types of questions that you can ask your child or which can arise in the child’s mind. Notice how one answer leads to another question and thus evolves into an unending trail of exploration. In your own trail, do not reveal the answers. Encourage your child to ask the questions and research the answers with your prompts and guidance.

Q: What were the first dinosaurs on Earth like? And why? What was their habitat? A: The first dinosaurs (they were actually more prehistoric animals and not quite like the Dinos of the Jurassic period) were amphibians. Life began in the seas

Q: Did any dinosaurs evolve, preferring land, though they could manage watery marshes? What did they eat? A: Your child would probably find out that the Edaphosaurus was one such animal. It was found 270 million years ago. It could both cool and heat its body as needed on land, thanks to its body features. It had a powerful skull and fed on shellfish from swampy areas. It was a reptile.

Q: Shellfish? How unexciting. Were there any animals like Tyrannosaurus Rex in this period, hunting and eating more ponderous looking dinos? A: 240 million years ago, one of the very first two-legged, flesh-eating dinosaurs Ornithosuchus appeared. This was a ferocious reptile (yes this age had more of amphibians and reptiles), armoured with bony plates under the skin, 4 metres long, 1 metre high and an efficient killer!

around 3,500 million years ago. Not till 420 million years

Q: What did it eat?

ago did plants, insects and worms move on to dry land.

A: Some reptilian herbivores had also evolved by then,

The first fish appeared 400 million years ago and 20

like the Lessemsaurus, which it ate.

million years later some fish had developed the ability

Q: Were there any bird dinos?

to move about on land. They were amphibians, the first animals with backbones to walk on land. The Eryops, 300

A: Look up the Protoavis. Some experts still think that it is a reptile, looking a bit like a bird.

million years ago, was a 1.5 metre long amphibian that could live in desert-like conditions. It walked clumsily on

This can lead to

land but laid its eggs in water.

more questions

Q: Frogs are amphibians, aren’t they? Were there any frog dinosaurs?

about where the Protoavis lived,


what it ate and

A: Your child could do some research on this, but the

Similar trails can be devised to

so on, continuing

answer is Mastodonsaurus (280 million years ago). This

study other dinosaur periods,

the never-ending

animal had a huge head, but weak legs, making it clumsy

animals and their habitats,


countries and cultures.

on land. It laid its eggs in water.

33 idea

History Mystery

istory can be made fun and interesting if your child is going to be involved in practical activities relating to the subject and ‘life’ is breathed into it.


Me, Myself & My Family


m 1978




b 1952

b 1958

Have you ever wondered

m 1977

about the lives of your great


b 1950 - d 2006

History is also about you, not just kings and queens.

grandmothers and fathers, and did it become too late

b 1957

to retrieve significant information about them? Surely you would want m 2006


m 2000


b 1980 b 1982

VINOD b 1984

KUNAL b 1979

your child to be aware

PRIYA b 1979

of his roots. He will be interested too, particularly if he is told that he got his green eyes from a paternal

MANAV b 2007



NAVYA b 2009

grandaunt and that he had the same mannerisms as his maternal grandfather! It will motivate your child to draw a family tree when he is told that a remote uncle in the family was an adventurer and had a shade of notoriety attached to him! So

inspire him to draw one, and learn more about the family. Depending on his age, you can either help him with this exercise, or ask him to do it by himself.

HOW TO Some suggested steps to get the child started: i) Work out how big the family tree will be. Will he stop with



immediate family (parents and siblings)? Is he going to include



aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and earlier generations? ii) Boys and girls should be represented as squares and circles, respectively. Your child should begin with himself, as a square in the centre at the bottom of the page and write his name on it. iii) He should then draw his brothers and sisters next to himself in little squares and circles. Older siblings will be to his left while the younger ones will be to his right. iv) Now, he needs to draw a square and a circle above himself and write the names of his parents in them. Draw lines as shown to connect the parents to the children. v) After this, uncles, aunts and cousins, grandparents and others can be added, making the tree larger as more information is gleaned.

Musing at the museum Visiting your local art or science


museum with your children is one sure

The child can:

Organise a museum trip with your

ADD details to the tree. Write ‘m’ for married, ‘b’ for born (b. 1960) or ‘d’ for death (d. 2000) and more. TO make the family tree look attractive, he can paste pictures of the family members in the circles and squares (You could help him scan old photos from the albums, instead of cutting them out).

way of making history interesting. children and ask them to note down the exhibits they find fascinating. The museum and you will be able to provide only limited information to the children. Once you are home, ask your children to do more research on the exhibits they have chosen. They can start by asking

FIND out fun facts like who shares an interest in science

friends or grandparents for information.

like him and share his findings with you.

The Internet and books hold a wealth

ASK all your family members for information about their interests, what they do, where they lived, their favourite movies or books, any interesting story they may have about themselves and compile the data. When he is done,

of information that they can use to research their subjects. Later, let them share this information with siblings and friends.

you will be surprised to see the wealth of information he

TIP: Do not force them to learn or

has in his hands, some of which was not known to you!

become a teacher breathing down their

CREATE a book of ‘My Family History’ using all the information gathered.

necks. Just give them a gentle nudge now and then, if they show interest!

35 idea



Tech Tonic

Narration - This is an online treasure-trove of free audio stories beautifully read by professional actors. Original stories, poems, fairytales, myths and histories-you will find them all here. Children of all ages will soon be hooked on to these stories. - Blogging is a great way for children to express their ideas and get involved in writing. This site is a wonderful resource that provides the latest information on Internet security and safe blogging for children below13 years of age. It teaches children the best ways to blog and improve their writing skills. It also provides links to free blogging sites for children that support and encourage learning. - Children of all ages can script and illustrate stories, fairy tales or create treasure maps and calendars on this site. In short, imagination is the limit. They can publish their stories on the site and read stories written by other children. The site also teaches your children how to write a story.

Exploration - The site is teeming with activities involving animals, science, crafts and pets for children 6 to 14 years of age. For the tiny tots, parents can visit http://kidsblogs. and help the little ones navigate the site. - Discovery Channel’s website involves children 6 to 12 years of age in activities ranging from puzzles to quizzes and games

omputers and the digital world fascinate children. The Internet is teeming with websites catering to your child’s areas of interest. If your child loves movies and is curious about filmmaking, help her get started with the basics of editing with Windows Movie Maker. You can also download ebooks onto your iPad, Kindle or other digital devices for easy access to your child’s favourite books. Have fun visiting the sites.

based on everything under the sun like history, science, health, machine, people and places.

Space index.html - If your 6- to 12-year-old child is fascinated by space and astronauts, this is a site that provides reliable information on space-related topics, as well as games, web quests, and even chats with NASA experts. This site is maintained by the US space agency that sends people into outer space.

Programming - This is an engaging site for budding programmers. Scratch is a programming language that allows children to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art and share them on the web. While engaging in this process, the children will learn important mathematical and computational ideas, learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. It is intended especially for 8- to 16-year-olds, but younger children can work on Scratch projects with their parents or older siblings.

Gaming - This site has been designed to ‘improve your brain health and performance’ with many interactive games like puzzles, logical thinking programmes, and memory-building games. It is a membership-based site, suitable for teens and adults. (INPUTS: CurioKidz)

40 Young idea


cience is an imaginative adventure of the mind seeking truth in a world of mystery.� CYRIL HERMAN HINSHELWOOD (Nobel Prize winner, 1956)

Identifying adulteration



In Chilli Powder

In Coconut Oil

In Honey

In Milk





Chilli powder samples from

Coconut oil samples,

Honey samples from the

Milk, dropper, black paper,

the market and water in a

container to hold the oil, a

market, match sticks,

tincture of iodine.


refrigerator or ice box.

cotton swabs.





The child should put

Ask your child to sprinkle

Usually, coconut oil is

Honey is usually

some drops of milk on the

the chilli powder in the

adulterated with other

adulterated with molasses

black paper. If the milk is

container of water. Make

oils. To check the purity of

or sugar. The child should

adulterated with water,

sure he does this gently

the coconut oil, the child

fix the cotton swab to the

it will flow fast and will

so that it does not get

not leave a white trail.

into his eyes. If chilli

should put it in the container matchstick. He should dip this into the honey and and freeze it. A separate

powder is adulterated with

layer of the oil used for

light it. If the honey is

slowly, leaving a trail.

sawdust, it will float. If it

adulteration will form a

adulterated, it will burn

If you suspect that the milk

is adulterated with added

conspicuous layer above the with a crackling sound.

is adulterated with starch,

colour, the water will

frozen oil.

tell the child to add a drop

become coloured.

Unadulterated milk flows

of tincture of iodine to warm milk. It will turn blue

(Courtesy: Sultan Ismail;

if it is adulterated.



Make your own magnifying glass

41 ideas

Colouring flowers & plants



YOU WILL NEED Glass slides, Light bulbs of varied sizes, (40 watts, zero watts and a torch light bulb), Water and Oil.

HOW TO 1 The child should take a glass slide. Even a broken glass pane works but children should be careful handling


this. (Glass slides are available with school lab equipment suppliers, and you could google for the shop near your residence). He should rub a thin layer of oil on both sides. He should then gently place a drop of water on the slide. The water drop sits on the slide and makes a plano convex lens. Now have him take a look at small print through the droplet.


Water, Scissors, Food colouring, Jar, Plastic cup or Test tube, A white flower (preferably a long-stemmed one)

Quickly make him invert the slide so that the droplet will


be ‘hanging down’ instead of ‘sitting up’. Tell him to place

FILL the cup with water.

another drop right on top of the previous drop to make a double convex lens, and try to read the small print. (A


ADD a few drops of food colouring.

double convex lens is symmetrical across its vertical and

CUT the end off the stem (stalk) of the flower.

horizontal axis, while a plano convex lens has one side

PUT the flower in water.

flat and the other spherical. Both are positive lenses producing real images.)


The child will see that the flower absorbs the colour of the food colouring after some hours. The child can substitute the flower with celery stalk having leaves. She

Remove the filaments of all three bulbs and make

should slit the stalk carefully from the bottom and put

your child half fill them with water. The water surface

each end in different cups with different food colourings.

with the bulb curvature makes a plano convex lens. The

The celery should soon have leaves in two different

child should now observe a small object or print through


all the three bulbs. The torch bulb with the least radius magnifies the most, because magnification is inversely proportional to the radius of curvature.

SCIENCE BEHIND THIS Plants not only absorb water from the atmosphere

(Courtesy: Sultan Ismail;

through their leaves, they suck water through their )

stems. If the child cuts a longer slit in the celery stalk used in the experiment, she can see that the little holes inside are coloured.

43 ideas




Taste-testing 6 without smell + We all know that some foods taste better than others but what gives us the ability to experience all

these unique flavours? This simple experiment shows that there is a lot more to taste than you might have first thought.

YOU WILL NEED A small piece of peeled potato, a piece of peeled apple (identical in shape to the potato)

HOW TO CLOSE your eyes and mix up the piece of potato and the piece of apple so that the child does not know which is which.

SCIENCE BEHIND THIS Holding your nose while tasting the potato and apple makes it hard to tell the difference between the two. Your nose and mouth are connected through the same airway which means that you taste and smell foods at the same time. Your sense of taste can recognize salty, sweet, bitter and sour, but when you combine this with your sense of smell, you can recognize many other individual ‘tastes’. Take away

SHE should hold her nose and eat a piece of each. Ask

your smell (and sight) and you limit your brain’s ability to tell

her if she can tell you the difference.

the difference between certain foods.

Blowing Balloons with CO2 Chemical reactions make for some great experiments.

NEXT, he should pour the lemon juice

Use the carbon dioxide given off by the reaction of

into the bottle and quickly place the open

baking soda and lemon juice by funnelling the gas through

end of the stretched balloon over the

a soft drink bottle. Blowing up balloons was never

mouth of the bottle. If all goes well, then

so easy!

the balloon should inflate!



Balloon, About 40 ml of water (a cup is about

Adding the lemon juice to the baking

250 ml, so you do not need much), Soft drink bottle,

soda creates a chemical reaction. The

Drinking straw, Juice from a lemon, 1 teaspoon of

baking soda is a base, while the lemon

baking soda

juice is an acid. When the two combine,


they create carbon dioxide (CO2). The

BEFORE the child begins, make sure that he stretches out the balloon to make it as easy as possible to inflate. Then, he should pour the 40 ml of water into the soft drink bottle.

gas rises up and escapes through the soft drink bottle. It does not however escape the balloon, pushing it outwards and blowing it up. If you do not have any lemons, then vinegar can be substituted

NEXT, he should add the teaspoon of baking soda and

for the lemon juice.

stir it around with the straw until it has dissolved.




45 Invention idea


hildren have lots of imagination and ideas, some of them in the realm of what you consider, ‘crazy’, ‘silly’ or ‘unrealistic’. Why not encourage them to translate these ‘silly’ ideas into a reality, by helping them with the necessary mentorship, research, tools and materials? Some of these crazy ideas have become inventions we cannot do without today. A couple of centuries ago, whoever dreamt of a flying vehicle or talking picture boxes or even of lights at night, must have been considered weird. So let your children experiment, fail, learn and try again. Who knows, your child may become the next Edison or Graham Bell! Here are some ideas to jumpstart children into thinking the ‘whats’, ‘ifs’ and ‘hows’. Encourage them to think out of the box.



Around the house CHALLENGE: There are lots of materials lying around the house that you can give to the children to experiment with: newspapers, matchboxes, cardboard, old pencils, CD’s, empty bottles or cans to name a few. What kind of creations or new uses can your child come up with these? IDEA SPARK: Newspaper hats, costumes, flying planes, bins.

Cardboard playhouses, cars, planes, lampshades, clock.

Matchbox cars, chairs, tables.

Bottle garden, walls, houses.



In the 5 + Kitchen FOR AGES



Popsicle was not invented by any frizzy hair scientist but by a 11-year-old, Frank Epperson. It was called the Epsicle back then. Frank left his drink outside on the porch overnight with the stir stick in it. That night, the temperature dropped and froze everything, including Frank’s drink. That didn’t stop him from tasting it and we had the Popsicle! CHALLENGE: A kitchen is like a chemistry lab with many different ingredients to experiment with. Leave your child in the kitchen to create his own recipe even if you think it may not work. He may soon be a contender for Master Chef! Caution: Supervise younger children in the kitchen in their use of knives and around hot stoves, ovens and cooking dishes.

Can I bake dosa dough? How will chilli ice cream taste? Rice and peanut butter? Fried Ice cream? Curd is usually made by adding a little of it as a culture to warm milk. Can I use other ingredients in the kitchen as culture instead of curd? What happens if I beat up egg and add maida, milk, butter, apples and cinnamon powder to it. What should be the proportions and consistency? Should I add baking powder or baking soda or both? Should I bake it or make

IDEA SPARK: Your child is perhaps wondering:

a pancake? What should be the baking temperature?

What happens if I freeze yoghurt or tofu?

How long should it bake?

Invent a Game



CHALLENGE: Does your child enjoy playing board games? Maybe she would like to create her own game or add new rules and twists to her favourite game to make it more funny or challenging. If your child is into outdoor games or needs encouragement to play outside, have her devise her own games that she will enjoy playing with her friends. IDEA SPARK: Does your child have a favourite book? How about a board game based on the characters and theme of the book? What about Cricket Monopoly or Fashion Monopoly? Barbie or Thomas the Tank Engine Uno game? Football Cricket? Frisbee Soccer? Hockey + Wooden Disk Hopscotch?

Jungle Safari


48 to




Engineering challenges

Recycling Water CHALLENGE: Give your child a bucket of soapy water and have her find a way to purify it.

IDEA SPARK: Provide materials like alum, sand, coal, gravel, pebbles, clay, loamy soil, bricks, twigs of gooseberry tree, canna plants and several buckets or large cans. It helps to provide a tap or opening at the bottom of the buckets/can to let the purified water out.

CHALLENGES: TIE a rope taut between two chairs or two hooks. The challenge is to take a coin across the rope from one end to the other using any material - pulleys, Legos, toy cars, straws, balloons, cups, tape and so on. MAKE a rocket using tape, straws and balloons. BUILD bridges with toothpicks and tape or straws and tape. How stable and strong is the bridge? How much weight can it hold? MAKE a catapult using cycle tubes and a bow with cycle spokes. Use other material as required. USE a broom stick and cycle tube to make various shapes such as triangle, squares or spheres. PICK-UP-TONGS - Have your child devise a gadget to help pick up garbage on the roads or beach without touching the garbage. You can provide PVC pipes, sticks, rubber bands, banding strap, duct tape, sheet metal screws or anything else you can think of.

What is the optimum mixture of the ingredients that makes for the best purifying system? Should they be used in layers? Which combination of materials calls for the least maintenance? How should the buckets


be arranged?

Your child can research

Should they

the various filtering agents

be positioned

suggested. She can pick out

at different

the appropriate ones and


try out various combinations before arriving at her own

IDEA SPARK: Several sites on the Internet can help with

formulae. Are there other plant

design hints and ideas and the physics behind

substitutes for canna?

these challenges.

50 idea


oes your child fear Math? Games, kits and puzzles help children think logically, explore the underlying facts and extend these concepts - all in an enjoyable manner.


Tic-tac-toe for math maniacs ODD OR EVEN


We can play this game using 0s and 1s. Each

The players take turns placing

player chooses to place either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’ in

the numbers 1 to 9 in each of the

each square. The players takes turns placing

squares. The first player to obtain

their chosen digit in the squares. Before the

the sum of 15 using 3 numbers either

start of each game, decide if the winning sum

horizontally, vertically or diagonally

is odd or even. The first player to achieve it

is the winner.

6-8 5






either horizontally or vertically or diagonally is the winner. Example: Odd



The same tic-tac-toe can be played


by changing the rules of the game.



Use the numbers from 1 to 9 to form mathematical equations either





horizontally, vertically or diagonally to win the game.



Example: 1+3=4 and 4-1=3


This game helps the child practice basic addition and subtraction.


The same game can be extended by choosing a higher




range of numbers and by using multiplication and division facts.

Alternatively, use digits 1-9 to form odd or even combinations.

51 ideas

Numbers Triangle






USE numbers from


IF the side is

1 to 6 to fill in the

For the above, what other six

extended by

blanks in such a

numbers can be selected to fill up

including one more

way that each side

the blanks?

number for each

of the triangle has



the same sum. For example, if the sum

IF ‘5’ is the first number, then ’10’ will side, can you find the strategies of be the last number. IF ‘x’ is the first number, what is the

is 12, place 4,5,6 in the vertices.

last number?

TO get the same sum 12 for each side, where will you place 1,2,3? THINK, is this the only possible way? What other numbers could be placed at the vertices? What are the other possible sums of the sides?

with exploring different

Start with placing numbers 1-9 so that all sides add up to the same

consecutive numbers? How about


even numbers only or odd number only? What about multiples of a number?

2 1 3

The younger ones can start

we need to select nine numbers.

IS it necessary to select only



the game? Here

(COURTESY: Vijayalakshmi Raman of Dots ‘N’ Digits)


shapes, while the older ones can explore perimeters and areas using this board.

HOW TO FIT nails or screws at fixed one-inch intervals on an


acrylic or wooden board.

(AC)² = (AB)² + (BC)²

STRETCH rubber bands around the screws to make any geometrical shape. Now your child can easily calculate the area and perimeter of the shapes. (COURTESY: http://www.arvindguptatoys. com/toys/geoboard.html by Arvind Gupta)


53 ideas



Nurture Nature


only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay on till sun down; for going out, I found was really going in.


Bottle Garden Don’t throw away the plastic bottles you have at home. They can serve as pots to keep in your balcony. Make a coin size hole in the middle of each bottle. Fill the bottles with manure and mud mixed in equal proportions (you can get organic fertilizers from any nursery). Fill the holes by pushing in the seeds of the vegetables you like tomato, lady’s finger or brinjal. Water mildly, every day. Your child will be surprised to see plants growing out of the little holes. In three weeks, you will have your own vegetable source. To feed a family of 4, you will need at least 12 such bottles.

Leaf Art TAKE a walk in your



neighbourhood. OBSERVE the sizes, shapes and colours of the leaves around you. COLLECT leaves of different

For the little ones, the obvious fun lies in watering the plants.

shapes and colours. Place the leaves between 2 sheets of paper and weigh them down between heavy books to dry them out. CREATE your own leaf art and use it to make crafts like cards and book marks.



g ies in usin The fun l – spades, the tools re snippers a rakes and demand. always in

55 ideas

Plant your name



PREPARE a soil bed in your yard using garden soil (loamy soil). Alternatively, take a plastic tray and make small holes in the tray in a scattered fashion to allow drainage and fill with garden soil. HAVE the child draw his initials or name in the soil using a stick. Sprinkle methi (fenugreek) or ragi

Water the seeds and watch your

Earth: The apple of our eye

child’s name sprout and grow in a


few days.


seeds, that have been soaked overnight, along the drawn letters.

IF a tray is being used, mildly


sprinkle water on alternate days

TAKE an apple and cut it into four equal

and cover the soil with a net. This

parts. Three parts represent the

will facilitate the sprouting.

oceans of the world. The fourth represents the land area.


SLICE this land into half. Now you have


two one-eighth pieces.

anding Underst lant which p r, how to wate nd how much a f ill be o often w . interest

Set aside one of the pieces. The portion set aside represents the land area which cannot be inhabited - deserts, mountains, the


ice caps and swamps. The other one-eighth represents the land where human beings live. SLICE this 1/8th section crosswise into four equal parts. THREE of the 1/32 sections represent areas - 1) where the soil is not


12+ Your holida y bag should con tain a book on t rees and plants .

arable, 2) where the soil, even if cultivable, has been encroached by sprawling urban structures, and 3) government-mandated forest reserves and other such bio-sphere parks. Carefully peel the skin off the last 1/32 section. This small bit of peel represents the top soil of our earth, that all of us depend on for food. Protecting this land resource is, therefore, very important.

57 Lines & Strokes idea



Developing Drawing skills


hildren are bo rn artis Encour ts. age the m t o e allowin xplore g them art by various to expe materia riment ls with . The id introdu eas giv ce your e n here child in elemen formall ts of vis y to the u a l art - li basic colour ne, sha and tex pe, for ture. m,

Elementary exercises. These preliminary exercises help develop visual perception and realistic drawing skills in the child. Draw a grid with different shapes and patterns as shown in the sample. Have the child copy these shapes and patterns in the grid below. The confidence of line and accuracy is not as important as the number and type of shapes/lines that need to get drawn and the relationship of the shapes to one another. Shown below are sample exercises that can be given at different levels.




Negative space. Drawing negative space is a trick that helps one draw more realistically in any art medium or style. In positive space drawing, we draw the shape of the object. Often, in this type of drawing, we draw our assumptions of the object.

To overcome this judgemental aspect of drawing, we draw the negative space wherein we draw the space in and around the object. Your child can practise ‘seeing’ and drawing negative spaces. Draw a free hand circle measuring about 6” in diameter. Ask your child to place her palm face down in the circle and shade the negative spaces between the contours of her fingers. Ask her to imagine what it looks like.

............ ..... ..... ............ ..... ............ ............ ..... ............ ..... ............ ..... ............ ..... ............ ... ..... ......... .. ...

.............. .............. .............. ..... ......... ..... ................ .............. ......... ....... ......... ................ ................



Clothesline Gallery

Is your child fond of churning out innumerable colourful artworks? Why not hold an exhibition of his artworks along with those of his friends? How about organizing a clothesline gallery on an available terrace? All you need to do is to hang the


pictures from a clothesline, using pegs. Invite friends and neighbours to view the gallery and have the children describe their work and receive compliments!

Colours & Textures



Paints & Patterns Hide the paint brush and give the child a toothbrush, a sponge or even a blunt-edged knife to apply paint to paper. Can your child think of other tools to use? Remember using sliced lady’s finger or other vegetables to make impressions with paint? Have your child experiment with natural materials to create patterns.

Textured paper ASK the child to grate crayons, using a cheese grate, onto a coloured sheet of paper. Have her paint over it with a contrasting colour. The crayon pieces stick to the paper because of the paint. HAVE your child apply water colour on a sheet of paper. Have her sprinkle crystallized/rock salt in some areas while the paper is still wet, to create interesting grainy textures.

Sgraffito Wax resist

Give your child a sheet of paper and crayons in bright

YOU WILL NEED: Crayons, Paper, Poster paint

colours. Have the child colour the entire sheet with

HOW TO: Ask your child to draw motifs of her choice

various colours of crayons. Paint over this design with

with bright coloured crayons. She should then brush

thick poster paint. When the paint dries, let the child use

across the entire sheet with paint and water, mixed

a pointed tip such as a compass needle or a toothpick

together in a milky consistency. The crayon areas will

and scratch through the top layer of paint in different

resist the paint and the motifs will show up interestingly.

patterns to reveal the colour underneath.

59 idea



Imaginative Art Splatter matter. Creating interesting creatures out of splashes of

paint or ink is an exciting art activity for children. YOU WILL NEED: Ink pad, Black micro tip pen, Water

Blow art HOW TO: Blow watery paint through a straw on paper. Let the resulting splatters dry. Add squiggles to create characters.

colour paper (Sketch books with slightly textured thicker paper are available in the market), Coloured inks, Paints, Wide brushes, Straws

Word Art. Is your child excited by unusually written signs? Does she see letters as shapes or figures? Ask her to try her hand at some word art. Take a word, say

Thumb Art

‘rain’. She can write the letters RAIN using rain drops. Or

HOW TO: Have your child press his thumb on an ink pad

she can write out the word BEACH with sun, sand

and then make a thumb impression on paper. Let the

and waves.

thumbprint dry. Let him use his imagination to create animals out of his thumbprint.

Shape them up! To stimulate your child’s imagination, give a simple shape such as a circle or a

Ink Blobs

triangle and ask your child to make interesting drawings

HOW TO: Let the child splatter ink directly on paper,

using this shape. You can suggest a list of objects to be

using a brush. Let the blob dry. He can then add features

created from these shapes - angry man, car or tree.

to the blob to create characters.

60 idea

Wax crayon art Here is a spectacular colour riot! Your child will love this absorbing art activity where beautiful rainbow colours emerge almost magically.



YOU WILL NEED Crayons, Canvas, 1 tube of Fevicol, Hair dryer, Old newspapers

HOW TO STEP 1: Have the child select the crayons in the colours he wants to use and paste them on the canvas in any pattern he likes. Make sure that there is enough white space beyond the crayon tip, as melting crayon colours will run from these ends. STEP 2: Place the canvas against the wall. Line the adjacent areas (wall and floor) with newspapers to protect them from the splattering paint. Have the child switch on the hair-dryer, starting with the high and warm settings and alternating with low, aiming the hot air on to the tips of the crayons. He has to experiment a little to see how the hair-dryer melts the wax. If he wants the wax to melt and drip in a particular direction, he has to rotate the canvas accordingly.


61 Crafty Creations FOR S AGE


hildren need to play with


Coil Pottery Pottery without the potter’s wheel!

mud, fool around with


colours and dough and

River clay (available with roadside potter), Poster/

get their hands dirty. So instead

Acrylic paints, Water

of being fussy, allow them to become creative.

HOW TO Add water to river clay to make a chappathi-like dough. Pat a palm-sized ball of clay into a flat circle about 3 inch in diameter to make the base of your pot. Roll a smaller ball of clay into a rope about ½ inch thick that is long enough to go around the circumference of the base. Coil this length along the ridge of the base. Keep adding coils one on top of the other, narrowing as you go upwards. Make sure to pinch the coils together lightly. When you have the desired height, pinch the mouth of your pot to the desired shape. Let it dry in the sun till the pot hardens. Paint as you wish!

DID YOU KNOW? SCORING, FOLDING, CURLING, QUILLING and PLEATING are the most commonly needed skills for paper craft? Learn how to from our video at

23 62 idea ideas

Tie & Dye Scarf



This is an easy way to create pieces of exotic fabric! Design your own fabric to make handkerchiefs, dupattas and whatever else you want.

YOU WILL NEED Required size of white cotton cloth, 100 grams channa, Cloth dye powder in your desired colours (available in craft stores), Twine or rubber bands, Salt/vinegar & water for fixative

HOW TO SOAK your new white cloth overnight to remove the starch from it. SOAK again in a fixative for 10 minutes. The fixative can be made by either adding 1/2 cup salt to 8 cups of cold water or by mixing 1 part vinegar with 4 parts cold water. DRY the cloth thoroughly. PLACE one channa in the centre of your cloth. Wrap the channa with the cloth and bind tightly with twine or rubber bands. Tie other channa similarly, in any pattern you wish. SOAK the fabric in the dye for 2 to 3 hours. Sun-dry completely. UNTIE the channa and find a beautiful bandhini pattern on your white fabric. You can try a 2 colour combination by first dying the plain fabric in a light colour and then tying the channa and dyeing in another darker colour. Make sure the cloth dries completely between the dyeing processes. INSTEAD of channa, experiment with other materials such as coins, rice and stones.

TO MIX DYE: Bring to boil a litre of water. Add one tablespoon of dye powder and stir.



Homemade 3+ Play Dough Play dough is a versatile material helping with tactile development in children. It is a great

therapy for calming hyperactive children. Here is an easy homemade play dough recipe, coloured with natural ingredients.

YOU WILL NEED 2 cups maida, 1 cup salt, 1 tablespoon cooking oil, 1/3 to1/4 cup cooled vegetable dye*

HOW TO Mix all the ingredients to make a smooth dough that has the consistency of a chappathi dough. For different colours of play dough prepare the same mixture using different colour dyes. Keep dough in refrigerator, wrapped in cling film.

*Vegetable dye recipes Chop plant material into small pieces and place in a pot. Add water in the ratio of 2 cups for every cup of plant material. Bring to a boil, and simmer for about an hour. Strain. PINK TO MAGENTA: Beetroot GREEN: Spinach RED: Hibiscus YELLOW TO ORANGE: Add 4 tablespoons of ground turmeric (or more if you want a stronger colour) to about a litre of water in a large stainless steel (not aluminium) vessel and stir with a wooden or plastic spoon. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. NOTE: Colours will appear lighter in play dough.





Papier Mache + Balloon Puppet Make fun heads and prop them onto sticks or umbrella frames to make large puppet characters

YOU WILL NEED Medium sized balloons, Twine/rubber bands, Old newspapers, Water, Fevicol or Maida paste, Poster paints, Jute rope

HOW TO SOAK torn bits of newspaper in water. BLOW a balloon to maximum capacity. Secure with a piece of twine or rubber band. Remove a bit of soaked newspaper from the water and smear with fevicol. PASTE it on the balloon. Keep pasting in this manner till the entire surface is covered leaving a small gap at the secured end of the balloon. Let the pasted balloon dry completely in the sun. ADD more such layers over a period of 2-3 days allowing each layer to dry completely. Deflate the balloon and remove it from the papier mache shell. PAINT a face on the shell. For the hair, attach painted jute rope strings to the head using cellotape.

TO USE AS A PUPPET INSERT a sturdy stick or an umbrella frame in the

hole in the head.

FOLD a dupatta into two and using a small portion of the folded end at the top, make a knot around the stick and shell to secure the head. The dupatta now hangs like a gown around the stick, but with an opening or slit. Instead of knotting, you could also pin or stitch the dupatta. BEFORE a performance, insert one hand under the flowing dupatta to hold the stick. This hand should not be visible to the audience. THRUST the other hand through the dupatta slit and make hand movements/gestures. Your moving hand has become the puppet character’s hand and acts out a role.


65 &


Designer Forum

f your child loves to design her own clothes and accessories and ‘imprint’ her stamp on them, here are some ideas to trigger her thinking.

Pasta Necklace For once, this pasta is not for eating. Help your little designer fashion her own



necklace with pasta!

YOU WILL NEED Pasta (Tube), Food Colouring, Zipped bag or pouch, A string, Scissors


HOW TO ASK your child to select the pasta that she wants for the necklace. TELL her to decide what colours she wants to use. Divide the pasta accordingly and place in separate zip

T-Shirt Pillow


Your children will love to cuddle up with this pillow.

locked bags. IN each bag, have her add 3 to 4 drops of the desired food colouring. HAVE her seal the bags and shake them well so that the pasta is uniformly coloured. Next, have her add a few drops of vinegar to each bag. Shake the bags well. NOW open the bags and leave the pasta to dry completely. HAVE her measure and cut the desired length of string. She can pass the string through the pastas in a pattern and finally tie the two ends of the string together. The pasta necklace is ready to wear!

YOU WILL NEED An old T-shirt, Cotton filling, Needle and Thread

HOW TO TURN the T-shirt inside out. LET them sew the bottom of the T-shirt. NOW tell them to sew the arm holes in the same manner. THEN, turn the shirt back, right side out. NOW, ask them to stuff the shirt, from the opening at the collar of the T-shirt, with cotton. Once it has been stuffed properly, they can sew the collar. The T-shirt pillow is now ready!



Stringing Flowers

Does your child wish to string her own flowers and wear it on her hair? Here’s how you can teach her the basics of stringing flowers via this simple demo using a matchstick.



YOU WILL NEED Matchstick, Thread


 Place the thread

 Keep the

 Take the right end

horizontally across

matchstick vertically

of the thread, pull it

the table.

on the thread, with its

towards the left over

head on top.

the stick and then, bring it towards the right again from under the stick.

TIP! Now that your child has learnt how to string a stick, go ahead and teach her

 Now, stretch the

 Now, pull the

 You have

right end of the string

right end of the

successfully tied the

and make a loop with

string to make a

stick to the string!

the loose end crossing


Now, keep adding

how to string jasmine

over on the frontside

more matchsticks to

flowers or even

facing you.

perfect the art.

crumpled coloured

 Slide the matchstick

papers that she can

head through the front

hang as streamers.

of the loop. If you are still confused, then check out our video at



Room Makeover

very child yearns for his or her very own personal space - a place that reflects his or her individuality. Help your child create this space for himself in the bedroom that he either has to himself or shares with his siblings.

TIPS DISCUSS WITH YOUR CHILD what she would like to have in her room: study area, an exercise area, a dressing table and mirror, an area to hang out with friends, or an art corner. DESIGN WALLS and furniture to change the look and mood of the room. Allow your child to choose the colours and

Decorating the walls



the theme.

WALLS can be painted in different

ALLOW DIFFERENT DECOR if the space is shared by

colours, designs and textures. To create

siblings. Have them decide on a common colour for the room

textures and designs on the walls you

or go neutral on the main room colours.

can paint with sponges or stencils, cover the wall with handprints or even

DECORATE THE ROOM with memorabilia, trophies,

stick wall stickers. Entire murals can be

artworks or photos. Provide a display/pinup board for the

painted on the walls based on a theme

child to display all her favourite works.

that the child loves - Disney characters,

REUSE OLD FURNITURE from around the house in new

Aquarium, Jungle, Cars, Trains, Planes,

ways. Buy furniture from second-hand shops.

Solar System or Cricket. When you want a different look, all you have to do is

PLAN THE STORAGE and organization of clothes, books,

repaint the wall.

toys, shoes and bags. The best way to organize all her stuff is to have different boxes that can be decorated and

POSTERS will help personalize your

labelled. These should fit under the cot. Old recycled cans

child’s room and those with inspirational

can be used to store knick-knacks like pens and hairclips.

messages can help motivate him. Let him

MAKE A DESIGNER NAMEPLATE with your child that she

design his own posters with a little help

can hang on the door.

from you, if necessary.

CREATE A RULE BOARD together with your child that

TEENAGERS in particular, can decorate

spells out instructions for cleaning the room and allowing

their walls with dupattas of different

pets inside. This can be stuck on the door.

shapes and colours for an ethnic look.



Handmade Curtains THE child can string large beads together in a pattern of her choice and hang several such strings on the doorframe to create a



beaded curtain. DIFFERENT colours of ribbons can be hung from a rope, which is tied over the door frame.

SUN-CATCHER CURTAINS THE sun-catcher curtain is a fun, creative shade that can be used to cover a window. Here’s how to make one.

YOU WILL NEED Tracing paper (measure the area of your window and get 2 ½ times this size of tracing paper), Acrylic/ poster paints, Broad brushes, Rags, A pair of large scissors, Fevicol, Stapler, A roll of Jute or other rope of medium thickness.

HOW TO TAKE one sheet of tracing paper and paint one side of it with large swathes of bright colours. Leave to dry. TAKE another blank sheet of tracing paper and paste it over the dried painted side of the paper. REPEAT the above steps with the remaining sheets. ONCE dried, cut the pasted sheets into 1” wide strips along the length of the sheet. TAKE a piece of rope that is about one foot longer than the width of your window. This is the rope that will be strung at the top of the window. Place it horizontally on a flat surface. MEASURE the height of the window. Cut two pieces of rope about 4-6 inches longer than the height of the window. Leaving about 4 inches on either side of

70 23 ideas idea

the top rope, attach the top ends of these two ropes to it. Let the ropes hang vertically on either side parallel to each other on the flat surface. Now you have the basic frame of your curtain. ATTACH two or more paper strips together with staples so that you have a strip that is at least 8 inches longer than the width of the window. PLACE this strip between the two vertical ropes, ½ inch below the top horizontal rope. Wrap the strip ends around the two ropes and attach with staples/glue, trimming the strips as necessary. REPEAT this process with additional strips, placing each about ½ inch below the preceding strip till the entire


rope length is covered, leaving 2 inches at the bottom. Knot the ends of each of the ropes. Now you will have


horizontal slats between the ropes. NOW attach two or more paper strips together with staples so that you have a strip that is at least 8 inches

slats, leaving half an inch from the left hand side. Secure

Decorating Accessories

the bottom end of the strip by folding and pasting it

Storage boxes and tins can be decorated in

onto the horizontal strip at the bottom. This will be the

several ways with paints, stickers, beads or

‘bottom’ end.

sequins. Old newspaper or magazine papers

longer than the height of the window. PLACE a strip of paper vertically across the horizontal

can be used to decorate a box, dustbin or WEAVE the vertical strip in and out of the horizontal

old cans.

strips. Wrap the top of the woven vertical strip over the top rope and secure it with staples/glue.


REPEAT weaving and securing to top rope, with more

To make a pencil holder, you will need some

vertical strips. Place them ½ inch apart, till the entire

old newspaper or paper from old magazines,

width between the two vertical ropes is covered. Adjust

a can with the top open, glue, Fevicol and

the weaves to cover the stapled/attached areas of

scissors. Cut out pieces of paper, at least 6

the strips.

inches wide. Apply glue on the paper and roll it in tightly to make rolled strips. Attach these

NOW your curtain is ready to be hung from the window.

strips onto the sides of the can with Fevicol.

When the sun streams in through your curtains, it will look spectacular. You can paint names, your favourite

TIP: To add colour, select paper that

patterns like stars, hearts or airplanes to personalize

is colourful.

your curtain!

71 Li’l Chef ideas




hildren love to eat their own creations. Why not allow them to blend their own smoothies or make fun-shaped sandwiches, or decorate those cookies?

Involve them in tasks that they are able to handle and don’t worry too much about the mess.


FRUIT SALAD PEEL and cut a variety of fruits such as strawberry, kiwi, banana, mango, apple and orange. Display in individual attractive containers. PLACE a variety of toppings such as flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk, jams, chocolate sauce, raisins or nuts in small bowls. EACH child can be given an individual bowl and toothpicks to choose her fruits and toppings and customize her fruit salad. Or have your child create her own yummy fruit salad and serve the whole family.

Traffic Light-Butterfly-Bunny


(makes 20 small cookies)

MIX together150g flour, 75g butter at room temperature, 75g sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla essence. Mix in very little milk (1 to 2tsp) if needed, to hold the dough together. ROLL out and use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes of dough. BUTTER a baking tray and place the cut-out shapes on it. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. GET creative and decorate with Gems, candies or nuts by using a paste of 10g butter at room temperature and 20g icing sugar.

73 ideas

Japanese Style




MIX 100gms white butter at room temperature, 100 gms castor sugar and 50g cocoa powder. Beat well with a spoon



so that it is lump-free and fluffy to form chocolate butter cream. DIP 10 Marie biscuits into this mixture one at a time until they are fully coated. LAYER the biscuits on a tray so as to form a tower (around 5 for each tower). If any of the chocolate cream remains, it can be smeared onto the biscuit towers. SET the towers in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Slice as desired and serve.



FOR LION: Cut out 2 inch diameter rounds from brown bread. Cut out 2 small It is a style of packing lunch in which small

rounds from white bread for the eyes

quantities of different food groups such as rice,

(use bottle caps of different sizes

vegetables, fruits and pulses are placed in small

to cut

moulds to make the box look attractive.

the rounds).

PRESS into moulds mixed rice like pulao, tomato

APPLY butter and green chutney/

rice or lime rice. Use small bowls, heart-shaped

jam/cheese spread between the 2

moulds, Play-Doh moulds or any other interesting

slices of brown bread.

shapes found at home.

ARRANGE thin carrot sticks and yellow

TURN onto a plate so that the desired shapes

capsicum sticks in between the 2 slices of

are formed.

bread to resemble the mane of the lion. Place

USE cookie cutters to punch out shapes of boiled carrots or beetroot.

the 2 white circles to make the eyes of the lion. Use ketchup or jam to draw the nose and mouth of the lion. Place on a bed of lettuce

BOIL and flavour pulses such as rajma


or channa.

serve immediately.

PLACE each of the above food items in different

TIP: Use large cookie cutters to punch

containers and pack the lunch box attractively

out different shapes of bread.

(muffin liners can be used).

(COURTESY: Rashmee Ramkumar)

76 Booknook ideas



oes your child shy away from reading? Engage him in activities that involve books instead, and be pleasantly surprised!

Reading Theatre



This is a simple group activity which can be done with children in your apartment complex or with a familiar group of schoolchildren. Choose a book that has distinctive characters, and lends itself to role play. BOOK CHOICES: Roald Dahl’s Matilda, Pippi Longstocking’s adventure books, Ruskin Bond’s Mr Olivier’s series. Let each child assume a role of her choice. During the role play, children should read their portions aloud with emotion. Guide

Start a Book Hospital 6+ Get your child to adopt an


old worn-out book. Encourage him to nurse the book back to health. Let him design a new

book cover with a drawing and write a short description of the story at the back of the book. Have him interview a few students

them as needed. Enacting the characters in the book as

and teachers who have read the book and

a group will make reading a fun affair. As the Reading

compile their responses.

Theatre sessions become popular, ask the children to take turns to bring their favourite books to share and read together.

ous fam e fiv

harry potter


ali r



nder agues u 0000 le sea e th

ter pe n pa





Encourage Reading!


78 &


Use modelling cardboard to make the head-end of a bookworm for your child. Make it about 4’’ in length.

SET aside a special corner in the house to place

Tack these on a bulletin board and say nothing about

the books you are reading together with your

them until asked. Then with your child’s help, cut out

child. You can even decorate the

additional curved sections for the bookworm’s body. As

space together.

a child completes a book, he writes the title on a curved section and pastes it onto his worm. Watch those worms grow! If he does not like worms, make a tree and add leaves for the books read.

MAKE it a habit to read to your young child every night at bedtime. Encourage older children to read for at least 15 minutes before going to bed. GET the child’s role model/mentor/godparent to

Book Art Get together with your child to :



gift her a book you would like her to read. TALK about the title of the book your child is about to read. Ask your child what she thinks it might mean or what the book might be about. DISCUSS the author of the book. Have you

CREATE bookmarks centred on the theme of the

heard of this author or read other works

book he or she is reading.

by her?

CREATE colourful posters to display your child’s

LET the child check out other titles by this

favourite booklist.

author and see which ones sound interesting

PLAN a comic book project with your child. Pick

to him.

up a book that your child enjoyed reading and help

AFTER he finishes the book, ask your child to

her illustrate in a sequence her favourite portion

suggest different endings to the book.

from the book.

DISCUSS the characters in the book. Have

CREATE a puppet show from the story of her

him think of other names he might give

favourite book. First, draw the characters from

the characters.

the book and cut them out. These cutouts are then glued or stapled to a stick and the puppet characters are complete. The children can now stage a puppet show with a voice over.

TAKE your child and his friends to book readings for children in the city. There are book fairs, storytelling sessions and interactions with authors of children’s books. Do not fret if they seem disinterested at first. In time, they will pick up an affinity for books.


80 Writers’ Guild S

ome children get inspired by observing the world around them or by the stories they read or hear and develop an urge to write. You could help them work on their writing skills with these ideas.

Keep a Journal YOU WILL NEED Discipline to make entries on a regular basis.



HOW TO YOUR child can take an old, unused diary that promises to keep secrets just by the way it looks, or get a beautifully bound notebook having pictures of his favourite wild animals on the cover. These are just incentives for him to maintain a journal. If he is artistically and creatively inclined, he can make his own journal by tying together loose A4 sheaves of paper, with illustrated covers. HE can write anything he wants in this. It can be about how he faced tense moments for not completing his assignment on time, or it can be on how he felt when he was sitting so still and a butterfly sat on his sleeve. It can even be an essay about a specific topic, and thus, not be restricted to memoirs. He can have long or short entries. AS there are no rules governing his writing, he can truly feel free to express his ideas without worrying about his language, style or grammar. EDITING for language and grammar can always be done later if he wants to share his writing with others. It is first important to generate the ideas for writing. Language and grammar will follow. Trying to focus on all aspects of writing can stifle the child’s thought process and lead to writer’s block. THE greatest benefits of keeping a journal is that the child will get used to the idea of writing, and the journal will be a definite, non-judgmental friend.



Script a story THE STORY IDEA: Help your child to first think of the idea.



He can imagine what his pets would say if they could talk. He can adapt ideas from tele-serials or from comics and other stories he reads. For instance, his dog may have magical powers and turn into different breeds if he eats carrots, or become invisible if he eats laddus! Or perhaps he can fly. STORY BASICS: Help your child develop an outline of what he’ll be saying in the story. Who is the main protagonist? What does he like to do? Who are his friends? Who does he not like? What does he do with his friends? Usually, there is a problem to solve, so lead your child to this point. Ask him to identify the people in the story who will help the hero solve the problem. How does the hero face the various challenges with his animal friends or real-life friends? STORY DETAILS: Now is the time for your child to create more details around the basic story. How did the hero get into the problem? Can he solve it, with the help of friends? Is there an adult mentor who helps the troubled hero and his friends, and also keeps the hero’s secret? How will he help? Who is the villain? Why did he do this dastardly act? What does he know that the hero does not? PLOT: The child now knows what is going to happen, but this has to happen at the right time and place. What happens first, what happens next and what happens again because of this? This sequence of events constitutes the plot. How do the decisions taken by the main character lead to the next challenge? What adventures follow and what roadblocks are placed by the villain? How do our friends get over these, and reach the final goal? Finally, what reward does our hero get and what punishment goes to the villain? WRITE: After the child is familiar with the flow of the story, he needs to write it in his own words. His characters should talk, there should be descriptions. He need not worry too much about grammar/spellings for the moment. EDIT: After the story is completed, the child should revise and fix the mistakes. He should make sure that each character is presented differently through the way they talk. MAKE A BOOK: Get or make a book with blank pages. Have the child write the story in the book and draw illustrations. If the child is very young, you can write the story for her, while she does the illustrations.


82 Voice

your thought FOR AGES


Left, right & back A minimum of two people are required for this activity. ASK your older child to choose an ice-cream parlour, a book store or a shop closeby. LET us say your older child chooses a new ice-cream parlour whose location is not known to your younger child. Now, ask the older one to tell or write out directions from your house to the ice-cream parlour. The directions should mention landmarks and shops or buildings the younger child is aware of. LET the younger child follow the directions and try to locate the shop. IF the child reaches the ice-cream shop, tell her to buy an ice-cream and enjoy it! IF the younger child was unable to follow the directions, have a talk with your children on what went wrong in the communication. Try spelling out the directions with more

ou can have brilliant ideas, but if you

clarity and see if the child can reach the destination

can’t get them across, they won’t get you

correctly this time.

anywhere” Lee Iacocca (former president of Chrysler).

TIPS PARENTS can give directions to children. The children can also give directions to their friends or visiting cousins or even to the parent. ENSURE that the destinations are nearby so that the children do not get lost and it is safe for them to venture out on their own. If safety is a concern, go along with the child, allowing him to navigate, without any inputs from you.





My point of view


This is a fun activity which helps children appreciate


various points of view. It also shows that for communication to be

effective, the instructions have to be precise and clear. LET one of your children or their friends think of an everyday object - it could be a pencil box, a cup or an apple. NOW, let them describe that object to others who will have to guess what it is. Have them make up their own rules on what words can or cannot be used or if gestures are allowed. Your child may have an apple in mind while her friend thinks that the answer is a tomato!



From picture to prose Draw a picture and ask your child to describe it. Encourage her to describe the scene, the objects, people, animals, birds, colours and every element that appeals to her. Draw a picture with enough details so that there is a lot to think and talk about. Such a session will help them communicate their ideas in a logical manner. For older children - ask them to weave a story

TIP! Instead of drawing a picture, you may choose pictures from newspapers or old issues of the National Geographic magazine and have your children describe them in detail.

from this picture.

TIPS TEACH CHILDREN TO: THINK before they speak. SPEAK clearly. NOT shout. TELL the other person how they feel. ALLOW others to finish what they have to say. SAY all they want to say. LISTEN carefully.


5+ Table Talk Select a topic like a recent cricket match, a recent visit to grandparents, an interesting book or article, a topic in the news or a movie that you watched together as a family. At dinnertime, start a discussion on this topic and encourage everyone to participate. Allow your children to ask questions, express their views and encourage listeners to hear out the individual speakers.


86 Looney Tunes to



usic produces a kind of pleasure which human

nature cannot do without.� CONFUCIUS Introduce your child to music. It can be informal and as simple as humming a tune or listening to the sounds of nature. Let him create his own music using these ideas.

Word and Tunes




Straw Flute 8+

Make your own Jal Tarang 4+ FOR AGES

Press and flatten one end of a

Jal Tarang is a classical instrument

straw. Cut diagonally with scissors

which creates music by using water

on both sides of the flat end to form

in china bowls. Here’s how you can

Have you

a pencil point. This will be the reed

make your own Jal Tarang!

noticed that certain words

that vibrates to create sound. Blow

have a mood of their own?

hard from the other end to hear

Take 6 to 10 bowls of the same size

Sing each word in the pitches

music. TIP: If needed, shorten the

and shape, made of porcelain or

that bring out its character.

straw size, and flatten it some more.

glass. Fill the bowls with water at



Try singing the word ANGRY in

different levels. Take two pencils and strike the rims of the bowls

a really loud voice with a high

AS you blow, keep cutting the straw

to make different musical notes.

even pitch. Sing happy starting ha

to shorten it. Observe the change

Hear the notes emanating from the

with a low pitch and taking ppy

in pitch.

different bowls, and mix and match

to a high pitch. Try sorry

FOLD the straw and snip out a tiny

starting with a medium pitch

portion at the folded end to make

and taking it to a really low

a hole. The hole will help produce


a different sound when your child

String together 5 such words

blows into the straw. Cut out more

which convey different moods

holes along the straw. Open and

to you and sing them in

close the holes while blowing to hear

appropriate pitches.

different notes. (COURTESY:

to create an interesting tune.




Balloon Drum 5+



Blow a big balloon to the maximum possible size. Deflate it and cut off the neck. Place a scotch tape roll flat on the table. Stretch the cut balloon across the roll of scotch tape, completely covering the centre gap. Secure the stretched balloon around the tape with a thick rubber band. Now take two pencils and play on your drum!

Experiment! Try stretching the balloon tighter or looser. How does this affect the sound produced?

Rhythm 4+ Game FOR AGES


6+ Balloon Banjo

Play a rhythm game with your child. Start with simple single claps spaced at equal intervals of about a second. Ask your child to mimic you. Repeat this activity increasing the frequency of claps and increasing the complexity of rhythm.

Blow a balloon and tie a knot

For example: One clap followed

at its neck. Tie one end of a twine of about 4 feet length to

by two quick claps. Try different

the balloon neck below the knot. Tuck the balloon under your


arm and balance it on your hip. With one hand, pull the free


end of the twine tightly against the side of the balloon. With

Try using different surfaces to

the other hand, pluck or strum the string.

drum on, such as a wooden table or


a glass window. Experiment, using

Try changing the length of the string. Alternatively, increase

a spoon and a steel vessel. Imagine

or decrease the string tension. Hold the balloon loose or

light rain drumming upon a tin roof

tight. Try a different type of string, or strum several

and turning into a heavy rain or

strings together.

imagine swiftly approaching horse hooves and simulate the sound.

(SOURCE: The Tech Museum of Innovation, USA)


92 Giving Tree ideas



hen children volunteer, they get to see how they can actually make a difference. It fosters in them a sense of gratitude for who they are and for what they have. Volunteering makes children more responsible - it teaches them about sharing and caring, hard work and dedication, skills they will need as adults.


Funds for a cause Encourage your children to set aside a part of their pocket money each month for a worthy cause. Instead of birthday gifts, have friends and family gift money for a

differently-abled children who may feel intimidated by your children. This will also make your children more responsive to the needs of differently-abled children.

months, take out the lump sum and drive

Lend a hand

your children to the charity of their choice.

Another way to volunteer would be

Let them donate the money for causes

to teach younger children. Your

close to them - it could be to an orphanage,

14-year-old son may want to help

a home for the elderly or an organisation

the 8- and 10-year-olds in the

that takes care of wounded stray animals.

apartment block with their

charity selected by the child. After a few

Adopt a furry friend

studies. Or he may want to read the Ramayana to his grandmother in the evenings. If your security person or the

Newspapers often carry ads from

help at home has young children

organizations putting up stray pups and

who need help with studies,

kittens for adoption. If your six-year-old

check with your children if they

child has been hankering for a furry friend

would like to lend a helping hand.

for quite a while, take her to the animal shelter and allow her to adopt a stray pup. The pup gets a home, your child gets a

Share'n'care Find out about environmental

friend for life!

programmes nearby where

Friends indeed

your child can volunteer.

Friendships spring from the most unlikely

on volunteering; the

places. Your child can be a buddy to

spirit of volunteering

an underprivileged child, mentor a slow

is lost if you force

learner or spend valuable time with a

your child to

differently-abled child. It is important to

spend time in such

sensitize your children to the needs of


Ensure that he is keen

97 ideas



Lead thy kin

eadership skills enable children to be in control of their lives. The activities given below will sharpen your child’s ability to plan and devise strategies, both of which are regarded


as core skills within leadership.

Your own show



Start your own newspaper


is a family affair and all must

Help your child start a newspaper

TO get interesting inputs,

for family members. Using a word

THE children can draw little

the child should enlist the

processing software, let her report

invitations and hand them over to

help of cousins or peers (for

the latest happenings in the family in

family members informing them of

neighbourhood newspapers).

one or two pages as required. Take

the date and event.

Networking is an important

a real newspaper for reference, and

leadership skill. Team-building

show the child how she can create a

skills will follow.


night on a Friday or the weekend. THEY must ensure that family members have no other plans as it

mock masthead and draw small text boxes for small news items.

Let your children organise a family

THE child can sell the newspaper for a very nominal sum and keep

be present.

GIVE some cash to the children and let them know that whatever they are organizing (food or DVDs) must not exceed the budget. LET them plan the food and menu.

It would be fun if you allow your

track of its distribution and

child to write about the latest family

the money earned and learn to

LET them choose various activities

gossip - an aunt who has gone to

increase both - thus showing

for each family night. These could

Spain for a vacation, an uncle who

initiative. He will also learn to

be movies (grab DVDs which you

lost his dog or dad going on an

share profits with other children.

know everyone will enjoy and watch

official trip to Delhi. After the headlines and stories have been written, ask her to take printouts which she can hand out to visiting relatives for fun. She can learn from this experience and start a school/ neighbourhood newspaper with some buddies.

at least two back-to-back with CHILDREN will learn to verify

popcorn in place!); games (Scrabble,

facts before writing and learn

Monopoly, Pictionary, Risk); story-

to become objective (a difficult

telling or ‘How was my day today’

skill).It will also hone their

(everyone shares what they did that

communication skills.

day with the rest of the family).

THEY may become influential in

ONCE the night is over, ask the

their own sphere of activities and

children to get feedback so that they

rally support for causes!

can go about organizing the next one.

99 ideas

to 108

Sense & Sensibility

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” R W EMERSON

Honesty: The phone rings and your child answers. She turns to you as the call is for you.

responsibilities on a regular basis

You furiously gesture “Say I’m not

such as watering the plants or

here.” And your child is made to lie

helping younger siblings.

to the caller at the other end of the

Compassion and Empathy:

line because of you! The best way to teach honesty is to be honest yourself.

your children get dressed for school on time, and ensure that they have honest reasons for turning up late. They will learn from you that there is actually nothing fashionable about

respect your civic sense.

postman is sweating profusely as

Self-respect: Spend

he hands over the mail to you. Your

time with your children, relax and

child could be taught to offer a glass

bond with them. Convey to them

of water to him. You can encourage

that they are valuable to you, yet

children to read to older people.

individuals in their own right. You will

Your friendly neighbourhood

Punctuality: Help

rules, your child will automatically

build self-respect in them.


your children to thank people.

Courage: Narrate real

Older children can make thoughtful

stories of courageous figures like

are 3-4 years old can be taught to

craft items demonstrating their

Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Helen

respond politely. Teach your older

appreciation instead of a written

Keller. It will inspire children to stand

children to stand aside holding the

note. If you thank your driver for

up for what they believe in, despite

door open to let the older people

getting an errand done or for driving

the adversities.

pass at supermarkets and

you to the cinemas, your child will

other places.

follow your example.



Civic Sense: Show

Persevere whenever you face

Younger children should be

your children that it is not correct to

through with grit. Teach your child

encouraged to put away their

jump the queue, no matter how long

that every cloud has a silver lining.

toys after they are done playing.

it is and how urgent the need. While

Your child will quietly follow your

Older ones can be assigned other

driving, when you follow the traffic

example and learn to never give up.

being fashionably late.


Children who


challenges in your life and see them

May issu 2012  

May issu 2012

May issu 2012  

May issu 2012