Playing it Safe
Fashion designer Rahul Mishra and his wife Divya’s key priority is to keep their four-year-old daughter Aarna safe and engaged while indoors. We’re trying to make her time at home productive, educational and entertaining, says Rahul. They paint, clean the home and do gardening together. She even helps with the cooking, getting a bowl of vegetables to chop with her toy knife and helping knead the dough for chapatis. And when her father is doing yoga, Aarna is by his side; when he sketches, his girl has a pencil in her hand too. We also engage her in simple physical activities, says the designer. Sometimes, they just dance or play catch me if you can’ in the living room.
Learning to bond
The lockdown has given Shruti and Saketesh Mohapatra, Mumbai-based wedding photographers, a great opportunity to bond and do fun activities with their four-year-old twins, Shivaan and Amaira. Shruti has even started a YouTube channel to share her stories. I’m bringing outdoor activities indoors. I let them ride a scooter in the house or splash around in the inflatable pool. I’ve even bought a yoga book and begun teaching them. We also bake healthy cupcakes and cookies, says Shruti.
Once Upon a Time
Who can resist a good story? In February 2019, former edupreneur Divya Bawa started The Story Band, a musical storytelling class for children, where they learn about the environment, animal welfare, autism, bullying and so on while being entertained. Access is via her Instagram account @BawaDivya or The Story Band channel on YouTube. These days, Delhi-based Bawa and her fellow edupreneur husband Shabadjit are also spending a lot of time with their daughter, Nanki, 5. We find fun ways to do math and art or read and write. One day, we are shelling peas and counting; the next, we are doing unique art projects, says Bawa.
Divya Bawa’s daughter Nanki
Burst of creativity
Since mid-March, Mumbai-based Nidhi Goel has been drawing up a daily activity chart for her daughters, Prerana, 9, and Aninditha, 12. It is important to have a mix of activities, otherwise they’ll spend all their time on the iPad or get bored, she says. Goel does skipping, simple stretching and yoga asanas with her daughters in the morning. Then, there’s three hours of study. In the afternoon or early evening, she gets them to bake cookies or do craftwork. The day ends with a game of Monopoly, Twenty Questions and Exploding Kittens, or mental math quizzes.
Last Sunday, 10-year-old Anoushka made minestrone soup with vegetables, with the help of mum Resham Deshpande, a Mumbai-based dentist. The recipe came out of one of the many cook books in the family kitchen. After lunch, there was a stitching and knitting session with grandma. Thanks to her, Anoushka now knows the running stitch. She has also been doing online school assignments, practising kathak, learning classical music and basic cooking. These activities equip the children with important life skills, increase focus and concentration and teach them about healthy eating. Children are more likely to eat healthy vegetables when they have cooked the dish, says Deshpande.
Resham Deshpande’s daughter Anoushka
Tune in to a podcast
Nothing excites eight-year-old Mumbaikar, Avni Patil, more than a good bedtime story. But with her grandparents away in Pune, her paediatrician mother Priyanka Patil turns to Spin-a-Yarn podcasts to play stories. These tales are entertaining and comforting for children, she says. The online storytelling platform by Mumbai-based Madhurata Deshmukh launched A Story a Week’ programme this March, in which storytellers from different countries narrate children’s stories that are part of the cultural folklore but are rarely found in storybooks. From India, there is the popular Konkani tale, Undirmama Aiylo (The Mouse Has Come) and Chal Re Bhoplya (Come On Pumpkin), a favourite Marathi yarn.
On the recipe trail
Gurugram-based Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, co-founders of Slurrp Farm, a healthy food brand for kids, are trying out easy, yummy and healthy recipes with their children Nandita, 7, and Roshen, 6, respectively. By March-end, these recipes will be compiled as a recipe book and launched on Slurrp Farm’s D2C website. Their goal is to clock over 100 recipes in 30 days. While we are at home, Shauravi and I are looking to cook with our children and share our grandmother’s recipes and stories, says Meghana. They are trying their hand at pancake making and decoration, preparing dosa batter, mixing immunity-boosting add-ons such as jaggery and almond flour into homemade ice creams.
Delhi-based jewellery designer, gemologist and Athvlya founder Pramiti Goenka and her son Avyaansh, 2, have their days full. In the mornings, Avyaansh takes lessons in Indian classical music from his grandmother and plays cricket with his grandfather. Post an afternoon nap, daddy and he play in the garden. Pramiti does different STEM activities and stories with him. I have signed up with MagicCrate and FlintoBox for activities. I also follow @recycleandplay and @mothercould on Instagram for at-home sensory play ideas, says Pramiti.
Pramiti Goenka’s son Avyaansh
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