Interactive Workshop at DPS International, Saket

Conducted an interactive workshop with students of Grade 5 in the library of the school based on the topic of Energy Saving from our book City of Stars. The kids enjoyed interactive storytelling and were excited to participate in the interactive activity, which taught them about Energy Eating Monsters at home.

The session was also highly appreciated by the school authorities, who felt that “the thoughts of the author were well imparted to the children.”

Read more about the school feedback

Author Speak Session at Pathways School

Our founder was invited to conduct an author speak session with Grade 1 students at Pathways Baliawas in Gurugram for our storybook City of Stars. The session involved interactive storytelling by the teachers, followed by an interactive activity designed on the topic of Energy Saving from the book.

Kids showed a lot of excitement while guessing Energy Eating Monsters at home. The kids were also excited to buy a signed copy from the author during the following book fair.

Earth and Environment Experiential Workshops

These are a series of workshops based on the topics in our storybook – City of Stars – designed to change everyday habits of children and their families for a GREENER, CLEANER and HEALTHIER PLANET! The book was launched on March 3rd, 2019 at the Butterfly Park, Gurugram.

Noise Tracking – Workshop 1

Workshop details at https://www.facebook.com/events/328595311130204/

View workshop pics at https://www.facebook.com/pg/litjoys/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2345382499027188

Light Pollution and Energy Saving – Workshop 2

Workshop details at https://www.facebook.com/events/585918398561045/

City of Stars – An Experiential Book

In Nov 2017, after the Diwali break, I got a frantic call from another distraught parent…”Our children are suffering because of the unhealthy, polluted air. Can we request their school to put purifiers in the classrooms? Can’t we do anything about it?”

I felt devastated seeing our children, elderly and many other adults suffering from bad bouts of health for months together year on year. I also felt sad seeing our children deprived of the original joys of childhood – gazing at the sky full of stars and playing freely under the blue skies.

It struck me then that the future of our children – and their health – lies in our own hands. WE (the citizens) need to change our everyday habits first and become RESPONSIBLE instead of only expecting our government to take action.

If we want to see the bright stars and blue skies again, every month our habits must change, through the year follow and maintain, to our friends and family explain, remind them of the habits they need to sustain!

Thus, City of Stars – an experiential book in the form of a calendar- was conceived…

I wanted to be part of the solution to spread awareness, break all myths and change behaviours for a GREENER, CLEANER and HEALTHIER planet. I realised that AIR and other forms of ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION is not a seasonal issue and a worldwide problem.

I started writing stories linked to air and other forms of environmental pollution in the form of real-life conversations between a child and his parents. The central character of Abdu is inspired by my son, to whom I have been reading these stories, while writing and rewriting them over the past one year.

I have also created an only storybook version of this book for children and their families across age groups to spread mass awareness about this issue.

I hope this book will introduce all the little Abdus and their families across the world to the small and big lifestyle changes for a GREENER, CLEANER and HEALTHIER planet!

The Apple Food and Nutrition Game

“Mumma, I don’t want to eat dal. I just don’t like it. But, dal is good for you. I don’t want it…” As soon as my son joined big kid school at 3.5 years he started having many such food battles with me. Obviously, he wanted to eat yummy candies and chips and many other such packaged and processed food items that other children at school were eating every other day. “Chips and candies are yummy, but not good for your tummy.” I would often come up with such phrases to convince him, but all in vain.

And to top it all, when he turned 4 there was a fuss about not wanting to eat on his own even though the boy was growing up. And when I heard other moms pulling their hair about their kids not wanting to eat vegetables or fruits or refusing to eat without being handed a tablet or turning on the TV, I became more determined to resolve the new challenge.

After doing further research, I realised being fat was often considered healthy, even if the child lacked energy to run and play sports. If a child was lean, and though energetic, the moms were often told how unhealthy their kid is. Many mothers also often had battles with their parents over whether to feed their children biscuits or sweets as even high amount of sugar was often considered healthy.

When I observed many toddlers same as my son’s age, always wanting to grab food menus from their parents in restaurants, I decided to give the food project the shape of a menu card. Seeing children’s excitement with smileys received at school in different colours, the food in the menu and other eating habits were classified in 3 categories – red smiley apple, yellow neutral apple and black sad apple. Why apple? Because an apple a day keeps the doctor away!

And voila the apple food game was born! To help many other moms avoid food battles with their toddlers, little children and other family members. To instill healthy eating habits (not only what they eat, but also how they eat) in them from a young age. To help them be active and have enough energy to play their favourite sports for the rest of their life!

Know more about the Apple Food Game and order your copy here

Mumma can you please save me?

It’s that time of the year again. Noses are running and eyes are watering. Throats are hurting and heads are spinning. Purifiers have been turned on, but our children are still coughing. We (mothers in Delhi NCR) are really worried about the health of our children.

Here are a few tips from a mother for other concerned mothers around how to keep their young children protected from this nasty, bad bad air, while we wait for the government or citizens to change things around…only because I feel their pain…

1. Make your child wear a mask during very poor and severe air quality hours – at all places. When they go to school or for trick or treating during Halloween or attend Diwali or Durga Puja melas. Never feel embarrassed. Even if he/she is the only one. Easier said then done, won’t come easy. Child will be mocked at – My son got called “Hanuman” recently by a parent.

But resistance will stop, if you are persistent. Buy one in their favourite colour or pattern. Reward them as super heros or super women if they agree to wear one.  Wear one yourself to make them copy your behaviour and if that also does not work make them understand air quality data. A 3 year child, who can decipher colours and numbers, is also capable enough to understand the difference between severely polluted (dark red) and poor (orange).

2. Only investing in a purifier is not enough. Maintenance is more important. Filters need to be cleaned regularly and replaced in a timely manner. Please keep the windows and doors of the room shut and tightly sealed before turning on the purifier.

More challenging though is to trap 3 -4 year olds in a closed purified rooms without turning on the TV...Bring in their favourite indoor games or activities in the room that can keep them engaged for hours. On severely polluted days, my son used to make small atta plates and imprint alphabets on them with dals when he was young. Now we play UNO and other indoor board games.

3. Monitor air quality data before opening windows to ventilate your house or sending children to park.

Cool air does not imply fresh air. No opening of windows during early mornings or leaving them open for hours in the night to get cool air in the house. On severely polluted days, only open them for a short while during the afternoons when the air is usually better.

My son does not go to the park when the air is very poor or severe. On poor days, he wears a mask and go. Its a sad story, but we try to make up for lack of physical exercise by playing indoor hockey or basketball with his friends.

4. Control indoor air pollution in your house besides only worrying about the air outside.

When the air outside is bad and you don’t have the leeway to open the windows for a long time, it is even more important to keep indoor air quality in check. Always turn on the exhaust while cooking and for longer time if paranthas or fried food is on the flame. Get over the myth that scented candles or air freshener sprays freshen the air. They may get everyone in the room coughing or sneezing during bad air days. Mummas you may also want to avoid putting on the scented perfumes for Diwali parties if you don’t want your child to be sneezing around you..

Always keep your child away from the room with the broom. On severe days do not shoot more dust in the air by using a broom. Wet mopping with only water (no chemical cleaners) will keep your floors shining just as bright.

Thinking of painting the house during the Diwali season? You may want to think again. Unless you enjoy getting headaches. But the hardest  – how to convince the grandparents  to avoid agarbattis and dhoops during the pooja season? I once sat with a mask during the Diwali pooja and the message was conveyed easily! Health is paramount!

5. But despite our best efforts, there can still be exposure to the bad air. So what do we do to survive and avoid the nebulisers? All through the winters, my son and me have tulsi water all the time to get symptomatic relief from the damage done. Daily dose of chywanprash and fresh orange juice have also been our life savers.

Last, but not the least, most important is to make them understand that all these are only short term protective measures. To see the blue skies and bright stars in their city again and play freely in the parks in the future, they and we need to change! Our every small habit that harms the environment. For the sake of their own health and future! They may just think twice before eating a candy everyday and trashing the wrapper in the dustbin.

 

 

 

 

More Than Just Words – The New Guessing Game

IMG_20180731_145121Little Abdu’s favourite toy was the alphabet train puzzle. He loved putting the pieces together – like a train. He also found joy in matching the alphabets to images and learning words written on the pieces.

One night, when his Mumma was too drained to have a full-blown reading session, she found a new way to bond and make him learn language. She asked Abdu to look around for things in the room and identify words linked to the different alphabets. While he did not want to stop playing the guessing game, he was happiest to know that his Mumma’s favourite thing in the room started with the letter A.

The session delayed his bedtime, but his Mumma was still happy. She had discovered a fun way to keep him engaged without toys, in or outside of home…and to help him OBSERVE, THINK and CONNECT.

Little Collector’s Passport

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Order your copy of the Little Collector’s Passport here

This year has been special in ways more than one. I travelled extensively with my little boy– from quaint hills of Uttaranchal to cities of Japan. Wherever I went I always found my toddler’s pockets full of travel tokens, from coins and train tickets to beautiful flowers and leaves. Sadly for both him and me, many of these tokens never came back home. He lost his precious belongings and I lost my travel memories.

Traveling with my little boy was fun, but I often had to find creative ways to keep him engaged during flights or trains, while waiting for meals at restaurants or during rest periods in hotels. And to top it all there were fights between father and son at the airports over possession of son’s passport, now that son had clearly started recognising his name and face on it.

Thus, Little Collector’s Passport was born. For all little travellers who love collecting things. For parents, who love traveling (within and/or outside India), to make their travel more memorable and enjoyable by keeping their little ones engaged in collecting and recording things throughout their journey in a document they treasure.

Sticker book with flags of 48 countries across the world is included to make parents learn about flags of different countries along with their children. To keep alive the dying culture of stamp collection, sticker stamps of 48 countries are also included to learn about symbols of different countries and get motivated to explore unexplored territories.

Besides country flags and stamps, multiple interactions, from sticking to pasting, colouring, drawing and writing, have been built into the passport design it to make it more engaging and relevant for kids of different age groups. Finding a colour that would appeal to both genders was an equally tough task. To avoid the dichotomy of pink versus blue, finally settled on a purple colour for the cover. While the inside leaflets are light blue to retain the look of an original passport, in many places dabs of pink have been used to serve as a reminder that pink is not only for girls.

And it may just keep your kids off screens and be willing to try out new foods for the time they are busy collecting and recording things they loved!

Pink Christmas

Pink ChristmasRed is the colour of the season, but for my little boy and me the colour pink has brought joy this Christmas!

I loved playing with dolls when I was little, but grew up hating the colour pink. Like manPink souveniry other girls, every other piece of toy or clothing I was gifted when I was little was pink. My mom continued to gift me pink even after I turned 30. “Oh, you look so pretty in pink,” she would go when I would often complain “why do you always buy me pink?” But I could never see the prettiness in pink until my little boy developed a love for the colour.

It all started when he wanted to wear the pink hairband of his closest friend. He was more excited to ride the bright pink cycle gifted accidentally on his 3rd birthday than the red one we bought. And then we read the book The Day the Crayons Quit, in which the social notion that pink is for girls was happily broken.

From that day onwards it was pink all over for him. He wanted to colour everything pink, including the squares of a chess board and flag of Japan. He wanted to buy everything pink, from souvenir dolls to water bottles and tooth pastes. And when he refused to wear a sweater early morning, he happily wore a pink one. And just like that I started seeing prettiness in pink.

Pink DayI made my son and his boy friends colour their favourite objects in pink on a playdate. In the park, we started collecting beautiful pink flowers that had fallen from the Kachnar trees with heart shaped leaves. When I asked my little one to come up with a list of things that brought joy to him over this past year, clearly the colour pink won the most hearts.So, this Christmas, to celebrate our love for pink and to keep the joyful spirit of the season, we decided to decorate our tree by making his favourite objects, from airplanes to strawberries and zeros, in pink besides other colours. And brought home a pink poinsettia to put under our tree to bring more joy to our hearts.