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… More
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.
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/
“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
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.
Little 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.
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!
Red 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 many 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.
I 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.
“Cheque Mate” – two words I grew up hearing more often than not in my Indian household while keenly observing my father and brother play the game of strategy together. The honour and pride I would see on their faces while saying these words, would always make me feel this game was special. But probably like many other Indian girls growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was only a silent spectator of the game for years together. It was assumed, as it was for many other games or sports in India, that women do not like playing chess!
30 years later when I finally got a chance to say cheque mate while playing the game on a floor with pawns almost as high as my knees, I could not help but grin with delight. I always knew there was more to the game of strategy when I saw the design being replicated on streets and floors in different nooks of the world. Despite the controversy around its place of origin (India or China), I had no qualms about representing the game on the cover of my next Lit Tale – My Indian Games.
Most children can be taught to play chess when they are about 5 or 6 years old, but my 3 year old and I had a lot of fun pasting the white squares in alternate positions while creating the game. While running his little fingers up and down, over and over again, on the “alternate” white squares, he discovered that numbers do not necessarily follow the sequence of “1,2,3…”.
The design of the game can be used to explain many different number related concepts to kids in a fun way. My greatest joy though will come the day I am able to inspire young boys and girls to create and play this game of honour, strategy, and pride with their parents to preserve the culture of indoor games and enjoy some great bonding time together!
This long weekend, marking India’s 70th independence, we decided to take a nature break by traveling to the quaint town of Ramgarh, nested in the hills of Uttaranchal, to admire the beauty of very own country. “When will go back to India? This is India, every vacation you take is not abroad.” I overheard a couple talking to their 5 year old son as soon as we reached our destination. I smiled, perhaps the child was as mesmerised by the beauty, purity, and quietness of our surroundings, where the great Indian poet, Rabindra Nath Tagore, often found inspiration for his poems.
As for my own son, I tried to show him a variety of birds & butterflies, flowers & fruits growing on trees during the nature walk we took while waiting for check-in. But it was a creepy crawly creature that caught my toddler’s fancy. “Mumma look,” he said pointing to the lamp post next to the bed when we walked into our cottage room. While he was fascinated by the creature with 8 long legs spread around in a circle, I almost screamed as I had never seen spider that big (the size of my hand) in my life.
From the next day onwards it was spiders everywhere, for my son and me. In the bathrooms, in the car doors, behind the food casseroles in the dining room. So one fine night, when he was fussing over dinner and I did not have access to our usual eating aids (books, everyday objects) as well as could not remember the famous nursery rhyme Incy Wincy Spider, I was left with no choice but to coin a tale of spiders.
Come I will tell you a tale of 3 spiders. Once there was a big spider, bigger spider, and biggest spider. Big spider was hiding in the knobs of food casseroles, bigger were hiding in the paper airplanes hanging from the roof of the dining hall, and biggest in the circle in the middle of the fan that you see revolving on this wall. And the story went on and on for next 20 mins, with the spiders played together, danced together, joining their big long hands.
At the end it not only turned out to be a story which my toddler wanted to hear over and and over again, but also the easiest way to explain him the concept of relative sizes – big, bigger, biggest. While playing the traditional “Akkad Bakkad” game of counting fingers during the train ride back home, I was pleasantly surprised when he asked “Mumma, which is biggest?”