CHILD-DRIVEN READING

Neil Gaiman, a British fiction writer of children and adult books, in an article highlighting the future of libraries, reading, and day dreaming, emphasizes that children should be allowed to read what they enjoy as opposed to what adults consider good books for them.

“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

Here are few stories of parents who developed child-driven love for reading in their bundles of joy! If you have a similar story to share with other parents, please drop us a line at litjoys@gmail.com.

Green Diwali Session at Pathways World School

Conducted a session with Grade 2 and 3 students around how to celebrate Green Diwali based on one of the 12 stories in our book – City of Stars!

Was delighted to see children engrossed in storytelling and participate excitedly in a discussion around how to change our habits and convince our friends and family too, to celebrate a truly GREEN DIWALI this year.

At the end of the session, was also happy to share tips on story writing with the budding authors!

Save the World – Unique Behaviour Changing Games

One of the hardest things about planning a kid’s bday party is deciding on return gifts.While the kids are most excited about it, moms are often biting their nails figuring out what unique gifts to give kids to make the party and the kids faces shine!

When one such mom approached us for ideas for return gifts because she did not want to gift the usual stationery items or books, we proposed our unique behaviour changing games for kids across age groups (4 to 9 yrs).

Why not gift children a brighter future to build habits and values that protect our environment and their own health instead of fancy gifts wrapped in bright wrapping papers?

She caught on to this innovative idea of games that can bring change in the behaviour of kids and so did the kids who enjoyed carrying the games back in eco-friendly bags.

While the mom will get blessings from the Mother Earth for sending less waste to the landfills, the kids will learn basic maths in a fun way and bond with their families, besides changing their habits, while playing these ‘Save the World’ games.

These exciting fridge mounted behaviour changing games with magnets and stickers are available for INR 200 (with reusable bag) for orders of 10 or more.

Hunt the Constellations – An Innovative Activity Calendar

One of the most challenging aspects of motherhood is keeping your child productively busy while you are working from home or struggling to find your ‘me time.’ More often than not, we (moms) are looking for activity sheets for preschoolers and early schoolers to learn new concepts and keep them busy every month on their own at a reasonable price.

This led us to start thinking about designing a single tool which keeps a child occupied throughout the year through simple, yet engaging activities with multiple interactions (drawing, colouring, writing, tracing, pasting stickers) and multi-dimensional learning.

A tool which helps the child learn new concepts (numbers, days of the week, months, year etc), along with keeping a track of festivals and other important dates like birthdays and vacations through. A tool that gets a child to learn about constellations in an extremely fun way as well as touch, see and feel natural materials, which enhances a child’s observation, spatial recognition and visual cognition skills, but most importantly, brings him/her closer to nature.

Hunt the Constellations – A Unique and Innovative Learning Calendar with multiple activities is designed to be used starting from any month of the year and is available for two different age groups (3-5 yrs and 6-9 yrs).

Interactive Workshops at Kunskapsskolan School

Conducted two back to back workshops at Kunskapsskolan international school with Grade 2 students and Grade 4 students around two topics (Indoor Air Check and Energy Saving) from our storybook – City of Stars.

While the Grade 2 students enjoyed interactive storytelling, guessing sources of indoor air pollution, getting such enemies of clean air out of the tent house and placing them in three categories (dust, smoke and gases), it was a delight to see their extreme enthusiasm and excitement in even guessing how to prevent them.

The testimonial from the Team Lead at the school at the end of the day added to our joy…

“It was a pleasure to have you in the school with your team today for a workshop on indoor air pollution. Your team conducted a wonderful session for grade 2 students enriching them with the cause, effect and the ways to prevent indoor air pollution. It was a delight to see our students interacting and participating equally with your team. You took care of each minute detail as per their interest by using the props and storytelling. We look forward to more of such sessions, with you in the future.”

In Energy Saving session, was taken aback by the excitement of Grade 4 students to guess energy eating monsters at home, the amount of energy they consume as well as learn how to save energy consumed by the biggest monster – AC, by keeping a check on their everyday behaviours!

City of Stars, a unique and innovative experiential book, with 12 real-life stories and 48 activity pages, is designed to bring behavioural change in children across age groups through the year to protect their own health and environment!

Author Speak Session and Waste Segregation Workshop at Medhaam Preschool

Conducted an author speak session with children of Medhaam school on the topic of Waste Segregation from our book City of Stars. The kids and their parents enjoyed interactive storytelling, followed by waste segregation activity. Kids also enjoyed making their own newspaper bags and took back the signed copies of the book in their creations.

Energy Saving 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

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.

 

 

 

 

One Big Circle, Two Small Circles – The Hunt for Mickey Mouse

When I excitedly walked into Hongkong’s Disneyland resort with my 2.5 year old son, little did I know that toughest parenting challenge awaited me. There were screens everywhere – in the lobby, restaurants, and in front of them, were a bunch of kids watching Disney cartoons without battling an eyelid. So far, I have been able to sustain screen/gadget free policy, but with free access to content that can excite every kid and a bunch of kids as an example, I could sense the danger of my son copying their behaviours.

mickey-lampWhen my son started following suit while we were waiting to check in at the lobby, I quickly looked around to see how to distract his attention. A series of circles on a lamp caught my eye. “Look Mickey Mouse” I told him pointing at the lamp and one big circle and two small circles-shapes that were familiar. He smiled as he started making association with the character he just saw on screen and on the lamp. I encouraged him to count the number of Mickey Mouse on the lamp to completely distract his attention from the screen. It was soon time to walk towards our room and as he excitedly pressed the button of the elevator, we found another Mickey Mouse. And thus the hunt for Mickey Mouse began.

mickey-layout

As we looked for Mickey Mouse, in everyday things (from shampoo bottles to food items), interior elements (from mirrors, carpets to curtains) and architectural features (from windows,roofs to ceilings), this became a really fun game to play for the next 2 days. It not only kept my son distracted from screens, but also improved his understanding of concept of big and small, enhanced his counting and, more importantly, visual perceptual skills.

mickey-handrail

And finally, while taking a train to Disneyland park when he pointed to the Mickey Mouse on the handrail, I could not hold my delight as I was not paying attention anymore, but he seemed to be continuing to enjoy this game of visual perception.