Besides gorging on ice cream and making regular trips to the neighbourhood pool to cool off, here are a few ways to make the long days of summer vacation interesting for your child. In this concluding part of the series on summer activities for children, we look at what Delhi has to offer.
Play time: (top) At the Katkatha workshops, children will make puppets and also put up a puppet show; and playing chess regularly helps children concentrate better at math. Harikrishna Katragadda/Mint
Be a creative cook
Get your child some basic training as a chef by enrolling him or her at Choka La’s chocolate, cookie and cupcake classes. The sessions start with an audio-visual presentation on the history of chocolates, following which each child is allotted an individual workstation complete with ingredients, chef’s cap and apron. The children learn everything about making chocolates—melting, adding flavours, decorating and packaging; they also experiment with cupcakes and cookies, including preparing the dough from scratch. At the end of the session, the children get to take home whatever they have made, along with recipes, the chef’s hat and apron.
“Making chocolates in shapes of alphabets was great fun,” says Aryaman Trehan, 10, who attended the workshop last year. “Even though I had the recipes, I could not make the chocolates at home later because ingredients are tough to find,” he adds. To deal with this problem, Choko La will put together a takeaway kit with ingredients and cookie cutters (approximately Rs500).
Age group: 4-18 years
When: Workshops start in the first week of May
Charges: Rs1,800 for a two-day workshop (3 hours daily), Rs2,100 for the three-day workshop
• TIP: Buy cookie cutters, Rs200 for six pieces at Sham di Hatti, Khan Market, New Delhi.
Have fun with fins
Did you know that pairing a stonefish with a goldfish in a tank is a bad idea because the stonefish will gobble up the poor goldfish? This summer, let your children take the lead at the National Science Centre’s aquarium-building workshop and learn more about fishes. Dinesh Malik, the coordinator of the workshop, says children are usually interested in keeping fishes as pets, but don’t know how to take care of them. In this five-day workshop children will be taught, among other things, how to make and maintain an aquarium, choose the right fish, decorate the tank and select the food. At the end of the workshop, the children get to take home their own custom-decorated aquariums (2ft x 1ft x 15 inches) with four fishes.
The National Science Centre, near Pragati Maidan, is also organizing several summer workshops for children in different age groups on toy-making, mathematical origami, astronomy and electronics at home.
Age group: 11-13 years
When: 18 May onwards (four aquarium-building workshops of five days each)
Charges: Rs500 (only for the aquarium-building workshop)
• TIP: The Live Pets World, 23/3, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Marg, Gole Market (011-41561255), sells a fish tank, fitted with a filter, plants, gravel, stones and three pairs of goldfish for Rs1,500.
Master the moves
If grandmaster Viswanathan Anand is your child’s favourite sportsperson, then this five-day chess workshop is just the thing for him. He or she learns the basics of tackling the chequered board with help from international- and national-level players. Nirvan Bharany, 12, started playing chess after he tried out the game at this camp three years ago. Now, he’s an internationally ranked player. “It (the game) actually makes you think and since it’s an individual sport, you get the recognition too,” says Bharany.
The lessons range from understanding the French Defence to the Stonewall Attack—moves which “help to increase concentration, sharpen focus, and since there’s a lot of calculation and imagination involved, help the child in math and music,” says K.C. Joshi, one of the instructors.
Call: K.C. Joshi at 09811062309
Age group: 5-11 years
When: 15-19 May (at The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar); and 15-19 June (Epicentre, Gurgaon)
• TIP: Get yourself a state-of-the-art chess set and the Everyman Chess Starting Out Series books at 64 Squares Chess Academy, Block 5, House No. 2, Kalkaji Extension, New Delhi (011-26213414).
Learn to farm
The Energy and Resources Institute’s (Teri’s) Deragreen Ecotourism camp at Mukteshwar (near Nainital, Uttarakhand) is a perfect way to get your child acquainted with farming and sensitive to the environment. The highlight of the four-day camp is a trip to the nearby village, where the children will get a chance to get their hands dirty by helping local farmers on their farms. They will stay in solar-powered tents, meet and work with scientists, and go on a trek too. Eighteen-year-old Swati Nayar, who has visited the camp twice, says, “The ecotour is a must for all biology students, since there is a lot to learn at the bio-farms.” There must be a minimum of 20 children in each group.
Call: Amit Kumar Thakur at 011-41504900 (Extn 2009)
Age group: 10-18 years
When: Camps are on till 10 July
Make a puppet
If you want your child to try his hand at something creative, the Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust offers the perfect solution—three workshops that involve creating and working with shadow puppets, rod puppets, glove puppets, life-size puppet characters and lots of masks. The five-day workshops also tell children about the history and styles of puppetry from across the globe and conclude with a puppet show for friends and family. “The workshop is not meant to be a chore, but a process where you end up creating a brilliant piece of artwork…and have lots of fun while doing it,” says Katkatha founder and puppeteer Anurupa Roy.
Call: Anurupa Roy at 09810015092
Age group: 10-14 years (The Shadow Lab); and 4-14 years (Fun with Glove Puppets and The Mask Carnival)
When: 12-30 May
Charges: Rs1,500 per workshop
• TIP: Waste at home—cardboard boxes, used wrapping paper, pieces of fabric and wool—can serve as raw material for these workshops.
Study with ease
If you are looking for ways to help your child do better at school, visit the local Kumon centre near you. “The Kumon method of teaching involves inculcating regular study habits, an easier comprehension of the basics of math and improving concentration, speed and accuracy,” explains Shaista, programme coordinator. The Kumon methodology does not follow the set school curriculum, rather it concentrates on working with each child individually and enhancing his/her capabilities. “Since my nine-year-old son Pranay started attending Kumon, his ability to calculate mentally has grown. Plus, I find that he has become disciplined about finishing assignments in given time frames too,” says Sheetal Kapoor, whose son attends the Greater Kailash-II Kumon centre.
Age group: 4-18 years
When: New sessions start on the 1st and 15th of every month
Charges: Rs1,434 per month (plus a registration fee of Rs662)
Be a cricket pro
Want a Sachin Tendulkar or Ishant Sharma in your family? Summer vacation is the best time to get your child some extensive training in the sport. “We coach throughout the year, but during vacations children tend to concentrate more,” says Gursharan Singh, managing director, Khushal Cricket Coaching Trust. The trust has been conducting cricket coaching sessions for a decade. Singh says that during regular school days, children often miss out on training because they are tired or have homework to complete. “We start classes as early as 7.30am and spend time on improving physical fitness too,” he adds. At the summer camp, apart from specialized training in bowling techniques, and sessions in fielding practice, a yoga instructor will work with the children to improve their fitness and a dietician will instruct them in healthy eating habits.
Contact: Gursharan Singh at email@example.com
Age group: 6-18 years
When: Workshops start 15 May
Charges: Approximately Rs2,500 for the two-month summer camp at Gyan Bharati School, Saket, New Delhi, and approximately Rs1,800 for the two-month summer camp at Venkateshwar International School, Dwarka
• TIP: To pick up an SG (Sanspareil Greenlands), SS (Sareen Sports Industries) or BMD (BD Mahajan and Sons) bat, visit any one of the five Lodhi Sports outlets (011-26502688).
Get on stage
Express yourself! That’s the motto that the National School of Drama (NSD) always adopts, and never more so than in its summer camp for children. The month-long camp is run in five centres across the Capital, with each week devoted to developing a child’s personality not just through theatre, but other art forms as well. “The best part is that it doesn’t just focus on acting, but helps explore who you are,” says Sonakshi Sharma, 16, who joined NSD’s Sunday camps.
Call 011-23389054/ 23389042 for details
Be an artist
The Epicentre, Gurgaon, and the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, are offering many choices to keep children occupied. They can learn from the renowned cartoonist Ajit Narayan how to draw cartoons, to illustrate a book or paint in different styles, or they can tackle brain-teasers and conduct science experiments.
Call 0124-2715000 or 011-43663080 between 10am and 7pm for details and listing
Be a football pro
Want to become the next Baichung Bhutia? The Wizom Sports Football Academy is the place to start from. The academy holds regular classes for the 5-17 age group across the Capital, with children being trained by international-level Indian and Nigerian coaches.
Call Sahil Mahajan at 09868719046 for details
Learn to go green
The Teaching Centre at the British Council will run project-based courses on the theme of environment, designed to enhance a child’s creativity in addition to improving his/her overall English language ability and team skills. Some of the projects the children can choose from are writing and performing a play, putting up a simulated TV chat show or producing a magazine or newspaper. The courses will start from 18 May and will be held on weekdays for 2 hours daily. Each will cost Rs9,900.
Call 011-42199000 for details