Remember The Famous Five’s adventures on Kirrin Island? It would seem that almost a century since the 1920s (when Enid Blyton began writing), the post-Harry Potter generation also fantasizes about a summer vacation of “going away somewhere... away from parents” with the assurance of adventure.
The great outdoors: Disha’s parents Anjan and Sagarika Sinha are keen to send her on a ‘safe’ camping trip. Indranil Bhoumik / Mint
Thirteen-year-old Disha Sinha, for instance, wants “lots of games and different activities to suit every interest”—because the camp of her dreams features children from all over India. The outgoing class IX student of Future Foundation School, Kolkata, adds a caveat peculiar to our tropical climes, though: “It should be a cool place.”
However, a camping holiday minus the grown-ups, such as Disha describes, is still not easy to come by. The stumbling blocks to a summer camp experience, as Disha’s parents Anjan and Sagarika Sinha point out, are finances and a secure environment (such as a school trip ensures).
Sagarika remembers spending her own vacations playing badminton and indoor games. “My folks were very conservative about going off with friends—but I don’t want Disha to miss out. It is important to know the outside world, too, I feel,” she says. Sagarika notes that some of Disha’s classmates talk about their summer activities, and she would like the same opportunities for her daughter.
She is proud of Disha’s extracurricular interests—she won a radio jockeying contest sponsored by Red FM last year—and would like her to join a dance or music camp, perhaps antakshari contests as well. “Disha reads a lot,” she adds, “so a book club would be up her alley too.”
Disha is not too keen. “See, I’m a mediocre student—I like to read, but I’m not a bookworm.” As for music, she labels herself more of a bathroom singer. She is keen to go on a school-organized educational camp to Puducherry. Her parents have no objection. “I like to spend holidays away with my school friends,” Disha says, “because it helps us bond much better as we see more about each other than we do in school.” She has already been to Santiniketan and Krishnanagar with her class on tours organized by her school.
“When we were children, the concept of structured summer activities did not exist. A vacation meant travel as a joint family and getting away from school,” says Anjan, a consultant with the National Productivity Council. He hopes his daughter will get a chance to enjoy “something educational—not bookish, but somewhere that, along with fun, she can learn something too.” So he approves of the Puducherry trip.
Interestingly, Disha is quick to remark that her father and mother are far more accommodating than most of her friends’ parents, whom she declares more conservative. “I don’t think they’d stop me from doing something or going somewhere on my own just because I’m a girl. I think they worry, especially mother, about security.”
SUMMER ACTIVITY CLUBS AND CAMPS IN KOLKATA
Urja Funtivity 2010 (day camp)
This year’s summer camp theme is “Save the Tigers”. Activities include martial arts, art and crafts, toy making (for older children), dance, drama, cookery, creative writing (for older children) and storytelling (for younger children). All the material required will be provided (Urja also holds regular music, dance, karate, language skills and art and crafts courses).
When: 17-29 May, with a performance on 30 May (registration closes on 14 May)
Age group: 2-14
Charges: Rs1,200 plus Rs50 registration fee
Where: Urja, Block B, 51 Shibnath Shastri Sarani
Every year, the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum (BITM) holds hobby camps where children can undertake fun experiments and put together their own projects. This year, children can even learn to assemble a computer.
Call: 22892815, 22877241
When: 21 May-5 June (registration closes on 15 May, forms will be available online at www.bitmcal.org)
Age group: 10 upwards
Where: Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, 19A, Gurusaday Road
The Nehru Children’s Museum has a range of courses for children of all ages. They can choose from figure drawing, creative art, Kathak and Odissi classes, contemporary dance and music and audio drama, among others.
When: Three-four days per course, 19 May-13 June
Age group: 5-18, exact age group will vary with the course
Where: Nehru Children’s Museum, 94/1, Chowringhee Road
Young Learners workshops
The British Council’s Young Learners initiative has several workshops lined up for budding authors in May—on dialogue writing, creating characters and fantasy fiction. There are also classes where children can make collages and artwork from bric-a-brac.
Call: 40074300, 40074330
When: 1- to 5-day workshops, registrations on
Age group: 6-17
Charges: Rs300-2,000, depending on subject, age and duration
Where: Venues vary
Alipore Tiny Tots is in the process of finalizing its summer activity line-up. The one confirmed workshop is a salsa class for older children (17-plus) and parents to enjoy together. For younger children (4-11 years), the programme may include activities such as cooking, outdoor games, elocution, the basics of music and drama, art and crafts.
When: 17-23 May; other children’s activities from first week of June
Age group: 4 upwards
Charges: Rs2,000 for salsa workshop
Where: Alipore Tiny Tots, 1B, Judges Court Road
Art and craft camps
Kriya Cafe has educational and recreational workshops on a variety of topics, from food to photography, for children and young adults. Their schedule for some events in May and for June will be finalized closer to the dates, but registrations are already open for food workshops through early May. Later on, they promise such unusual fare as story-based craft activities, yoga-based games, spelling and vocabulary enhancement, Vedic math, making your own storybook, graphic novel or short film.
Call: 9830379166, 9903329166.
When: Various dates and timings; most workshops will be of three-seven days duration
Age group: 3 upwards
Charges: Rs800-2,100, depending on the workshops
Where: Venues vary