Will it be another summer holiday you spend ticking off the days to school reopening? To get the kids out of your hair—and ensure they have the time of their lives—consider enrolling them in an activity class that interests them. Starting this week, Lounge brings a list of activity classes and camps in your city which will keep your child busy and make those 45 vacation days go by in a flash.
A look at what Bangalore has to offer.
Fun factor: (top) Simran Godhwani uses props during her dance routines; and children learn screen-printing and book-making at I-cue. Hemant Mishra / Mint
Catch the beat
Simran Godhwani at the Krshala Dance School will conduct four dance workshops, including a Dance Yoga workshop for mothers and children, a Kathak workshop, a Fun Dance workshop and a Contemporary Dance workshop.
For the Fun Dance routine, children have fun with props such as hoops and streamers while learning to shake a leg to Bollywood, Hip Hop and Jazz beats. In the Contemporary Dance workshop, children get to be choreographers. “Each child is encouraged to come up with a step. In the end, we combine the different movements and that’s how the children end up choreographing the sequence,” Godhwani says.
When: 7 April onwards
Age group: 3 years and above
Charges: Rs2,000 onwards
Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts will conduct Kalaripayattu (a martial art form), contemporary and free style dance classes. “If a child gets interested in a particular form, they can sign up for more classes later,” says Shanthi Ram, outreach coordinator at the centre. There will be different instructors for each form.
When: 25 April onwards
Age group: Junior batch (5-12 years), senior batch (13-19 years)
• Tip: Buy ballet shoes or gossamer skirts and tutus at Fitness and Fairies (080-25557875). For traditional dance outfits, try Abhinaya Dance Costumes (080-25350266) or Chowdeshwari Vastralankara (080-22217453).
Learn life skills
One way to get your child into the habit of saving money is to sign up for Evolve’s “Bank on us” programme. Children learn how to handle bank transactions, how to deposit and withdraw cash, what is simple and compound interest, how to write a cheque. “The entire exercise is conducted in a mock bank set up by the Evolve team,” says Ramya Angadi, who has been conducting the workshop for a year. Another popular programme at the Evolve centre is Handyman, which teaches children how to change a bulb or fix a leaking tap, among other things. Do we hear mothers cheering?
When: 1 April onwards
Age group: 9-13 years
Explore the environment
The Environment Support Group will organize a five-day camp to take children on an expedition around the city. They will be introduced to Bangalore’s history and resources and what’s happening to the city as a result of rapid urbanization. Rupa Sateesh—whose son Arvind, 12, and daughter Sharanya, 9, have attended previous camps—says it helped changed their mindset. “The concepts of recycling and saving energy came alive for them. Now my son is particular about not wasting paper and actually keeps things aside for recycling,” says Sateesh.
The programme includes field trips to understand concepts such as garbage disposal, rainwater harvesting and recycling, as well as an introduction to urban wildlife, including a bird-watching module.
When: 13-17 April
Age group: 11-15 years
Swim with the Sharks
To make a splash this summer, train with a former Olympian, swimmer Nisha Millet. “Nisha is great with kids,” says Shashi Raj, mother of Ishaan, 10, who’s been training with Millet for three years. “She puts kids through the grind but in a fun way.”
To get children to love swimming, Millet organizes races and games. Her favourite is the Shark and Fish game where she lines up 10 kids as sharks and 10 as fish. “The aim is for the Sharks to touch the Fish’s legs. It’s a race in the guise of a game and the kids end up working on their swimming speed.”
Call: 09880196782 or 080-41128230
When: Batch 1 starts on 30 March; Batch 2 starts on 21 April
Age group: 7 years and above
Charges: Rs2,500 for three weeks
• Tip: For swimwear, tubes, floats and other accessories for children, try Lifestyle (080-25564555) and Appleofmyi (080-41154031).
Imagine being able to create a magnetic torch or mini handpump out of household materials or being able to figure out what’s wrong with daddy’s car before the garage does! All three are possible if your child signs up for any one of the two workshops at Ranga Shankara’s Summer Express 2009.
The 3-hour, three-day Car Mechanics workshop will be conducted by Hyundai personnel. Children will get to see how a car engine functions, figure out how to unlock a stuck steering wheel and the most important lesson of all, how to fix a flat tyre.
Pune-based Arvind Gupta will conduct a Scientific Toys workshop. The children will be taught basic scientific principles with the help of simple toys such as a sprinkler or electric motor, made out of things we tend to throw away. “Words like centrifugal/centripetal force are so abstract that they make no sense to children,” says Gupta, a former IITian. “But when a child makes a straw sprinkler—actually a 2-minute centrifuge—then the whole thing comes alive. They feel the concept.”
When: Car Mechanics from 16-18 April; Scientific Toys from 4-7 May
Age group: 12-16 years for Car Mechanics; 7-16 years for Scientific Toys
Charges: Rs750 for Car Mechanics; Rs1,000 for Scientific Toys
• Tip: Buy DIY science experiment kits, robotics kits, electromagnetic toys, telescopes and aeromodelling kits at the New India Hobby Centre (080-41133708).
A photography workshop in the forests of Mudumalai is perhaps just the thing to inculcate a love for the outdoors. Organized by the Bangalore-based Getoffurass travel outfitters, the five-day workshop will house the children—a maximum of 12-15—in dorm accommodation at the Jungle Retreat in Masinagudi, involve them in theme-based field workshops and group review sessions, and educate them in the magic of photographing wildlife and the wilderness. The sessions will be led by photographer Hellmuth Conz. Pretty much all your child needs to carry is a digital camera, a 1GB memory card—and lots of nerve.
Visit: www.getoffurass.com for details
When: 26 April-2 May
Age group: 12-16 years
Pixetra Club is conducting a five-day Photography Camp for Children and aims to teach children basic concepts of photography, such as composition and lighting. The programme will touch on workflow habits such as storage and sharing of image files. The workshop will be conducted in the city.
When: 20-24 April
Age group: 11-17 years
A seven-day residential camp will be conducted by former National Geographic adventurer and herpetologist Gerry Martin and Wishbone Interactive. “Nature photography also means learning about animal behaviour,” explains Martin, who organizes outdoor camps for children each year, though this is the first time they have incorporated photography in the camp.
The programme will be conducted on a farm at Rathnapuri. “There will be a lot of bird-watching, such as nesting kingfishers, magpie robins,” Martin says, adding that two of the team members, film-maker Dillan Mandanna and photographer Phillip Ross, are “big on birds”. And your child doesn’t have to lug around a complicated (and expensive) SLR. “A point-and-shoot camera would be sufficient as we are packing in quite a bit of equipment ourselves,” says Martin. The camp is meant for 60 children, split into groups of 20 each.
Call: Kaushik on 09886169698 or Gerry Martin on 09845779666
When: 7-13 April
Age group: 9 years and above
Charges: Rs10,000 (siblings will get a discount)
• Tip: Try the Canon IXUS 80, a point-and-shoot, 8-megapixel camera with an image stabilization feature to prevent blurry photos, Rs10,400. Or opt for Olympus FE 20, a pocket-sized, point-and-shoot, 8-megapixel camera, Rs6,300.
Tell a tale
I-cue, the interactive children’s library, will organize a creativity camp which includes problem-solving games, screen-printing and book-making. The children will create a storybook by adding their own unique twists and turns. “The idea in all our workshops is to push unstructured learning. Leave the kids to themselves and they come up with the best ideas” says Meghana Rao Simha, co-founder, I-cue.
When: 13-24 April
Age group: 4-9 years
Charges: Rs2,000 for members and Rs2,500 for non-members
Minerals and molecules
Bring to life concepts such as magnetism by enrolling your child for the Bangalore Association for Science Education’s (BASE’s) annual 10-day summer workshop at the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. “We take a maximum of 25 children per batch and work in two batches,” says Madhusudan H.R., scientific officer, BASE.
Call 080-22203234 for details
Know your stars
This is the International Year of Astronomy and the Bangalore Astronomical Society (BAS) plans to conduct one-, two- and four-day astronomy workshops for children. “The camps will focus on basics like working with telescopes,” says Naveen Nanjundappa, vice-president, BAS.
Call 09980505003 for details
NEXT: The ultimate summer guide—II (for Mumbai)