If you don’t want your child to spend her vacation playing video games and watching reruns of High School Musical on TV, you should look at summer workshops. They combine fun with learning and your child will return to school smarter, having made new friends. After Bangalore, it’s time to look at what clubs and camps in Mumbai have to offer.
Also Read The Ultimate Summer Guide - I, Bangalore
Save the world
If saving the environment is a cause dear to you, and you want your children to start early, enrol them with The Little Gardner. The children will have to be ready to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, plant seeds, water them and watch them grow. They’ll learn about trees, the soil, birds and animals, besides understanding the process of rainwater harvesting and the use of solar energy for cooking. “It’s a hands-on programme and we want children to grow up loving the environment,” says Kumkum Somani, who organizes the workshop.
Sun and sand: (top) RBYC ensures the safety of children while sailing; and in one module of The Little Gardner, children learn to make jewellery from flowers. Abhijit Bhatlekar / Mint
Call: Smita Kharbanda at 09821127658
When: 23 April
Age group: 4-10 years
Charges: Rs1,000 for two sessions; all the material will be provided by the organizers.
• TIP: To create a nursery or herb garden in your own balcony, visit Ratanshi Velji Shah nursery (022-23723296) near Byculla zoo. It offers flower, vegetable and kitchen garden seeds (broccoli for Rs550 per 10g and sunflower seeds for Rs10 a pack).
The Bombay Natural History Society has organized a residential camp—Wild Brats—for the summer vacations. The three-day camp is ideal for children passionate about wildlife. The children learn all about wildlife and conservation through fun-filled games and activities. An interactive programme on reptiles will help children learn about the different groups of reptiles and what distinguishes them from other animals and each other. The programme includes guidance on how to administer first aid in case of a snake-bite, a meeting with a herpetologist and a quiz on reptiles.
Call: Kavita Kumar or Sachin Chorge, education officer, on 022-28402946/ 09323738622/09223513425
When: 27-29 April
Age group: 9-14 years
Charges: Rs2,000, inclusive of food and stay.
If your children love the smell of the sea and wind in their hair, they can learn to sail at the Optimist Sailing Programme. “Sailing is fun, and while learning to sail, a child builds qualities like self-reliance and self-confidence, besides making friends,” says Cyrus N. Heerjee, honorary sailing secretary, Royal Bombay Yacht Club (RBYC). The club’s infrastructure ensures that the kids are safe— they have two rescue boats on standby that keep a constant vigil. A prerequisite to joining this programme is that your child must be able to swim 50m continuously and should be able to stay afloat for at least 5 minutes. Parents can watch their children learn the ropes. Once the children are competent, they will be able to race and sail in the regular races conducted by RBYC.
Call: Cyrus Heerjee at 09920235492
When: The basic course will be conducted for 10 days, either in the mornings or post-lunch on weekends, till the first week of June.
Age group: 8-15 years
Charges: Rs7,000 for a basic course conducted over 10 sessions.
Out of the classroom, straight to scenic Lonavala—your child can go trekking, take nature walks, and do some bird-watching at this three-day camp. Children will also learn the basics of rock climbing.
Call: Prateek Deo at 09869158351
When: 24-26 April
Age group: 8-14 years
•TIP: Buy your own camping equipment, such as tents and sleeping bags, at Wagle Sports, near Crawford Market (022-22016188).
Be a creator
Kreating Keepsakes is organizing two summer workshops where children can learn how to make scrapbook and collages; they will be taught how to create layouts, journaling (or captioning), mounting and layering photos and embellishing (with paper, foam, fabric decorations).
When: 2-hour session daily on weekdays, till the first week of June.
Age group: Group 1, 4-7 years and Group 2, 8-16 years
Charges: Rs1,400 (Group 1) and Rs2,000 (Group 2).
Learn a language
Shanti Jahnsen has come up with a fun class where children can multitask: She combines a painting class with teaching Spanish or German. “Of course, it’s not like a real language course,” says Jahnsen. For example, children will be taught to draw a dog, and then taught to write short sentences in either language about the dog. In addition, she conducts art classes, where children are encouraged to use material they would normally not associate with art, such as candles and strings. The highlight of this class: making animation videos.
When: As per the convenience of the children, all through the year.
Age group: 7-12 years
Charges: Rs2,500 per month (for a total of 8 hours).
Launched by 12 Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, graduates and professors, Robo.in has been researching on robotics for the last two years. It has now created an instruction language—CiMPLE—that children can use to build robots from scratch. CiMPLE enables children to make robots behave autonomously—such as a line-following robot, a colour-sensitive robot or an obstacle-avoiding machine. Girish Agrawal of Robo.in explains, “Kids can learn problem-solving approaches and how to apply science and math concepts practically through this workshop.” All participants will get a certificate from the Indian Innovators Association as well as a do-it-yourself (DIY) kit to take home at the end of the module.
Call: Girish Agrawal at 09320587515
When: 20 April
Age group: 12-18 years
Charges: Rs8,850, plus taxes
•TIP: Buy your own DIY manual robotic kit from Vega Kids, Lamington Road (ranging from Rs1,000 to Rs8,000). Two magazines that’ll help you stay updated with the world of robots—‘Robotics For You’ and ‘Electronics For You’ — are available at bookstores too.
MAAC Junior Toon Club (MJTC) will be starting its Cool Summer 2009 workshop and it’s a great way for children to explore their creative side, have fun and make their own cartoon films. “It busted the myth that animation is all about computers,” says Deepali Hadkar, whose son attended the workshop last year. The children first make paintings or sketches or create animal characters out of paper plates, straws or metal wires and clay. They then write a series of events involving these characters or build a story and then animate those objects using different animation techniques. “My son made new friends and he had so much fun that he didn’t want to leave. At the end of the course, we got a CD with movies made by all the children,” says Hadkar.
When: 4-20 May
Age group: 7-14 years
Charges: Rs2,000, plus taxes; all material is provided.
Make it scientific
Mad science summer camps by Indigo Kids Edutainment include a range of programmes. For older children there is Junior Architect, which helps them inspect the element of structures and build the Soma cube puzzle, a block puzzle used to make three-dimensional figures. The Shutterbugs programme teaches them the basics of photography. Crazy Chemistry helps them figure out the science in their day-to-day lives, and The Scene of the Crime is a fun module on playing detective. “My son can’t wait to join again. There’s so much outside-the-classroom learning and the small gifts (related to what they’ve been taught) that they give him after every session. It got him really excited,” says Swati Agarwal, whose five-year-old son, Shreevardhan, attended the programme last year.
When: 27 April onwards (one module lasts 10 days)
Age group: 3-6 years and 6-12 years
Charges: Rs3,175 for the younger kids and Rs2,809 for the older kids, inclusive of materials.
Taking centre stage
From the city’s theatre masters, Prithvi Theatre, your children can learn the principles of acting, the basic skills of dance and movement, body-speech coordination and much more.
Visit www.prithvitheatre.org for details
Raell Padamsee has designed a Back to Your Roots programme for children this summer. Besides elocution, dance, games involving theatre, mime and improvisation, children will perform small plays based on stories from the ‘Panchatantra’ and tales of Akbar-Birbal. A great way to introduce them to Indian heritage.
Call 022-22842845 for details
Machine parts, steel sheets, gearboxes, nuts and bolts—learn how to make shapes and build sculptures from scrap material in the workshop of renowned sculptor Arzan Khambatta, and transform scrap into art.
Call Khushnuma Khambatta on 09821232742 for details
NEXT: The ultimate summer guide-III (for New Delhi) on 25 April.
Parizaad Khan contributed to this story.