June 12, 2021 5:25:06 pm
By Nayantara Dutta
Family is synonymous with stability. It brings meaning, support, and an environment of love regardless of the time or conditions. The pandemic has only cemented its worth.
In pre-Covid times, people were occupied with their work, their individual interests and daily activities and often complained about having no time to spend with their loved ones. Today, those who are lucky enough, have an abundance. With schools closed and work-from-home a norm, parents are struggling under the pressure of meeting both their occupational and domestic expectations. Managing deadlines and monitoring homeschooling while running households and keeping the family safe has become an unprecedented juggling act for parents across the nation.
To make the most of the opportunity, to strengthen bonds and build positive memories during these challenging times, here are some easy to manage productive activities for you and your children to do together.
Travel around the world from the safety of your home
Your child’s exposure to art and culture need not be restricted to textbooks. COVID 19 gave us the unique opportunity to experience art from the comfort of our sofas, with the help of technology. You do not have to visualise the Mona Lisa or Harrapan Valley artefacts from pictures in your books anymore. Avail multiple virtual tours of museums like the National Museum (New Delhi) and the Louvre (Paris) and immerse yourselves in different cultures.
Free virtual tours available for Indian Museum (Kolkata), Victoria Memorial (Kolkata), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Mumbai) and British Museum (London).
DIY with budding designers
It’s time to bring out all your markers, buttons, beads, glue, paint, paper, thread and whatever else you can lay your hands on. Splash colour, try out a good old tie-and-dye, use fabric paints, tattoos or even get creative with scissors to give your existing clothes a makeover! The world is your oyster.
Pro-Tip: Encourage your kids to create little tote bags out of any waste fabric available, which you can flaunt on your trip to the vegetable market once the pandemic and its effects are gone for good.
Without the aim of solely growing plants, but rather to teach kids its importance, this activity on a lazy morning is bound to make you feel close to nature and soothe your nerves. Values of caring and responsible behaviour are best taught through action and what better way than to give your kids their very own “green pet friends”, as a start?
Pick up a book
Reading has taken a front seat during the pandemic as parents are continually on the lookout for productive avenues to stimulate their children, while ensuring their screen time is kept in check. Tata Trust’s Parag Initiative has been working in the space of children’s literature for years and aims to introduce the younger generation to the joys of reading. The Parag Honour List (PHL) provides a reference list to parents, teachers, and librarians of books in English as well as Hindi, with a promise of including diverse vernacular literature in the coming years.
Some of the recommendations from PHL 2021 are: A Saree for Ammi by Mamta Nainy (Tulika Publishers), Ammachi’s Incredible Investigation by Vinayak Varma (Pratham Books) in English and Bhool Bhulaiya by Sankalan (Eklavya), Mitti by Madhu Dhruve (Muskaan) in Hindi
Bring home the outdoors with a living-room picnic
A major concern for parents is the confinement of their children to the home. How about reliving some of the adventures of childhood by bringing the outdoors in? Regardless of whether it’s a pillow fort or tents made out of bed sheets; you can create the perfect picnic within your own home. Pick a theme, decorate your fortress, or lay out your mats, throw in lots of cushions and lights, and have a memorable picnic within your own safe space.
Learn a new language
It is said that children learn faster during their formative years than at any other time in their life. Cultivating diversified interests at an early stage adds a feather to their cap in the future. Learning a new language boosts listening, critical thinking and analytical skills. This also helps improve memory and concentration. Pick a place or a culture you would like to experience, download an app and get started on your journey!
An open mic night
Mics, karaoke machines and trained voices are not required to enjoy a simple evening of musical fun. The only requirement is a willingness to participate and the desire to be silly and spend precious time together. Whether you host your own micro talent show or battle in teams for pop-star status, building an environment that allows your child to express themselves and receive encouragement will boost their confidence, help in self-expression and may even spawn traditions that will last longer than the pandemic.
(The writer works with Tata Trusts.)
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