The festive season is right around the corner and while things may be looking bleak right now, it is always a good idea to cheer up with some fun decorative ideas. A craft activity will ensure that kids stay away from the screens and spend some time in a productive manner, learning new things. Involving your little helpers and getting their creative juices flowing with these paper decoration ideas will make the house look joyous, in time for Diwali.
Since our options to go out and mingle with our loved ones are limited this year, we have compiled a list of decoration ideas to make the most out of staying at home. These activities are guaranteed to help your children hone their motor skills, dexterity and self-expression and enjoy themselves too!
1. Light it up with lanterns
What implies that Diwali has arrived more than lanterns? There are numerous plastic options out in the market. But if you are looking for an environmentally friendly idea, we have the perfect option for you. You will require the most basic supplies, easily available at home - coloured paper, a pair of craft scissors, a ruler, pencils and glue.
You can encourage your child to go crazy with colours, use sketch pens or paints to draw designs on the lanterns, use stickers or washi tapes to enhance them even more. With very minimal items, this craft idea is easy to follow along!
2. Decorate with diyas
We light diyas to signify purity, goodluck and to do away with the darkness and welcome more light in our lives. Since it is extremely unsafe for children to be around fire, making cute diyas out of paper is one way to include them in all the activities that entail the festive season of Diwali.
As with the previous activity, you simply require coloured paper, corrugated cardboard if available, some sequins for decoration, glue and a pair of scissors. You can explain to your children the significance of lighting diyas or the story of how Diwali came about to be celebrated while they make these simple paper diyas that look beautiful upon completion. This will give them a chance to understand the rich history and culture of our festivals.
3. Handmade Diwali cards
A handmade card adds a touch of personalization and is a nice way to greet your family members on the occasion of Diwali. Designing cards yourself as opposed to simply buying readily available commercial ones will deliver the right sentiment. Making one with your hand will show the receiver just how special they are and kids can get creative with the number of options available to decorate the card. Kids can make drawings or add handmade paper flowers on the card to give a 3D effect and they can customise their cards according to different shapes and sizes (maybe one shaped like a diya or their favourite mithai).
With fancy paper or coloured paper and sketch pens, they can learn to communicate and write messages to family members and friends. Kids can also have fun with glitter on the cards and use the scraps from previous activities to further get innovative!
4. Hang garlands up on the wall You can do your house up with wall hangings. They can be hung up vertically or horizontally across the wall and will immediately amp up the space. A range of colourful papers can be cut in various shapes and strung together. Children can practice their shapes as well as create something beautiful. With A4 sheets of paper, a stapler, a hole punch, a pair of scissors and ribbon, you can accompany your children in making paper stars that will instantly give a festive look to the room!
5. Pollution free firecrackers
Firecrackers are enchanting to watch but we cannot deny the noise and smoke pollution that they cause. Besides harming the environment, they scare away animals. This Diwali, make your own paper firecrackers at home! This fun activity is an alternative and will last you in your house unlike conventional firecrackers which only last for a moment and also cause pollution.
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Using this artform, children can learn to make firecrackers which can be placed as centerpieces on the table or even be hung up on the wall.
These paper decoration ideas are sure to engage your children and keep them busy creating lovely decoration which can easily be reused as well! Craft activities have the potential to teach children about the various forms of art, appreciate the culture and express their creativity. It is also a great bonding exercise and serves as an enriching experience to connect with children!
Amidst the myriads of responsibilities that get added to our kitty as soon as we become parents, teaching kids about private parts and sex is probably the most difficult one. While it may be uncomfortable for some, most of the time young parents are not aware of what to and how much to share with their children. This often makes one contemplate the need to share anything at all. What should a parent know?
Your children if not from you but through peers and media consumption will eventually know about private parts much earlier than you can imagine.
Children have an innate sense of gender identity by observing how their respective gender is behaving and may ask you multiple questions. Like, why do boys stand and pee, where do babies come from or why is my private part different from my sister’s? It is only fair to address them all.
If you do not set the boundaries at home with respect to understanding the conversations about their private parts then the kids may put themselves in wrong situations.
It is common for children to follow both spoken and unspoken rules set in your home. If you do not talk about sensitive topics, they may deem them to be shameful and may find it difficult to communicate to you if there is any problem.
Since brushing the topic under the rug or shying away from it is clearly not an option for us, here is a simple guide to know how one can go ahead and teach their kids about private parts.
Talk There is absolutely no substitute for a good conversation with a parent. Now you do not have to treat it like a task. Instead you can use the opportunities you get on a regular basis to teach them.
Take real names Many parents resort to calling the private parts with different names. If you are not teaching them to call their other parts of the body with different names then why not call the private parts with their anatomical names? Studies have shown that children who know the names of their genitals are less likely to be victims of sexual abuse.*
Using the right terminology also helps children to not feel embarrassed about their genitals and enables them to communicate to their pediatrician if they have a concern.
Provide Age Appropriate Information Yes, we want to provide them with correct information but that does not mean that you need to bombard them with all the information at once. Conversations based on their age is a good way to start.
For kids aged 6 and below, you can discuss topics like private parts and why they should be covered with underwear and not shown to others.
On the other hand, tweens can be told about sex.
Engage in role plays Playdates and play groups are the places where children interact with each other the most. One often hears of cases when two kids have shown or touched each other’s private parts simply out of curiosity.
To avoid such situations, it is advised to engage in role plays at home. You can enact their everyday scenes at school and play and make them understand that private parts should be covered at all times.
Tell them about Good Touch and Bad Touch It is no secret that whenever our kids are away from us, we are constantly worried about their well being. While we cannot take away your worries, we can ensure that teaching your little ones about good touch and bad touch will definitely equip them to avoid embarrassing situations and identify if someone touches them inappropriately.
This can be done by giving them examples of good touch (hugging, holding hands, giving high 5, kissing on the cheeks) and bad touch (hitting, touching private parts, etc). To emphasise this further, use the swimsuit rule. Tell them that when they wear a swimsuit, the areas that are covered are the ones that are private parts and should not be touched by others. This will help them analyse the touch themselves
You can even take help of youtube videos and books to explain them:
Do you know a method to teach young kids about private parts? Let us know in the comments below.
When you shop for clothes for your child, you would want to buy a material as comfortable as possible for them. Children tend to have sensitive skin and it can be difficult to assess what might be causing them discomfort.
Cotton is a natural fibre, from a plant which has been spun into soft yarn and is best suited for your little one’s needs. At Plan B, we use 100% breathable cotton for all our clothes (even the leggings are 95% cotton!). In this blog, we have put together a list of reasons as to why cotton is such a child-friendly fabric!
Cotton is relatively low maintenance as it is a natural fibre. As opposed to synthetic or man-made fibres which can be tedious to look after, cotton is durable. The chances of cotton shrinking during a wash are less as compared to synthetic fabrics. It is recommended that cotton clothes are air-dried and can be simply hung up. They generally have a high-tensile strength as well. Stains on cotton can easily be gotten rid of with just warm water and some mild detergent. Cotton is therefore durable, easy to use, machine washable and easier to maintain for you.
Did you know that Cotton is less likely to cause any allergic reactions? These hypoallergenic properties of cotton render it usable even for medicinal purposes such as for gauze and bandages. This makes it ideal for clothing for children as it is the perfect choice for sensitive skin. It is possible that children may not always be able to communicate with us thus making it hard to know what is troubling them. The easier solution is to use cotton since it is best suited for those prone to allergic reactions or skin irritation. Babies tend to have soft and sensitive skin and the best way to protect it is by using cotton. Synthetic materials are treated with chemicals and this can cause your child to break out into rashes, making cotton even more beneficial to use.
100% Cotton is best for innerwear
Clothes made out of 100% cotton indicate that the garments are not blended with any other material. ‘Pure cotton’ can simply mean that the amount of fibre used in the garment is pure and not that the garment is made entirely out of cotton. Innerwear made from 100% cotton is ideal as it will not aggravate the skin and will last longer.
Provides insulation and controls moisture
Cotton is known to be a breathable fabric. What this essentially means is that it has the ability to transfer moisture away from the skin. Children cannot be expected to sit still and are always running around, spilling on themselves. However, cotton absorbs moisture and removes liquid away from the skin. Cotton’s high absorbency also means that it can be used as a towel since it absorbs 1/5th of its weight before it starts to feel damp.
Since cotton is a light fabric, it serves to protect against the heat in the summer. It also provides thermal insulation as the cotton fibres trap air between them and protect children in the cold as well.
One of the unique properties of cotton is the fact that it retains odor much less than other synthetic materials. As a result, cotton can even be used more and washed less frequently.
Cotton is 100% natural and biodegradable
With the sustainability movement highlighting the importance of taking care of the environment- cotton is a great choice! An added bonus is that cotton is a biodegradable fabric and will decompose naturally.
Cotton crops are heat and drought-resistant, which means that they don’t need to be irrigated as regularly as some other crops and can survive solely on rainfall. Fun fact: regular lawn grass requires more water to grow than cotton!
Moreover, there are uses for the whole cotton plant and not just the cotton boll. Cottonseed can be used as cow feed or pressed into oil. The seeds, leaves, stems and the hulls can be used for mulch and can be made into biodegradable packaging. The many qualities that make it so easy to use also make it absolutely apt for your children.
If you are here then either you’re looking to start potty training your child or you’ve tried with little success Whichever maybe the case, we do understand that potty training your child is a difficult task but it certainly doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one.
While there are several options and methods out there, we are here to give you some tips and tricks that every young mom should know about potty training:
#01 Is your child ready for potty training?
The first thing to do before you begin potty training your child is to understand if s/he is ready for it. Pushing your child to do something they are not ready for will only prolong the process and create hurdles. Some of the tell tale signs to know if your little one is all set to get potty trained are:
You are changing fewer wet diapers than before i.e. your toddler can stay for at least 2 hours dry.
Their potty timings have sort of become predictive
They can either tell you or show with particular expressions that they are pooping
S/he tries to copy others in the family when they intend to use the loo
Note that even though many parents start training their child when they are 18 months old, there is no right age to start potty training. Even if your child is a late entry to the party, It doesn’t matter as long as he/she is comfortable.
#02 Explain the whole process to your child
Once you have realised that your child might be ready for potty training, start introducing them to the whole process. To help them become familiarised with the whole concept, you can kick off by:
telling them the difference between peeing & pooping
informing them when you are going to the washroom
role playing the whole process with their toys
showing them YouTube videos on potty training
#03 Shop for potty training supplies
You will have to buy potty training seats and kids underwear that will assist your child to use the washroom properly. You will readily find Potty training seats on Amazon but if it is difficult to procure it then you can make arrangements at home.Potty training is far easier on Indian toilets but if your house has western toilets then you can hold them while they are trying to go. You can also place a small stool to help them rest their legs.
#04 Don’t let go off the diapers just yet Even though you’re training your child to use the washroom on their own, don’t throw away the diapers just yet. It is only when you are confident that your child can use the washroom on their own is when you can stop stocking up on diapers. #05 Choose soft underwear with attractive prints
While you are trying to make diapers a thing of the past in your household, do take a moment to introduce them to underwear that are soft on their skin and easy to wear. Wearing underwears will subconsciously make them be more alert and compel them to use the washroom to do their business. To help them want to wear underwear more often, you can choose ones with prints of their favorite characters or bright attractive colors.
#06 Opt for clothes that can be easily taken off
Clothes that can be taken off easily assists kids to ace their potty training game. Children should be able to undress themselves easily to help avoid any mishaps which may discourage them to pursue the training. Dresses & boxer shorts seem to be an apt choice of clothing.
#07 Set a routine
Make sure you establish a routine with your child when you are potty training them. If you have noticed a particular time around which your child poops then you can train them everyday during that time to frame a habit.
If you haven’t observed them go during a set time of the day then you can make them try 30 minutes after their meals to take advantage of the body’s natural tendency of having a bowel movement post any meal.
#08 Be Supportive
Know that the whole process is completely new for your little one and it is only right to be gentle with them. Don’t scold them if there are any mishaps. Instead, celebrate small victories with them. This will encourage them to take the training seriously and learn quickly.
#09 Seek help
There is absolutely no harm in seeking help.
We know that during COVID it is difficult to get house help to help you through the whole process. And since many of us don’t live with our mothers or mother in laws who can help us with their expert advice, you can do the following:
Video call your mom or mother in law when you get stuck
Join Facebook groups for mommies in your city to have a healthy discussion with other experienced mothers or the ones sailing on the same boat as you. You can also follow fellow mommies on different social media platforms.
Remember to be patient with your child. We know that the success stories of other moms can be overwhelming but it's important to allow your child to take his or her own sweet time to learn this. Have a trick we didn’t cover in this blog? Tell us in the comments below!
Since the lockdown started, a conventional birthday party with your kid’s friends and families has become a distant reality. But regardless of the current circumstances we want our little ones to have a blast with all things happy. To do so, here are some easy hacks to make a quarantine birthday party fun and enjoyable for everyone!
1. Costume party The first idea we have for you is a costume party because why should you wait till halloween to dress your child up as their favourite superhero or mystical character? Given the current situation, renting out costumes or even finding costumes online on time might be difficult. To host a successful costume party, you need to put on your thinking cap and use the available resources at hand to create fun DIY costumes. The easiest way to do so is to get creative with the articles of clothing and accessories available at home like dupattas, scarfs , hats and sunglasses.
You can double up simple elements into a cool costume. For instance, a hat and a scarf can be used to make a cowboy costume, a dupatta can be used as a cape and a simple scale twined with ribbons can be used as a magic wand. Like this, you can even use unused craft materials to decorate the costumes and add your own quirks to them.
Once you have designed the costume, you can add to the birthday cheer with our cute It’s My Birthday underwear to ensure that your little ones can enjoy their special day with maximum comfort.
2. Bake a cake at home (no fancy recipes!)
You can also bake a homemade cake for the birthday party. While the cake shops are slowly opening up and there are many bakers who are delivering cakes at home, we would highly recommend trying your hand at baking a cake for your child. You can even include him/her as your assistant and enjoy the process together. If you are worried about the cake not turning out well then we have some help for you. There are myriads of easy recipes and videos that are available on the internet by many home chefs and here are our favorites.
The chef has nicely laid out the recipe and answered all the possible questions that beginners might have. There is even a breakdown of the nutritional facts and values for the reference of the parents.
You can’t go wrong with a soft and spongy vanilla cake for the special day. We absolutely love the simplicity of this recipe and that all the ingredients are easily accessible in any home kitchen.
3. Get Arty & Crafty
If your child is the one who is constantly making new and innovative little creations with tiny scraps of paper then this is the perfect theme for you. All you need to do is to get tons of colorful paper and boxes of paints, glitter, tape and some streamers.
If it is safe to call the kids in your complex then you can call your child’s friends over for a while. Get the kids to gather around in a circle and ensure that they are following social distancing. You can then keep all the stationery in the centre of the circle. Play some tunes for them and watch them create magic with all the materials. This will make for a hands on crafty experience for all the children. Here are some things they can make:
a) Paper Fish
Origami will always be fascinating so children, this is an easy technique that is simple to make for children from younger age groups to pre teens. The result is a cute little fish which can even be decorated after it is completely made.
b) Pen Stand with Paper and Icecream Sticks
We found this great DIY art which makes use of ice cream sticks and paper to make pen stands. The kids can use the pen stand as a great accessory for a study table to store pencils and crayons.
c) Paper Umbrella
The paper umbrella is an easy and craft that can be made from one single piece of paper. It can be placed in their most loved beverages or can be presented in a showcase for decoration.
4. Picnic themed party
For a picnic themed birthday party, the most important aspect is the location that you choose as a venue for the party. If you have a porch, big balcony or garden in front of your house or building, then that is perfect to opt for. You don’t need to travel far off from home.
You should make sure that your kids are in comfortable clothing like casual dresses, boxers and vests so they can have fun without any hindrance. You can carry picnic baskets with sandwiches, crackers, juice and a home baked birthday cake.
5. Sports games themed
A sport based party will be a fun idea if you have a playground at your disposal. You can choose your child’s favorite games, like cricket, football or badminton and dress them in their sporty clothes. Again, if it is safe to call his/her friends over then you can make sure that you have two different teams and make them play in a tournament style so all the kids can participate equally.
Alternatively, you can have an indoor games party. Some of the games that you can try for this are: Pictionary, hula hoops, indoor bowling and treasure hunt. The kids will be engaged throughout and it’ll be a fun and easy activity to host.
Birthday parties are always a memorable experience to treasure and memorialise with tons of photos and videos. If you experiment with these types of birthday parties, tag us on your social media handles, we would love to see you and your child enjoying their special day. We hope that this has given you a wide variety of choices to choose from and ensure that your tiny tot has a lovely day!
Children love outdoors; be it digging in the dirt, playing around the trees or being curious about nature. Spending time outside is an engaging and fruitful activity not just for kids but also their parents who can do with some screen-free time. One of the best ways to encourage a love for nature among kids is by helping them grow and maintain their very own veggie garden.
How does it help?
develops a caring nature
teaches them to be patient & responsible
introduces them to scientific concepts
helps them learn about the importance of the environment & sustainability
helps to keep them away from screens!
Let’s get started!
Make a list You can begin with making a list of all the possible vegetables that you can grow in your garden. Carrots, Beets, Garlic, Tomatoes, Peas & Eggplant would be a good start. This would largely depend on the area you have , the weather condition in your city and the availability of the seeds. Make sure to include the little ones in the whole planning process. You may prepare a list of questions to discuss with your child.
For example: a) What will be the layout of the garden? b) How will we set up the veggie garden in the space we have? (Note: You don’t need a large space to grow your own veggies) c) Is there enough sunlight in our garden space for the vegetables? d) where will you get the seeds from? e) Will you need any organic manure? f) Who is responsible for watering the plants daily?
Purchase the necessary items Once you have finalised your plan about the area, plants & seeds and organic manure, go online to shop for the required items in your list.
Some of the popular websites that will deliver in time are:
You may add some pots, soil, seeds for plants which you cannot find at home along with the following gardening tools: a) Hand Trowel: It helps in potting, planting and transplanting b) Scissors: It helps to shape the plants and trim dead leaves. c) Water container: A container which can be used to water the plants *Make sure to choose child sized tools.
In case you can't shop for things online, look for these at home:
DIY Pot: Reusable tin box as a make-do pot. All you need is a few holes at the bottom for air. You can even paint them in your favorite colors.
DIY Compost: Collect dried leaves, twigs, kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, shredded newspapers, even old potting soil, and get composting.
Seeds which are easy to find in your Kitchen: Tomato, Lady finger, Chillies, Coriander, Bottle Gourd, Lemon, etc.
Once you have the seeds, plants, tools & pots in place, you can start with your gardening work. Here are some tips to grow Tomatoes & Garlic which are commonly grown in India.
Tomatoes are quite easy to grow. All you need is rich garden soil to aid their growth. You can add kitchen waste and egg shells to fertilise the soil. You can follow the following steps:
Step 01: Scoop out tomato seeds from a tomato at home
Step 02: Take a few paper cups and fill half of the cups with the nutrient rich soil.
Step 03: Place the seeds carefully and cover them with dry soil
Step 04: Ask your kids to sprinkle water on the cups daily till the seeds start sprouting
Step 05: Once the plants are over an inch tall then replant them in your garden area, balcony or home-made pot.
Similarly, you can grow lemon by picking lemon seeds Garlic Garlic has gained much popularity with its immune boosting properties and is a widely used ingredient in Indian cuisines. To grow garlic, you will need 1 or 2 garlic bulbs, water and an area in your garden that has sufficient sunlight. Once you have everything in place then follow these steps:
Step 01: Break the garlic cloves apart
Step 02: Plant them with their tail facing upwards in your pots or garden area.
Step 03: Water them everyday
Step 04: Patience is key with garlic as homegrown garlic can take upto 5-6 months to sprout.
Once everything is done, all you have to do is enjoy the fruits (in this case vegetables) of your hard work which not only helps you eat fresh organic vegetables but also saves some money on groceries ;)
Let us know in the comments below your favorite vegetable to grow in your home garden with your children.
Raksha Bandhan is right around the corner and this year, the struggle to celebrate a long distance Raksha Bandhan is real. It seems like bonding between brothers and sisters this year will take place either over calls or video chats. But that doesn’t mean you can't make the best of it 😉
Afterall, it is essential for your kids to spend time with their siblings, cousins and relatives on a day so auspicious, even if it is virtual. So if you’re not with your sibling this Raksha Bandhan, here are 5 ways to celebrate the day!
1. Put together a video montage
There’s nothing like reliving old memories, especially if you have your little ones involved in the process. Putting together a video montage of old pictures of your kids with their siblings or cousins, can be a fun reminiscent experience for you and the kids.
The best way to begin is by going through your gallery of old photos, picking the cream of the crop and neatly knitting it together on any free software that’s available to you on your smart devices or computers.
This is a great exercise to involve your kids in. They can personalize all their favorite pictures with their siblings from across occasions over the years and give it that personal fun touch. There are several free applications to make videos which provide easy solutions and quick fixes for times such as these.
2. A Rakhi + Letter in the mail, makes for a heartfelt surprise:
So you’ve made the video montage for the big long distance celebration on Rakhi day, but you want to do some more. We believe that a heartfelt, handwritten letter is the key to building a sibling bond among your kids.
Apart from being heartwarming and adorable, this idea lets kids exercise their creativity and strengthen their bond with their siblings over the exchange of personal notes. Ensure that you let them take control over each aspect of writing the letter. Trust us, a personal touch goes beyond words to express deep feelings.
We encourage the little ones' to attach a rakhi along with the letter to give it the celebratory touch that Raksha Bandhan so truly deserves.
To make a rakhi at home, all you need is: ribbon or yarn tread, origami or normal colour paper, beads, sequins, scissors and glue. Once set, follow the below video to get going.
3. Surprise gifts are a win
Now you’ve sent the letter and perhaps received one, but the experience of it all doesn’t quite seem complete, does it?
With the plethora of online gifting services available today, you can send the perfect gifts to your kids’ cousins from anywhere in the world! Your options are endless too! The tricky part is finding the right gift to send, but since we’re talking about young children, it shouldn’t be a very complicated affair.
Some of the best raksha bandhan gifts are the simplest. The easiest gifts to get children are the ones they’ll use daily. Clothes as gifts are the obvious and most versatile go-to. Enhance the experience by adding in some candy that kids prefer and you’ve got a sweet little package.
Sending raksha bandhan appropriate sweets to enhance the feeling of memorialization.Other age appropriate options great as gifts are Art and Craft Kits, Books, Legos and anything that is fun and engaging for kids. When it’s sent by a loved one, the value is nearly priceless, so don’t be afraid to experiment with new concepts.
4. A Video play-date for the Rugrats, with a twist
You can also go beyond the aforementioned gifts and invest in something that the kids will get enjoyment from, or can do together as a team online!
The definition of a play-date knows no bounds, and on an occasion such as this, why not go beyond the old cliche of one on one video calls and make the play-date more involved and interactive.
Again, the options you may have are seemingly limitless. There are plenty of online workshops for kids, in arts and crafts, music and entertainment. Popular kids filmscan be viewed on streaming services while inviting cousins and siblings to celebrate over watch parties. Online charades and cute little singing competitions among kids can make the day even more fun.
5. Celebrate with the whole Family on Video Call
It must’ve occurred to you by now that we were building this up to a massive closing tip. Get the whole family together on a video calling app of your choice, and celebrate raksha bandhan the way it’s meant to be.
All you need to do is plan it out with family and get them on board with the idea.
Fix a date and send everyone the zoom call or skype link. Don’t be afraid to jazz it up by using that creative video montage as an invite to the event. Remember, this is meant to be a massive celebration, so cutting corners isn’t advised.
That rakhi that was sent in the mail? That can be worn by the brothers on the day of the occasion! The online gift that you sent to little sis? She’ll be opening that package of goodness live, which makes the moment more happening.
It’s these little things that can alleviate that feeling of distance when it comes to maintaining and reinforcing the bond between brothers and sisters on a day so revered.
Today it feels like every fleeting moment must be captured as best as we can, and what better way to do that than to arrange for a fun engagement among relatives on a day where familial bonding is considered to be the highlight. These Raksha bandhan tips are sure to get everyone’s spirits up and the entire family to participate, kids included!
Getting kids off their screens today is more tasking than anything else a parent has to do. Kids today are so hooked onto smart devices and electronic forms of entertainment that it almost feels like they’ve not experienced what it feels like to be outdoors.
While a trek or an outing may not be possible for a while, the closest thing that comes to mind when wanting to experience the outdoors is gardening.
Gardening for kids can be incredibly relaxing, therapeutic and stimulating to the mind from a very young age. It can also be an effective tool to teach kids the very basic biology of plants and how they are an integral part of our ecosystem.
Gardening is an effective way to get kids off their smart devices, breathe in the fresh air and get active. While we as parents may not be an expert gardener ourselves, we’ve made you a list to get started & avoid the initial overwhelming visit to the nursery.
#01 Grow plants that bear fruit or vegetables Though challenging, growing plants that bear fruit or vegetables in your garden can be thoroughly fulfilling and engaging for kids. Find a fruit, vegetable or even herb suited to your child’s tastes and purchase the seeds from your local nursery or online. The process of growing one’s own food and later enjoying the ‘fruits’ of their labor will leave a lasting impression on your kids’ minds.
This project can also promote a healthy environmental message, give your kids a sense of how challenging it is to grow produce and will educate them on the balance of the ecosystem and even inculcate a good message to reduce wastage.
It’s a hobby that can be nurtured over time and prove to be a therapeutic experience .
Though not 100% sustainable, it is more cost effective than purchasing pots specifically for growing a garden. Smaller containers also take up less space, thus giving your kids control over how many plants they’d like to grow in their garden. This makes it a more accessible and low maintenance form of a hobby.
#03 Terrariums are fun too!
It may just so happen that you don’t have the space for a full fledged garden. Maybe there’s no room for pots at your window or you’re not sure if gardening as a hobby would click with your child. An easy solution to this is constructing a terrarium.
A Terrarium can be simplified as decorative gardening in a bottle. They require a glass bottle or container, with or without a lid and are filled with soil and plants that require minimal maintenance. They work efficiently as most terrariums require you to water them only at the time of assembly and later rely on the vapors in the glass container to keep the environment healthy.
It is a super easy, novel and engaging activity which is also highly educational. Since the combinations of environments that a child would want to create can all be contained in one tiny glass bottle, let your kids find the plants that they fancy and give terrariums a go. It’ll be the talk of the town when their friends come over.
#04 DIY Garden Artifacts
So your kids have decided on what kind of garden they’d like. You’ve got the pots set up at your window or in your backyard, and now all you have to do is wait for the plants to grow. Seems a bit boring, doesn’t it?
Kids will often feel the pinch of having to wait for days or even weeks before they see a tiny sapling poke its head out of the soil. This time can be used to make sure that the plants receive a warm welcome when they grow.
You can even have them paint colorful patterns on the pots that the plants will grow in. Perhaps your kids have tiny animal toys that they would like to place around the garden to make it feel like a livelier place.
If you’re up for it, why not make an insect home that welcomes the insects that are vital for pollination and plant care? The possibilities are limitless and each and every activity is bound to put a smile on your little one’s face.
Gardening may not seem easy to get into, however it is actually a very accessible and thoroughly enjoyable, fulfilling hobby if your kid is keen on developing a green thumb. We promise you that once your little ones experience the bliss of watching their own efforts bloom, they’ll never find the activity boring.
In the times of digital parenting, it is hard to keep kids away from their screens for hours together. And to be honest, the pandemic has made it all the more difficult for parents to do so. With most of the schools opting for e-learning this year and parents encouraging kids to pursue activities on phones and laptops to keep them busy, it is impossible to expect the little ones not to be glued to their gadgets.
While keeping the kids away from their screens for long duration might not be ideal, we sure can slide in some screen-free activities for kids at home to give their eyes the much needed break. Here are some of the activities that we love: Yoga & Meditation
Encouraging the little ones to engage in a little bit of mindfulness will certainly help them in the years to come. One such way is to introduce them to the ancient art of practicing yoga and meditation. You can start by slowly making them aware of the various postures of yoga. If need be you can take help of a yoga instructor.
While practicing yoga will certainly help enhance their concentration, memory and keep them calm in stressful times like these, it is also a great way to spend some quality time with your munchkins. Inculcate a habit of writing
With tabs and laptops rapidly replacing notebooks and pencils, kids today seldom know the joy of writing letters and notes. Bring the sweet pleasure of yesteryear's in their lives by daily giving them some topics to write on. The writings can be on their favorite people, games, food items or they can even write letters to their friends and relatives.
Irrespective of what they scribble on that paper, this habit will help develop their reading and spelling skills and for you parents, it will serve as sweet memories that you can cherish anytime when they grow up.
Make Science fun at home
Science does not have to be scary anymore. You can make it fun at home by performing kids friendly science experiments at home.
Some of the experiments that we love are: a) Tornado in a bottle All you need is two transparent bottles. Fill one bottle with water and some food color and glitter. Tape the second bottle at the opening of the first and turn the bottles upside down. Now whirl the bottle at the top with colored water. This will create a vortex as the water drains in the bottom bottle giving the impression of a tornado. b) Dancing Iron Filings Get some iron filings, a transparent jar and a strong magnet. Place the iron filings in the jar and then move the magnet around the jar from outside. This will make the iron filings inside the jar move along with the magnet’s movement outside. c) Baking Soda volcano What if we tell you that you can create a mini volcano right at your home? Don’t believe us?
Let us tell you how:
Step 01: Take a paper cup and tape its bottom to the middle of a paper plate
Step 02: Take a chart paper and tape it all over the cup and plate in a way that it creates the shape of a mountain.
Step 03: Cut a hole in the middle of the cup and paint or color your mountain with your little one.
Step 04: Fill the cup with 2 tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of baking soda. Stir the baking soda till it dissolves.
Step 05: Now pour some vinegar in the cup with the baking soda solution.
As baking soda solution and vinegar react with each other, they create carbon dioxide which in turn creates pressure inside the cup and erupts like a lava. You can add food colors in the solution for a dramatic effect. Insert a plastic bottle inside this model with baking soda in it. And you're done!
A Mini Fashion Show The pandemic has stopped all non-essential outings. This means that the kiddos cannot show off their new clothes to their friends at play dates or birthday parties. You can conduct your own fashion show at home for them.
All you need to do is bring out their favorite clothes out and set up a ramp walk for them to set the stage on fire.
Read bedtime stories
Another great way to cut screen time is to read bedtime stories. Apart from developing their language skills and enhancing their attention span, this little activity also inclines them to actively take up reading when they grow up. If you are looking for some good books to read to your child at night then do read our blog.
Have a screen-free activity that your child adores? Let us know in the comment section below.
As a parent, reading aloud to your kids might already be a regular activity.. When kids are younger, they are more likely to grow into the habit of reading if they begin to associate the activity with the memory of you reading to them. Reading is also known to develop attention span and language skills from the early stages of your child’s life which can help them perform better at certain life skills and even academically. Apart from that, your kid’s imagination gets strengthened as they attempt to relate to scenarios and characters in certain stories.
A love of reading is a gift every parent should give their child. This week, we are compiling a list of books that you can read aloud to your little one and spend some quality time with them.
Matilda, Roald Dahl It is a charming and humorous story about a very, very good girl. The story revolves around ‘Matilda’, a perfect five-year old with an imperfect life. Amidst her self-centered family and bully of a principal, Matilda is an astonishingly intelligent and strong character who is loved by everyone. The problems in her life surface when she stands up in defence of her teacher against the principal, only to discover that she has another gift.In this masterfully crafted story by Roald Dahl, children will be exposed to various themes of coming of age, which makes it a fantastic classic for kids between aged 5 - 10.
A great visual aid for this book would be its feature film adaptation available on Netflix, which is sure to entertain your little one.
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat is a fun, humorous and carefree romp about a troublemaking Cat, who just so happens to wear an obnoxiously tall Hat. This story is best read aloud to younger children since it is a relatively short story. Sally and her brother Conrad are stuck at home alone on a rainy day, when ‘The Cat in The Hat’ appears and offers them the chance to do something fun. However, this plan turns into hilarious havoc, as the cat begins to destroy everything in its wake, only to encourage fun for the kids. The story, though seemingly about an unruly cat, inculcates the virtues of responsibility.
The Percy Jackson Series, Rick Riordan Although for a relatively older audience (Ages 6 onwards), The Percy Jackson series will be a great initiator for your kids into the wonderful world of mythical creatures, Greek folklore, long winded adventures and inventive humor. The series consists of 5 books, of which the first is titled The Lightning Thief. Percy Jackson, a demigod, is wrongly accused of stealing the prized lightning bolt that belonged to Zeus, the King of gods. He must then go on a perilous adventure to find the true culprit behind the theft. There is no doubt that these books will fuel a sense of adventure and spark intrigue in delving into the depths of such a wonderfully fleshed out world with interesting characters and mystical storylines.
Malgudi Days, R.K. Narayan As one of India’s contemporary authors for children, R.K. Narayan’s Short Story Collection titled Malgudi Days, tells the story of a young boy named Swami, his endeavors and experiences and the various facets of life in the fictional village of Malgudi. It portrays human beings in the most honest, grounded and realistic manner which is sure to invoke emotion, and also make it more relatable and appreciable for younger kids.
It masterfully shows the innocence of humanity and with its mature themes, can invoke a sense of inquisitiveness among younger children. Truly a must read to your kids and what we call, a timeless story that kids of every age must read.
How I Taught My Grandmother To Read and other Short Stories, Sudha Murthy. A great book for every young child to experience, this book is heavily popularized in Indian households as it brings with it the simplicity and innocence that lies within each and every kid. The book contains various heartwarming and seemingly ordinary stories with extraordinary meanings and themes. It talks about life, age and literacy and some stories approach themes such as sadness and anger from a childlike, yet mature point of view. It is a masterclass in writing for young children and a must read for everyone.
The Lorax, Dr. Seuss While The Cat in The Hat is a classic about an unruly Cat, the Lorax is another one of Dr. Seuss’ classics about a lazy yet kind creature who “speaks for the trees”. The central message of the story involves the concerning danger of human destruction of the natural environment leading to climate change, and how we can and must inculcate values of respecting the climate, in the minds of our children. Though heavy handed in its subject matter, it only feels so on the surface. Deep within the pages of this book lies an easy to understand and joyous story about a character who must do everything he can to save the planet.
This book will appeal to children of today as there is a strong understanding and responsibility to the environment among young audiences today.
Coraline, Neil Gaiman Coraline is the best introduction your little one could have into the genre of dark fantasy, introducing your child to a character such as Coraline, one who is unafraid of confrontation and highly adventurous for her young age. The story involves a young Coraline, being transported into an alternate universe where she is taken in by ‘copies’ of her parents and then realizes that her world has been completely turned around, with constantly putting her in perilous situations. This one is again, recommended for an older audience (6 - 12 year olds).
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White Most people have definitely heard of Charlotte’s Web being a must read for young children, and that comes with a fair amount of merit. This beloved E.B. White book, also the author of Stuart Little, writes about a pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. Wilbur is born as the weakest member of his litter which leads to him being taken care of by a spider named Charlotte, who tells us of her feelings through writings in her spiderwebs. This is a story worth listening to for little kids as it tells a tender and grounded story of friendship, love, life and death while dealing with the various mature themes in a wholesome, positive and easy to understand manner for kids between the age of 6 and 10.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl Another Roald Dahl classic, Charlie and the Chocolate factory is the perfect read for your little ones who love chocolates probably as much as anyone else. It involves a young penniless boy Charlie, who lives with his entire family in a cramped up shack, only to one day receive a Golden Ticket in a bar of chocolate, that turns his life around. The story has themes and morals of honesty, truth, hard work and appreciation for life as we know it with a heavy inclusion of chocolate themed incidents that are not only tempting but also teaches kids to take life in their stride and appreciate the little things.
Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne As a well loved, contemporary character, the rights of which currently belong to Disney, it is no surprise that a charming soft spoken character like Winnie-the-Pooh would make it on our list. The sheer number of short stories available to read through for your kids is endless. You can certainly approach any Winnie-the-Pooh book as your child’s first book and the characters will leave the same impression that the author wishes to hold across multiple stories without any continuity. In this masterclass of writing for children, the characters show their colorful personalities which allow for a fun filled reading and listening experience for younger kids. Listening to Winnie-the-Pooh and his ragtag band of friends involve themselves in constant hijinks will surely leave your kids entertained and exercise their imagination to new bounds. If your child is anywhere between the ages of 5 and 12, this series is a must read.
Kids can have varied tastes and you can’t know what they enjoy the most until you’ve introduced them to it all. We hope the list above helps you kickstart your joint reading sessions and makes for some truly awesome bedtime stories.