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Stay in, max out on fun

You don't necessarily need a Rs-6,000 dirt bike to have fun. A Rs 100 game of ludo will do. You don't need to enlist in a hiking camp to have fun. Building a greenhouse in your backyard will do.
Hindustan Times | By Chokpa Bhutia & Astha Saxena, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 06, 2010 10:59 PM IST

You don't necessarily need a Rs-6,000 dirt bike to have fun. A Rs 100 game of ludo will do. You don't need to enlist in a hiking camp to have fun. Building a greenhouse in your backyard will do. That's the thing about summer fun: like the best packages in life, it’s a cheap deal. So, don't fret about being a homebody if you can't go to camp this year. This year, a homebody is a somebody.

Build Brand You

Create your own range of hand-crafted, designer products. Products that carry your signature. Begin with pencil boxes, pen holders, flower vases and branch out to family collages, scrapbooks, periscopes and magazine stands.

The raw materials can be just about anything lying at home. So, dig out empty bottles, matchboxes, cartons, old utensils and old furniture; buy some glazed paper, sawdust, glitter powder, colors, a fevicol stick.

If you need ideas, there are programs like MAD on Pogo, a children's channel, and websites such as; You can later gift these items to your friends and elders.

“These activities at home will make your vacation productive and give you a sense of achievement,” says Shalini Wadhwa, Principal, Adharsheela School, Mayur Vihar.

Go natural

How often do you get to connect with nature, buried as you are in school-routine?

Use the summer holidays to get close to your green side. Go for a morning walk in neighborhood parks and gardens with your parents and explore trees and plants. Try and find out their names. Make a herbarium: your own collection of dried leaves and flowers.

You can even create a small kitchen garden in your backyard and relish fresh vegetables. Go to a nearby nursery for seeds and plants.

"Children can plant turmeric, drumsticks, lemon and coriander at home. All these can be easily potted and kept in the balcony, which makes the house look beautiful. Moreover these plants are very nutritious,” says Bella Gupta, secretary, All India Kitchen Garden Association.

Computer's company

Remember how you are always being warned about the addictive and insidious nature of the Internet? Scratch that. If used correctly, the data box can be your friend and mentor. The Web can teach you science, maths and even help you pick up a language. Websites such as take you through safe experiments such as making salt crystals. There are many online quizzes, brainteasers, and puzzles available.

And TV: the idiot box?

It has its uses too. Watch lions decapitate antelopes in the Serengeti. Watch human being attacked by fire ants in the jungles of Central America. Or watch a documentary about how we evolved from bits of jelly to the complex creatures we are. That is, if you stay out of MTV and plug into Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, History Channel.

Bored? Go to the board

Yes, some things never go out of style.
Take three words:

Chances are your parents spent many a lazy afternoon playing these games.

So join the club and give computer games a rest. Chess, pictionary, the crossword, monopoly, chinese checkers, ludo and card games help improve concentration, logic and decision-making. Jigsaw puzzles and flash cards etc are very good for smaller children. And now you don't have to buy every game, just become a member of a toy library in your neighbourhood for a nominal fee.

You can Contact: Kids Gurukul , a toy library at 011-26855646. Says Vinita Gupta, a maths teacher runs the Kids Gurukul, “Board games, especially chess increases one's concentration, especially in subjects such as maths.”

Read and roleplay

Aah, summer and the pleasure of immersing yourself in a story. Scientists say reading is the best way, after actual experience, to stimulate the mind.

But forget about what good it does you, reading is fun. And you only need to pick up a good book to realise this.

“I introduced my three-year-old daughter to books by reading stories to her. Four years on, she can't sleep without reading a book,” says Neetu Gupta, a teacher. Depending on your taste you can pick a Harry Potter, Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl. Most good libraries in the city, such as British Council Library and Delhi Public Library, have separate, well-stocked section of children's books.

You can add some fun to your reading by playing the roles of characters in books. Your drawing room can serve as the stage. You can either assume the roles of characters in the book or use your imagination and create alternative characters, expanding the setting and story. This helps children get interested in books and stories.

Turn into a party animal

It’s not always a bad thing. Parents, you can arrange a party for your kids at home, let your kid invite some friends, decide a menu, decorate the house and cook for them. Your kids will not just have fun, but also strengthen their social skills.

Planning a party: Children make invitation cards. Then they decide an easy menu, which involves no cooking. They can make cheese and vegetable sandwiches, fruit salad, and jellies for dessert

Treasure hunt

Sometimes the best treasures are buried in your yard. A treasure hunt at home can as exciting an affair as chasing missing diamonds across four continents. Choose a treasure: it can be chocolates or some small gift items. Hide it in a place and leave some clues around the house, which will help kids find the treasure.

Have fun in the small pool

What is summer without water play?

Crack open a tray or two of ice cubes and put them in a water tub, ask you kid to pick the ice cubes with their toes. If that doesn’t sound cool enough, parents can play a game by covering the eyes of children with a cloth, putting some toys, plastic alphabets in the water and asking them to identify the objects.

“My kids always love to play in water. While they are in a water tub, we try to make them recite poems and alphabets. It's a great learning experience," said Sanjeev Srivastava, father of a six-year-old son.

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