The Hindu Young World Summer Safari saw more than 260 students take part in this five-day camp held in The Grove School.

Summer holidays are fun to begin with, but as days go by, one usually feels there’s nothing to do. And that’s why The Hindu Young World came up with the concept of Summer Safari — a camp for children aged between six and 13 to spend a week learning and having fun. With a gamut of activities lined up for 260 children from various schools across Chennai. From robotics to demystifying vocabulary to learning the tricks behind a good photo and cooking, they tasted it all.

Day 1 and 2: Robotics

When a foot-long robot starts doing push-ups and headstands on the table, no one can help but look in amazement and applaud the roof off the place.

So what makes a robot different from a machine we use at home? “A robot can think, sense and act,” comes the reply from the children. This was the first day of the Young World Summer Safari at a fun-filled workshop on robotics. M.K. Swaminathan, CEO of AROBOT, conducted the two-day session.

“What we are trying to do is get the children interested in engineering,” he says. “Robotics is not a one dimensional subject, and has many aspects. It is not a hobby either. We want children to learn by doing it and not simply reading about it.”

A kit comprising Light Emitting Diode (LED), Light Dependent Resistor (LDR), a buzzer, a battery and a circuit board was provided to a team of three children. A basic and brief introduction to robotics later, children were engaged in assembling their kits on the circuit board. A sharp buzz went off at each table as children shrieked in excitement at having got it right.

Apart from a basic hands-on experience on robotics, a brief theoretical class was also held. Videos on nanotechnology, different robots and their functions kept the fascinated children on the edge of their seats.

Day 3: Vocabulary

Vocabulary can become your best friend. And that’s what Scolympics, an organisation that creates and conducts competition and events for children in co-curricular activities intended to do.

Children learnt a little grammar and nuances of vocabulary and spelling. They had rounds focusing on word origins, phrases, foreign origin words, sporting words, food related words — all packed with a sense of fun and with a focus on some tougher words that are easily misunderstood or misspelt. And the kids had a blast working their way through some of these mazes and mines.

Day 4: Photography

The Hindu’s Chief News Photographer, S.R. Raghunathan claimed that this was the first time in 12 years he has been clean bowled. “The volley of questions thrown by the youngsters had me stumped. Each one of them has so much knowledge about photography that teaching them was a pleasure and a memorable experience,” he added. The children were taught the basics of photography, framing and composing a photo, difference and play with light and shadow. They were also shown many slides of good photographs. The highlight of the session was that the children were given ample of time to take photographs.

Day 5: Cooking

Ever tried your hand at mixing drinks? Chef Damu taught the benefits of mixing colours and flavours besides making a sandwich with some readily available ingredients at home. He also demonstrated how to make vegetable rice and noodles. Kids got to taste as well as learn, so that they could cook it on their own. The icing on the cake was the iced cupcake they all got as a takeaway gift.

The five-day event culminated with the giving away of certificates and fully loaded goody bags with gifts from Funskool, ITC Classmate and GM Pens, vouchers from The French Loaf, PitStop, Just Books, VGP, and free tickets from INOX, five Naturo Bars each and Roshan bags to carry off the goodies.

Sponsor Details

Title Sponsor: Arun Ice Cream

Powered By: Little Nathella

Associate Sponsors: Hindustan International School, Indian Overseas Bank and Naidu Hall - The Family Store

Gift Sponsors: Classmate, Funskool, INOX, Just books, Naturo, Pitstop, Reynolds, Roshan- The bag mall, The French Loaf and VGP Universal Kingdom

Event Manager: iads and events

What they said:

R.H. Mridula, VII, PSBB, K.K. Nagar: I love to take snaps and have always been interested in learning new words. In fact, I was very excited when I read about the camp in Young World. For me, the most fun was the fourth day when we learnt about photography and clicked photos. Since I am not keen on learning about robots, it remained my least favourite session.

Sachin, III, St. Michael’s Academy: I liked the robotics session the best. The excitement I felt about the camp when I read it in Young World was there till the last day. This is the first time I have attended a summer camp and I am surely attending it next year too.

Lakshmishri, III, St. John’s: The camp was all about learning and enjoying and that’s exactly why I loved the past five days. I have been going for many camps, yet I can’t wait for the return of Summer Safari next year.

Aditya, Aishwarya, VIII, SSM: We read about the camp in Young World and decided to attend it together. Our parents were happy because they knew we would learn many things. While my sister liked robotics, I really enjoyed the cooking session. We made some sandwiches and juices that we are eagerly waiting to share with our parents.

Omer Mukhtar, V, Islamic International School: This is the first time ever that I have attended a summer camp. My school gave us the chance to take part in it. Roboitcs was my favourite. I did not like vocabulary as the words that were taught were complicated for kids our age

Avinash Balabaskar, IV, DAV Gopalapuram: It was mother who told me about the camp. Cooking was the best session, but I found the one on vocabulary difficult. I have not gone for other camps. Now that this is over, I am waiting to go on a holiday with my family

Sai Sanjana Edara, VIII, Chettinad Vidyashram: I think the camp was nice. Robotics was not helpful because the robots were not working and they asked us to come to Adambakkam. The cooking session was my favourite. Now that the camp is over, I will have to start studying as school begins in June

Veda Janani, VII, Kedar Narayanan VIII PSBB K.K. Nagar: We were elated when we saw the advertisement in Metro Plus. It was on my brother’s insistence that my parents decided that we both go for the camp. This is our first camp. Photography was my favourite, but my brother liked robotics. We are not very happy about the camp ending because now we would have to start doing our holiday homework.