Summer camps in the city up the ante by offering children a chance to cook, experiment, learn crafts and get to know more about the world

Navya Raheja and Deepika Valecha

After many sessions of coffee and gupshup, the two friends decided to start a summer camp. It was the right time for Navya Raheja who had just shifted to Coimbatore from Chennai, after her marriage. For Deepika, an MBA graduate, the idea of a summer camp for children sounded “fresh and challenging” after the usual nine to five routine. Navya, an interior designer quit her job to conduct summer camps in Chennai, in which children spent vacations entertainingly without television and video games. “I make my camps informative and fun-filled at the same time,” she says. She incorporated yoga and meditation in her camps. “We also try to teach children zumba dance and fabric painting. There are not many avenues for such specific skills in the city.” The Lil Champ Summer Camp will include non-gas cooking, sessions on money management and story-telling sessions.

Venue: Sindhi Vidyalaya School

Date: May 5 to 12

Time: 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Age: four to 12

Sangeetha Jain

This summer, Sangeetha Jain’s kitchen will get messy. Carrots will fly, cabbages will roll and the mixie will scream. But that’s okay, says Sangeetha. “Nothing matters as long as I can get the chillar party into the kitchen!” she says. The gym instructor from Mumbai, who has trained celebrities , is on a mission to initiate youngsters into healthy cooking. “I want them to quit junk food and opt for nutritious snacks.” Salads, burgers, moong dal chilla, carrot rice, pasta and sandwiches are her specialities. “I use hung curd, instead of mayonnaise. I stuff the burgers with a lot of sprouts and veggies. And, I teach the children to shallow fry the patty,” says Sangeetha. The classes are fun. The children are enthusiastic and always bombard her with questions. And one must constantly update their knowledge, says Sangeetha. “Recently, one child asked me to teach him the recipe of caramelised shot. I had to check in Google to know what it was. Today’s children are smarter than we think they are.”

Venue: 102, Jain Ratna Apartments,R.S. Puram

Date: April 16 to 19 and May 5 to 8

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Age group: between 10 and 14

Tejal Sangani

This summer, Tejal Sangani will take the kids on a world wide tour. They will see new lands, meet new people and revisit ancient cultures. She holds a summer camp that will teach them the culture and geography of different countries. “We will focus on one country, every week. I will teach them about different places and their art and craft, dance, music and literature,” says Tejal. All these will be taught through songs and games.

Tejal, an interior designer and a commerce graduate, enjoys children and teaching. Teaching has become her passion, she says. “It is the best way to learn new things. When you teach a subject, you must also learn it thoroughly.” She says how the response of the children is the biggest reward for her as a teacher. “Despite it being a vacation, children are hooked to these summer camps. ” Venue: R.S. Puram, near Ladies’ club

Date: Till May 30

Time: from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Telephone: 77085-59664

Age group: between three and ten

Bijithra Jagadesh

A graduate in beautician course and dietetics, Bijithra realised her passion lay in teaching tiny tots, after she read up on Montessory teaching to assist her little son. She decided to start a play school and she underwent Montessory training for the same. “I feel the kindergarten stage is the best time of a child’s life. You can mould them so well. They are open to learning and so innocent.” She spent nine years in Tokyo, teaching children. When she returned to Coimbatore, she launched a centre called i-Read, where grammar and language are taught through phonetics. “It is still a new concept in Coimbatore. But it is a scientific method of teaching language,” she says.

This summer, her centre will conduct a camp for children where they will learn science through simple experiments. They will also learn about puppetry, and craft. “We do not want to burden the child with too much information. They will learn theories and concepts through activities. Our main idea is to teach the kids some real life skills.”

Venue: i-Read, Educational Centre, Saibaba Colony

Date: April 14 to 25 and May 5 to 16

Time: 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Age group: four to seven

Telephone: 91766-89700