Kavade - The Toy Hive is a haven of traditional games, toys and brainteasers — a perfect offering this summer

Remember a time when summer holidays were filled with time spent playing board games with cousins? Now board games, cousins and summer holidays with time to play — all are rare to come by. That's when Kavade's offerings catch your eye. It triggers the nostalgia, the child in you; the need to roll dice and rub your palms in glee.

Kavade, A Toy Hive is a little nook in Sheshadripuram that sells traditional games and toys — and by that I mean those where you play with cowrie shells, wooden stick dice, pawns, marbles, and set to be played on palm mats with little blocks and chequered squares.

A welcome change from the flood of plastic and electronic goods in the market. The store, lined on one wall with little wooden sections, displays an array of old-word games and toys.

Games like lagori, pagade, huli-kuri aata, pallanguni/ alugulimane, navakankari. And boy! When was the last time you saw a kaleidoscope? If you haven't heard of them, ask around in the family, and watch their reaction.

It was started about a year ago by Sreeranjini G.S. With a masters in applied genetics, she seems an odd one to be running such a store, but she says “I've played these games at home with my grandmother, aunts and cousins. Kids today don't get them at all and it's a good addiction compared to TV. And they don't really need much ‘infrastructure'. It also means more family time, because most of these games need to be played with others.”

When she took a break from her job to be with her child, she started off toying with this concept. Today the store stocks goodies for kids under five categories — traditional games, fun ‘N' learn, brain teasers, musical miracles, pretend play. There are also a few books on offer. You'll find traditional wooden buguris, palm-leaf “kitchen sets”, palm-leaf and jute puppets, make-it-yourself kits with strings, beads, shells and seeds (for better eye-hand co-ordination). For younger tots, there are pushcarts, wooden whistles, palm-leaf rattles.

In the brain teasers section, you'll find games that kids can learn to strategise with — battleground games, interlocking puzzles, colour-identification games like Chinese spiel, the mathematical hex game, and the eternal boredom-ridder — tic-tac-toe.

There are games based on mythology like the “Search for Sita”, “Vanavaas” in the Ramayana series. Kids could follow the adventures of Rama and Lakshmana as they search for Sita and seek the help of the vanaras or monkeys.

Sreeranjini will be able to help you pick out something for your kids or friends based on their age, interest, and your budget. She admits there are various versions of the same game. So she's compiled and printed the most common form to accompany each game.

In the Fun ‘N' Learn section there is a feel and learn game which comes with a blindfold — tie up your eyes and sort out the 25 cowrie shells according to various shapes and textures. There's palm-and-string stitching kits, aiming rings, painting kits, wooden yoyos, rangoli puzzles and lots more.

Kavade has also started a play centre where children can come in for a week in the summer vacation and learn to play some of these games.

“I realised that many parents themselves don't know how to play these games so it becomes difficult for the children to pick it up otherwise,” she says. The games begin on April 5. Registrations are on.

Kavade is at #143, CKN Chambers, 1st Main Road, Sheshadripuram. Look up www.kavade.org. Or call 99800-22820.

Keywords: Kavadegamestoysbrainteasers