unlock 1.0 Children

With schools still shut, children rediscover the joys of playing outdoors

Children play with the parents as school remain shut

Children play with the parents as school remain shut   | Photo Credit: SHAMMI MEHRA

For a change children are on a different trip. Instead of shuttling between various coaching and hobby classes, they are running to play ‘hide and seek’, cycling till they are tired and also switching to sports like badminton, football or cricket. Even the rain isn’t able to stop them. With schools shut due to COVID-19, children are getting a chance to live their childhood, reminiscent of the times when a normal childhood meant going out and playing in the open after school hours. School children these days seem to spend most of their time on coaching classes or with some extra-curricular activities.

Preeti Raja, a homemaker and mother of an eight-year-old, says she is thoroughly enjoying the change from the rushed mornings which also involved driving her son, Atharv to school. She says, “My son now spends most of his time on online classes, so he isn’t watching much TV. At the slightest break he gets, he wants to be out. He is calling this \extended summer holidays, of a different kind. Before the lockdown my son would be playing alone because his timings didn’t match that of other kids’. Now he jumps from one group to the other and is also my badminton partner.”

With schools remaining shut, children are having a good playing and spending time in the open

With schools remaining shut, children are having a good playing and spending time in the open   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

Rishav Charan and Karthik Rao’s morning ritual involves waking up early, cycling in the colony and waking their two friends. Togethe, they race up and down the slope of their colony, and pass on tips on techniques to improve speed and stamina. “I want to take part in cycling events with dad. I have been to one, but couldn’t finish it. So this time, when the event happens, I want to go prepared. My friends also want to participate and we are training and teaching each other and having a lot of fun. Nowadays we get to play two times — in the mornings we cycle, evenings, we play badminton. Best life ever,’ laughs Rishav, a VIII std student.

When the girls join in, the group of boys changes their game strategy and opts for anything the girls want to. “The girls in our group mostly like to play hide and seek, so we have to agree. When it rains, while we love to run and get wet in the rain, the girls prefer indoor games. So instead of video games we are now brushing up our carrom skills. When any of our parents agree to accompany us, we also go for walks,” says Karthik.

Of late however, they are also trying to learn to skateboard. “The road in our colony is very well laid, so we are making use of it,” laughs Rishav’s brother, Manav.

What about video games and Xbox time? “After attending online classes I prefer to be out. The weather is also good. During the complete lockdown when we were not allowed to step out, I played a lot on mute as dad would be working and mum hates noise. I overdid it I guess, now I don’t feel like looking at the games at all,” smiles Rajeev N with a smile.

Apart from spending time outdoors, Rajeev says with pride that he is also learning to make sandwiches, “I am confident enough to make my own picnic basket if there are cold cuts and cheese at home.”

Archana Reddy of Good Old Games, a store that specialises in traditional Indian games says there are lot of enquiries for board games like ashta chamma, pachisi, vamana guntalu, daadi etc. “Parents are keen on teaching new things. Since these games improve planning and memory, there seems to be a surge in demand,” says Archana.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 9:22:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/children-enjoying-good-time-outdoor-with-no-schools-to-attend/article31858688.ece

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