Art on a break

“Mum, I’m bored!” These three words will not ease off any time soon, though school will be back in session next month. In fact, with several longs weekends ahead, it’s best to have a contingency plan in place. What if we said you could go on a vacation where your children will not only be entertained but also get a creative experience? From treks that incorporate journaling and sketching to workshops on pottery and tile making, here’s our pick of some immersive and fun experiences.

The Bangala, Karaikudi

Art on a break

Chettiar hospitality is legendary. Guests are fussed over and any occasion is reason for a feast. At The Bangala, the family-run heritage hotel located in Karaikudi, you can not only soak in traditional Chettinad culture and visit the famous mansions, but also book a workshop for your kids on the art of making Athangudi tiles. Under the guidance of expert craftsmen, your child will learn how the individual squares are handmade with white cement, sand and bright pigments (over a glass base to get the sheen). They can then draw their own designs and watch them being created then and there by the artisans. Don’t forget to book the workshop in advance. The tiles take a while to cure, but you can have them sent to you when they are done. For more details, log on to thebangala.com or call 044 24934543.

White Magic and Aquaterra Adventures, Himachal Pradesh

Art on a break

While treks are one of the best ways to escape city life, they are also a great place to teach your child to appreciate nature through creative activities. Ask them to draw, paint or even make a collage of the leaves, rivers, insects and animals they see around them. Children love to identify different cloud shapes, and a journal is a lovely way to capture memories of the camp fire, the tents and all the little things that make the trip special.

White Magic and Aquaterra Adventures are reputed trekking companies that work in the Himalayas. As a first timer, you could try Aquaterra’s permanent tented camp in Rishikesh or sign up with either company for a multi-day adventure, which includes tented camps, sleeping bags and delicious food (provided by cooks who travel with the group). On the morning trek from the base camp at 8 am (after a big breakfast), your child will be exposed to nature and its vivid hues. You will reach the next camp by lunchtime, where you can spend the rest of the afternoon experimenting with photography or creating memories on paper. For more details, go to whitemagicadventure.com (five-day treks from ₹26,650) and aquaterra.in.

The Shilaroo Project, Himachal Pradesh

Art on a break

Housed in an apple orchard, The Shilaroo Project is a holistic residency that offers workshops on yoga, pottery and farming, along with restful accommodation and farm-fresh Saatvik meals. It lets you explore ceramics under the guidance of artist Virangna Kainthla — who trained at Kalakshetra (Chennai) and Andretta Pottery (Himachal), and was mentored by Aurovillian artists Supriya Menon and Vineet Kakkar, and ceramic artist Keshari Nandan (Rajasthan). The art and pottery courses are tailored with an aim to encourage and draw out a child’s inherent imagination.

Shilaroo also has a unique combination of yoga and art programmes for children (seven to 14 years), which includes a few simple life-enhancing asanas and kriyas to help bring about a sense of equanimity and discipline. Yoga classes are punctuated by fun games and interactions that encourage communication and bonding among children from varied cultural backgrounds. They are open for bookings (₹16,000 onwards) from the first week of June, through their website theshilarooproject.com.

City Urban Sketch, Chennai

Art on a break

No time for a long break? Don’t worry. Take your child around the city, to make some urban sketches of places with a buzz — like Marina Beach in Chennai, a vegetable market or a train station with beautiful colonial architecture. Help them form the habit of carrying a sketch book, as a visual journal is a great way to capture (and recollect) memories of a trip made, however small. Sketching also helps your child look at his/her surroundings more carefully and see details they might otherwise miss. Join the Chennai Weekend Artists group on Facebook if you are looking for company or take your child for walks during Madras Week (in August), the choices are endless. Don’t forget to carry water, snacks and a hat. Details: facebook.com/groups/ChennaiWeekendArtists

Vetteth is the founder of RainbowFish Studio, which runs comprehensive art programmes in schools, and workshops for children

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 1:03:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art-on-a-break/article18584046.ece

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