Life & Style

How to make summer vacation fun during COVID-19

Nyra Singh tries her hand at gymnastics at her farm in Rajasthan   | Photo Credit: Aditya Singh

As nine-year-old Awita learns the nuances of balancing act in Odissi, her mother who doubles up as dance teacher cheers her on. “I am trained in dance, and that has been put to good use,” smiles Swayampurna Mishra, creator of the food blog La Petit Chef, and author of My Indian Kitchen. “Though she is missing out learning from a dance guru and in a group with other kids, this is the best arrangement to keep her engaged now.”

Swayampurna Mishra with her daughters Adwita and Anaayah

Swayampurna Mishra with her daughters Adwita and Anaayah  

It is that time of the year; summer break is upon us and with the lockdown situation repeating this year too, parents are turning to easy, fun and productive activities within the confines of home to keep their little ones busy. “We dance, workout, cook and bake together, and also dabble in art. I teach her framing using DSLR; she is keen and loves taking portraits,” Swayampurna adds.

Ideal time

As families are forced to cancel the annual ritual of visiting grandparents, it is now the ideal time to teach children how to grow their own food. Like Gayathri Arul, who lives on a farm at Sethumadai in Pollachi and whose daughter Sitara Karthikeyan, says Gayathri, is now a “hands-on organic farmer”.

Sitara tends to cows at her farm in Pollachi

Sitara tends to cows at her farm in Pollachi   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“We have stopped buying vegetables. All our onions, chillies, tomatoes, brinjals, bitter gourd and snake gourd come from her garden,” laughs Gayathri. An early riser, Sitara starts her day with a good round of jogging. She then joins the farm workers, tends to the cows, learns how to milk cows, and makes manure using panchakavyam.“Encouraged by her, so many other kids have taken to farming,” says Gayathri adding that,“Along the way, we are learning lessons in sustainability and how good health is a priority.”

Aditya Singh, 55, father to 10-year-old Nyra, however, has been receiving lessons on the right type of emojis to use. “A thumbs up emoji apparently makes me a boring person,” he laughs, and adds, “I belong to the last generation who passed out engineering before computers came into the scene; she was born in the iPad era.”

Advya Singh tries his hand at art

Advya Singh tries his hand at art   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The father-daughter duo, who live on a one-acre farm at the periphery of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, have a packed schedule for summer. “We have a water body that has many frog species. She collects tadpoles in a bucket, nurtures them till they grow feet and then releases them back. She helps us in the kitchen garden, rears rabbits, and makes clay sculptures with her mother who is an artist.”Nyra also shoots videos of her daily activities since she aspires to become a YouTuber. “She also does somersaults and tries gymnastic postures. We are having a jolly good time,” says Aditya.

Arun Kamath and his son Ashray on nature treks

Arun Kamath and his son Ashray on nature treks   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For some parents, it is painting, drawing, arts and crafts that come to the rescue. Parents of Advya Singh who is in junior kindergarten, based in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, give him the space to get his hands dirty with paint and colours. Meanwhile, Arun Kamath takes his son Ashray along on his weekend treks to photograph birds, mammals and insects; when his son then shares the photos he took with other children, their interest in Nature and wildlife too is piqued, says Arun, adding, “Recently, we went to the Aravalli Ranges and discussed building watering holes for animals. The best part of this teaming up is that I get to learn all about the latest photo editing tools.”

Most parents agree that creative hobbies make their children productive and also keeps them from being exposed to the depressing pandemic scenario outside. Adds Swayampurna, “It has been over a year since we are all cooped up. But children are more resilient and have taken to the situation way better than most adults have. We just have to pack in some fun.”


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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 1:02:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/how-to-make-summer-vacation-fun-during-covid-19/article34535715.ece

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