5 Lessons Kids Learn At Indian Wedding

Our five years old twin daughters, O +ve and B +ve, attended a wedding last month at Chennai. The kids were excited about the travel, meeting new people – fellow kids and relatives, attending the wedding, the ceremonies and what all and whatnot. We are not sure what excited them the most. Though, does it matter when it comes to Indian Wedding?

It was an experience for the girls – the wedding and the paraphernalia. I am sure they learnt a few lessons from their interactions and the happenings around them.

The Relatives

The kids learnt to nod to all the relatives who asked if the girls remembered them, when they met earlier, when they were in their nappies.

The kids learnt to get their cheeks, their head, their back patted from various directions by dotting relatives. At times, simultaneously.

The girls were bombarded with the same question – Which school do you go to, by all and sundry. The girls beamed and answered to all that they do not go to any because they are young children.

The Food

Getting hold of two chairs is a pain for us in any of the buffets we have gone till now. How does one expect to feed children standing all the time?

Here, it was a pleasant surprise. The breakfast and dinner were served on a banana leaf. Now, one cannot stand and hold a banana leaf with food inside. So, we had tables and chairs. The girls learnt to have their food in banana leaves.

Our children have a mix of Telugu and Gujarati food. In this wedding, the girls learnt to have loads of Tamil pickles, podi, curry and a different taste to rasam and sambhar.

More importantly, the girls fed themselves for all the meals, without a fuss. Not sure, what clicked. The banana leaves, the Tamil food, the people sitting around them; whatever.

The Dress

The girls learnt to put on 3 different dresses in a day, with all the paraphernalia for their ears, neck, hands, legs. Kudos to their mother for the patience she has in changing 6 pairs through the day.

The girls tried out various colour combinations and they went on and on. I felt blessed that I cannot identify any colours other than primary colours.

Trying to put clothes to the age-group of 3-6-year-olds, which they are not used to, is one crazy exercise. They drive us nuts with their antics and tantrums, and this was no different. They learnt to add new tricks to their armoury in this dressing up and dressing down episodes.

The Children

In the earlier marriages that we attended, we went around the food time and never noticed it. However, this time when we were present for two full days for all the ceremonies, it was starkly visible. With two hyperactive kids, we had to bear the maximum brunt of it.

Our daughters learnt and we also learnt that there are hardly any children around in Indian weddings. Gone long are the days when the kids would be running around in the wedding ceremonies and creating a ruckus. Few of them turned up during meal times, but that is it. Our daughters did not find any play-mates for them, that we promised before the travel.

Wonder where the children have gone to vanish from the scenes of the Indian wedding?

The Ceremony

We had told the girls that marriage is a ceremony. Now, the ever-inquisitive five years olds wanted to know – When/How/What is the ceremony? There are a few things that we learn only when we experience it first-hand. This was one of it.

We had no answers to satisfy the curiosity of young minds. They wanted to know what was happening and why it was happening. I realized that I was clueless about their queries. I also realized that there was no way in which I could answer their questions. Apart from the priest, who would have known what was going on, I do not think there was an informed soul around.

As the girls kept asking – Is the ceremony over during both the days, their initiation to dumbing down the curiosity about the religious ceremonies had started.

The parents’ perspective

Attending an Indian Wedding is an important part of the child’s learning and growing up process. They get used to the attack on the sensory organs – eyes (bright lighting), ears (deafening music), nose (strong perfumes), skin (pinch and pat) and get only chocolates for their taste buds.

The arrangement for Indian weddings hardly leaves any space, time and resources for children to do what they do – play or try and involve them in the proceedings.

Indian weddings ensure that the child’s journey to the impending adulthood gets initiated at the earliest.

5 Ways For Children To Enjoy The Train Journey

The very mention of the train journey leads our twin daughters to jubilation and excitement. B +ve and O +ve look forward to train journeys as if we are going to a second home. Their reaction is like the brand ambassadors of the adage – It is the journey that counts, not the destination. For their interest lies in the train journeys, like none other.

The Railway Station

Our children love going to the railway station. Leave aside our train journeys, we go to the railway station to wave goodbye and say welcome to any of the family members that cross Secunderabad railway station. We wave to not just departing family members, but to all the passengers looking out of their windows and doors, guard, TTEs, pantry staff and sundry.

Even though the train has departed/is yet to come, we loiter on the railway station inspecting the escalators, sweepers, food stalls, trolleys, large rats scavenging on the tracks, leaking water pipes, pigeons and crows, and of course the stray dogs. The girls do want to have a peek inside the engine but the government staff does not believe in giving hands-on experience to children.

At times, we have taken food from home and gone to the railway station to have our meal. It has been a worth-while experience for our children just being at the railway station.

The train journey – Outside of the coach

We used to travel in AC class when the girls were young. However, after they turned two years, we realized that they are not enjoying the view behind the glass. So, we moved to the sleeper class / general class.

Whatever the girls see outside the moving train – trees, flowers, fields, crops, barren land, hills, factories, cattle, people, railway stations, dried river-beds, sky, birds and of course the garbage that accompanies the railway tracks – is a topic for discussion. The children want to know about each and everything that passes by and why it is the way it is.

Whenever the train has an extended stoppage at any station, we get down acclimatizing ourselves with the new place.

The train journey – Inside of the coach

The girls love to walk through the compartment. They are not comfortable crossing the coaches yet. They make acquaintance with the fellow passengers and run around merrily in the walking aisle. As I walk behind them, people get to identify me as the harried father of the two bundles of energy.

The girls love climbing up the upper berth. As they monkey around – up and down the upper berth, I end up standing in the aisle for an extended duration so that they do not fall in the moving train.

No matter what the Railways claim about the bio-toilets and the cleanliness drive, the wash-room is a big thumbs-down from the girls. Unless it is an over-night journey, they would not step inside.

The vendors

The girls chant cha-chai coffee-coffee whenever the vendor passes by. We have tried out almost all the snacks – non-packaged and non-branded, bhel, vada pao, samosa, kachori, soup, cutlet, idli, vada and the local fruits that otherwise would not be available at our doorsteps.

The girls have seen the beggars at the traffic junctions. However, seeing the handicapped people sweeping the compartment and begging, women going around with medical files, people coming and singing yesteryears Hindi songs, eunuchs asking for money etc is a different experience altogether for the children.

At times, we have asked ourselves if we should change our mode of travel to shield our daughters from this experience. The answer has been – Indians ought to know India in all its avatars.

The games and the food

When we travel to my home-town Rajkot, it is a 28-hour train journey one way. All the above loses its sheen after the 18-24 hour time. Then, it is the time for the blocks, books, play-doh, activities that we carry along-with and of course the toys, that we buy along the way.

Needless to say, the children get hungry more on the train journey. We carry a good amount of food to keep their little tummies full.

Summing Up

Indian Railways is not at all an easy place to travel in with children. We have a tough time sleeping in the night with the two girls. The wash-room invariably stinks and the girls refuse to go. It was difficult feeding them and changing diapers when they were young.

Now, the girls are enjoying themselves in the train and at the railway station, come what may.

I suppose they have internalized the Indian Railways train journey.

Introducing Seeds to Children With Fun and Games

“Summer Seed Race 2019” – A perfect time to bond and a great way to learn about seeds.

The sensorial and tactile act of rummaging, gathering and collecting seeds will contribute to kindling a genuine interest and connecting all of us intimately with our immediate natural world.

A humble attempt to get each one of us to spare a moment for the green blessings that we have taken for granted.

So said Dirty Feet‘s mail announcing the “Summer Seed Race 2019” activity under its NATURE SCHOOL programme.

B +ve and O +ve collect loads of stuff during their usual nature walks in the parks/neighbourhood. I suspect that many of them are seeds in different forms though I cannot identify any one of them. I spoke to the Dirty Feet team that we do not know a thing about plants. They replied that it is not a prerequisite at all; rather it is an opportunity to learn about seeds.

We enrolled immediately for the programme. We spent the morning of Saturday at the picturesque Sanjeevaiah Park, getting introduced to seeds in an amazingly beautiful manner.

The Seed Race

The first event was the seed race. We were a 4 member group – O +ve, B +ve, Sunny (a friend’s son aged 9 years) and myself. There were 3 teams along with us. In the race, we had to explore and scout around for seeds, seed pods and fruits.  As it was a race, there was going to be counting of the different varieties collected by us. One point for one variety and a bonus point if we can identify the tree.

We were free to google to identify the scientific/common/local names of the trees and a pdf file was also shared. I realized that I cannot identify even one seed with all the help possible and I let go off the task.

B +ve and O +ve have been to Sanjeevaiah Park several times. They started collecting the seeds from the word go. For me, it was like what is not a leaf/twig/branch, can be a seed. All the three kids were much better than me in identifying the seeds as well. Whilst scouting for seeds, they checked out many ant colonies, ran behind squirrels and watched crows having their breakfast – must-do activities for children in parks. As we were moving in one direction, park personnel warned us about the presence of snakes in the vicinity.  For a while, the kids forgot about the seeds and began to search for snakes.

As a group, we were supposed to collect only one seed of every variety, but the girls enjoyed filling their bags with whatever they could lay their hands on. So, their bags were overflowing with seeds. We finally got back to the starting point 45 minutes after we began our hunt.

The children did a good job by collecting 17 different varieties of seeds, they even identified 4 of them. I couldn’t identify even a single seed.

The Seeds Mandala

While we were away, Dirty Feet team had put together a Seed Mandala with 20 + varieties of seeds and pods. Kids were then, encouraged to pick seeds and pods from the Seed Mandala and create whatever they felt like. The children had a great time letting their imagination run wild. They were running back and forth from the seed mandala to the space provided to them to make seed installations and even had a background narrative in place to explain their intriguing creations.

The way every child was able to add life, character and features to the tiny seeds and twisted pods was mind-blowing.  The entire world with mountains, trees, birds, insects, humans, sun and earth was there in the form of seeds and pods including their selves. Dirty Feet has a stupendous collection and it was fun to watch children making the maximum use of it.

The Seed Games

Now, it was time for the Seed Games. The first up was the Subabul Moustache Game. The children had to balance the seed sticks above their lips and race without letting the sticks fall. Despite the balancing challenge, the kids thoroughly enjoyed the race. It was then the turn of the parents and I must tell you that I too loved it.

The kids then moved on to playing the Silk Cotton blow game, the dice game with Pongamia seeds and spinning eucalyptus and sea bean tops.

The cocklebur seeds were, of course, the showstoppers. When the kids figured out the clinging property of these seeds, they went the whole hog trying it on every possible surface. They then aimed the cocklebur seed darts at the silk cotton pouches. Kudos to the team, which designed the game incorporating the base characteristic of the cocklebur seed.

Phew. The children had a great time just with seeds for over three hours and I had no idea when the time flew by.

Waiting for the next Seeds Race

For me, the seed was a tiny little thing. I had no idea whatsoever that it came in so many different forms, sizes and types.

For the children, it was a great way to introduce them to seeds – nature’s bounty.

It reaffirmed my belief that if there is one way to make a better tomorrow, it is to introduce seeds, plants, trees and nature to children and parents – Dirty Feet way with fun and games. To make environment-friendly and ecologically sensitive citizens to help Mother Nature – out there in the open under the trees, day in, day out.

The Mud Magic: All-Weather Play For Children

Bond with mud, the source of oodles of activity, creativity, joy and sensory fun.

Engage with mud in its various avatars – powder, gooey, sticky, liquidy.

Let mud stimulate your creativity by making and your sense of adventure by playing.

So said Dirty Feet‘s mail announcing the ‘Magic of Mud’ activity under its NATURE SCHOOL programme.

My wife and I swear by the immense power of mud. A material with many textures and forms, it offers tremendous scope for all rounded play.  It is rather unfortunate that it is one of the most under-rated play-mate for children. And in the increasing concrete jungles of India, opportunities for kids to revel in it are on the wane.

So, when we saw the opportunity to be a part of the above activity, we enrolled immediately. The morning of Friday was meaningfully spent making MASTI with MUD:)

Bonding

Kids accompanied by parents and in some cases, even grandparents came from different parts of the city to revel in this activity. After a round of quick introductions, Dirty Feet’s team welcomed all the kids by handing them cookies… yummy… just that the cookies were all made with mud. The kids’ disappointment at being handed over such cookies gave way when they realised that the cookies were packed with surprises for the kids – Dirty Feet badges – the kids yipped with glee and the day began.

Dirty Feet’s first activity was all about overcoming fears and inhibitions. It was pretty much effective in fuelling the wild curious side of the kids by giving them a free hand to dig in and to explore nature’s treasures from mud mounds, slush-filled tubs and muddy waters.  Some eager to get messy, some reticent and reluctant to even touch – but nonetheless, the mudhunt was well planned to get all the kids going.

From muddy waters to sticky to powdered mud and back again to where they began, the kids moved among different stations and enjoyed each of these textures.  They were all totally involved in picking up natural treasures – stones, pebbles, seeds, seed pods, shells, flowers, sticks, feathers and of course comparing their stuff with that of the others. Those who were initially unsure about taking part in the entire exercise were now unmindful of the mud dripping from their elbows and fingers!

Creating

In the next session, kids got to do a whole lot of stuff with mud – pounding, sieving, mixing with water and making doh. They drew shapes in mud powder, wrote their names and used it as a filler in designs. They filled bottles with it and made rattles. What followed were balls, towers, puppets and sculptures too. It was interesting to watch mud take the shape of each their imaginations.

It was then time for painting. Large white papers were kept ready with mud paint in plates. Children started painting on white paper with their fingers as paint brushes. What next? The children dipped their palms and started creating their hand imprints. What next? The Dirty Feet team showed that hand imprints can be created on clothes worn by them as well. Immediately, the children went gung ho giving each other memories of the day. What next? Footprints, of course.

In the end, children were dripping with mud and making/drawing/painting, whatever and where ever they wanted to.

Playing

Pithoo, marble shots – the children focused on getting their targets right with mud. In the tub game, kids were required to throw stones in a tub filled with gooey muddy water. It was a sight to see it splashing out of the tub as children threw stones into it. They loved it and just wouldn’t have enough of it. They went on and on.

This was followed by a game of mud musical plates. Children went around them and when the music stopped, they had to put their hands into it. For the last round of the game, the tub filled with gooey muddy water was brought forth and then the kids jumped into it for a mud bath.

Magic of mud

The morning spent in the company of mud was a reaffirmation of our belief that children enjoy the simple pleasures of life the most, if only they are given an opportunity and exposure to.

Children are a happy lot when they are left to being their own selves sans the paraphernalia of adult life. It is the right of every child to get messy with mud and make mudful memories:)

What’s your take?

PS: The girls did not fall ill after all that exposure to mud. I agree that it would have virus/bacteria/disease inducing germs. However, I also believe that it is sterile and sanitised environments that lead to reduced levels of immunity in children and not just the other way round.

My prescription for a well-rounded childhood – loads of outdoor play with mud and water!

Visit to Ameenpur Lake: Children’s Day Out

Ameenpur lake is one of the popular destinations of Hyderabad for an outdoor excursion. Having read and heard that Ameenpur attracts a number of migratory birds during winter, we wanted to visit during December and January, but that was not to be.

Finally, we visited Ameenpur lake on 5th March 2019. The manner in which B +ve and O +ve, our four and a half-year-old twin daughters, enjoyed the outing was a sight we will remember for times to come.

The girls enjoyed each and every aspect of nature on offer at Ameenpur. They made themselves comfortable as if they have been to Ameenpur every day of their life.

The Birds

The girls get to see pigeons, occasionally mynahs, eagles from the terrace and hear the sound of koel. This has been their birding activity in the city of the Hyderabad so far, apart from Zoo visits.

We showed the images of common birds of Hyderabad to the girls to acquaint them with some of the birds that we might get to see at Ameenpur.

They immediately identified the Green Bee-Eater as we were going to reach the Ameenpur lake. Once at the lake, we saw Little Grebe, Little Cormorant, Egret, Painted Stork, Rosy Starling and lots of Barn Swallow. The girls were very excited to see the Little Cormorant sitting on the rocks in the lake with the wings open. They waited and waited for the birds to catch fish but the birds did not oblige.

The Rocks

O +ve and B +ve are self-proclaimed rock-climbers. The rocks that they get to climb are 3-4 feet high rocks in Indira Park and other parks. At Ameenpur, they saw the natural rock formation and immediately set out to conquer them.

The rocks were surrounded with dried vegetation and were not designed for climbing. But, the girls would have none of it. We kept ascending and descending the rocks until they were satisfied with their conquest.

The Water

For the girls, the water was the star attraction. At Ameenpur, the place where we visited, we could walk 10-15 feet inside the water and the depth was just about till the knees. It was sandy and with no stones in the water, it was not slippery either.

The girls had the time of their lives in the water splashing it all around and on themselves. A Dirty Feet trip also landed at the same place with 13 children and they also joined the fun. Dirty Feet team had some sort of self-designed catamarans on which children could sit and it would keep floating in the water. All the children, including O +ve and B +ve, enjoyed and enjoyed.

I have come to understand that water is one of the best toys for children. This was no different. Looking at the children having fun in the water, a child in every adult comes to life. You can try and test it for yourself.

The Fish

The place where we were at Ameenpur also had 4-5 fishermen catching live fish in their nets. They gave demonstrations to children to throw the net, take it back with the fish, remove the fish carefully from the net and keep it in a crate inside the water so that they are alive till they are sold/packed in cartons.

One of the girls touched the live fish and even tried taking it in her hands. She understood how to hold the fish horizontally behind the gills / under the fins. Her sister said that she will try it, the next time.

The Wind

This is one of the most understated elements of nature that gets missed out staying in a concrete jungle. At Ameenpur, it was 12 o’clock in the afternoon, and nobody had a sweat.

It was a pleasure to watch the curls of girls flying on their faces in the cool breeze.

Conclusion

We spent about 5 hours at Ameenpur and did not realize where the time went by.

It is a pity that the children have to learn about the environment and nature from books and not through live experiential interactions. A visit like one to Ameenpur keeps reaffirming our belief that children are best looked after when left to nature. Just that the opportunities like this come few and far in between.

I am not sure about Ameenpur either, about how long it will be able to survive.

Warangal Zoo Visit – Our Children Deserves More

What should differentiate a child from a metro city to a non-metro city, or an up-country town? The child has the access to the same curriculum, similar technology – internet, even the malls irrespective of the place where s/he stays. Ideally, the difference has to be none, but that is not the case and we know it.

I suppose among the few differentiating factors – one is the physical experience that a child can get for his/her exposure. A visit to Warangal Zoo set me thinking on why we treat the children from non-metro locations as lesser mortals when it comes to investing in a better experiential environment for them.

The First Step

I visited Warangal Zoo on 27th October 2018 with my 4-year old twin daughters. They really look forward to visiting a zoo and this was no different. At the ticket counter, a charge for a battery operated vehicle was mentioned. I asked about the same, I was told that they have only one vehicle and it has broken down.

After entering the zoo, I asked the security and he said that the driver was on leave. Whatever be the reason, an organization focusing on customer service would never have been so casual in their approach to their customers – children in this case. If it is broken, get it repaired; if the driver is on leave, I suppose it is not rocket science to drive a battery operated vehicle for n number of staff working in the zoo.

The Animals

Warangal zoo has three large animals – the bears, the jackals and a leopard. We went to the jackal moat first. The girls are under the jungle book trance currently, so they started shouting for Tabaqui, unfortunately, we found none. We went to the bear enclosure next; the girls started shouting for Baloo, again we did not find any animals.

Both the enclosures are in such bad shape; I was convinced that there are no animals inside. There was no staff around for us to ask. The girls were very discouraged to see that their efforts were not yielding any results.

The next up was the leopard enclosure. The leopard was in a good mood to give a close-up to the visitors. The girls were overjoyed. We saw that there was a bird inside the enclosure, sitting on the opposite end to the leopard. The leopard also noticed the bird, sat still for a couple of minutes, ran and pounced on the bird. The bird managed to flew away. It was some sight. And a thought that enclosure was broken from somewhere for the bird to fly in and fly out!!

We finally saw one zoo-keeper. The girls asked the leopard’s name, it was called Deva. We also asked about the jackals and the bears but realized that the zoo-keeper could not communicate except for Telugu and the girls did not understand what he was speaking. The girls wanted to know the age of the leopard, what is fed to the leopard, was the leopard a boy or a girl, did the leopard have a friend – but the zoo-keeper was in no mood to talk to us. He was busy chatting with his colleagues who had come to meet him.

Next stop was the ostrich enclosure. The girls were very excited to see the giant birds. Next, to the enclosure, a person was cutting some leaves, presumably to feed the birds. The girls asked about what the leaves were and if they can try their hand at cutting the leaves. He shooed us away, maybe the zoo has some secret feed ingredients that it wants nobody to see.

We thought that we were coming to the end of the zoo, it was wilderness ahead. There were no signs anywhere. We just walked on enjoying the shade of the trees and the tweeting of the birds. And, we stumbled upon the deer enclosures – the sambar deer and the spotted deer. The other 2 enclosures were empty.

As we kept walking on, it was another shot at the wilderness and a wooden bridge to cross a dirty stream – looking like drainage water. The girls had an adventure crossing the bridge with the large cracks, where they could actually lose their foot down, and the creaking sounds it made.

We realized later that we were actually encircling the zoo and we came up on the other side – we saw 3 iguanas in a small cage, a crocodile in water with an empty enclosure next to it, lots and lots of tortoise hatchlings, an aviary with 19 cages (O+ve counted them). We also saw “the beautiful bird of the earth” – a blue-coloured bird, as one of the girls called it. My wife told us later that it was the state bird of Telangana. We also saw 2 black swans and a white swan, in the water dirty enough to make the white swan black by the time we visit again.

The End

That was it. We were through with the visit of a 50-acre zoo. Very fortunately, the girls brought us back to the jackal and the bear enclosures all over again. The sun had set, the guard was whistling for the visitors to leave and taking it as a sign, animals had come out. We did manage to see them.

I did not find Environment Education Centre, Library, Auditorium and Museum in the Warangal Zoo premises; as I found them on the net. The Facebook page of Warangal Zoo – Kakatiya Zoological Park has no updates since 29 July 2017. The last 6 updates have photographs of politicians and no animals. Wondering what that means?

All in all, I remember Warangal Zoo for non-functional battery operated vehicle, a lot of empty enclosures, poorly kept enclosures where the animals were actually present and no signage for the visitors, beyond the first turn. I would also remember it for the stinking toilet and a non-functional water dispenser. I am sure that a zoo in a metro location would have none of these. Why should the children in a non-metro location have such a third-grade experience? If their parents can pay for the fancy schools, multiplex, internet bandwidth, online shopping – why would they not afford a zoo which is better managed and with animals?

It is about my perspective though. My girls did enjoy their outing of the Warangal Zoo. But for that matter, put them in a green space with squirrels, insects, leaves and twigs and they will enjoy that too. The crux of the matter is why we raise children with an experience, calling it a Zoo, which kills their quest for a better experience.

PS: Regarding zoo-keeper’s attitude towards children of not speaking to them / not answering their queries, each of the zoos in India, I suppose, will score the same. We know how to reduce an experiential venture to just a visual thing to pass by as a customary task.

5 must-do activities for 4 years old in Parks

Indira Park has been a favourite destination for O +ve and B +ve since their first year. It is not close to our house, yet the attraction of the greenery all-around and the complete freedom to wander makes it a preferred outing location for the girls, almost once every 2 weeks.

For the last 3 years or so, the girls have made their acquaintance with quite a bit of the park space. As the girls turn 4 years old, I have listed down the 5 time-tested must-do activities for B +ve and O +ve in Indira Park that makes it a much-loved place for them.

Chasing the squirrels:

The girls are in awe of the hop and running, getting up on the tree, running after each other, standing up on hind-legs, putting food in the mouth – whatever the squirrels do. They want to participate in each of the squirrels’ routine affairs and run behind them to be a part of their team. Alas, no squirrels have come to terms with their idol status with the girls. They jump and run away to protect their space to themselves.

It is O +ve’s fervent desire to caress the squirrel’s tail. Needless to say, she has been a complete failure in this task. Yet, she pursues it with total commitment each and every time.

Rock climbing:

Almost twice a week the girls tell us that we should take them out for rock climbing. I am unable to understand from where they get their fascination with rock climbing.

Before you visualize that there would be large rocks in Indira Park to get the rock climbing enthusiasts going, it is none of the sorts. Indira Park hardly has 8-10 rocks, most of them 3-4 feet in height. Our little rock climbers scramble on these rocks from all possible directions and claim their supremacy on reaching the summit. The descent is by sliding down the rocks into the sand.

Snooping on the Centipedes

A wild-life in any form is sure to get the girls excited. None better than a centipede. Like an eagle that can spot her prey on the ground from the sky, both the girls can catch a sight of centipede from a distance. They are occupied tracing the movement of centipede on the ground, following the insect all along till it decides to get swallowed into the ground. The girls have actually tried counting the legs of the centipedes but to no avail.

The girls have not been brave enough to hold the centipedes in their hands. The day they do it, we are sure that they would want to bring it home as their pet in their small flower pots. BTW, a snail is also as charming as centipede to the girls.

Collecting leaves, twigs and seed-pods

This is a major activity for the girls anywhere and everywhere, particularly in the parks. They carry their nature bags with them and start hauling their collection once they step into the park. They understand not to pluck the flowers from the plants. Hence, their attention has always been on dried leaves, twigs of all shapes and sizes and seed-pods lying on the ground. This collection gets used for their colouring activity and other arts and crafts everyday stuff at home.

The girls want to know the names of each and every tree and seeds and flowers and fruits, how and why a leaf’s design is what it is – what all these should be called. I realize with each of their questions that I am no good in my botany or biology.

Rolling and Sliding over the grass

The girls engage in this activity when they realize that their sojourn in the park is coming to an end. It is a pleasure to watch the girls rolling in sliding in the grass without inhibitions – unabashed.

The best a child can be.

It is not that these activities that can be done only in Indira Park. Any of the public parks with a green space to run around will suffice for the 4 years old girls for their 5 must-do activities.

A joy to watch the 4-year-olds at their best.

PS: Public Parks also double-up as a survival guide for children by teaching life skills.