Monday, 14 January 2008

Chronicles of the lazy

Before my blog self-destructs due to negligence...

Some of the stuff I've been writing for work. The more creative stuff will come soon. (hopefully)

Spot the Tumbletots kid

Confident, eager to play and make new friends – a new activity centre works on the seven skills of a child

They have them in Hong Kong, Manila, Jakarta, Bali, Germany, Britain and Singapore. And now Chennai has its own Tumbletots, just for kids. Programmes here – both entertaining and educational – are said to be such fun that kids in the city are jumping out of bed on Saturday mornings and dogging their parents’ footsteps till they’re taken to the centre on Lattice Bridge Road.

With programmes for children between 6 months and 7 years, Tumbletots promises to develop the core personality of your tiny tots, boosting their confidence, improving their motor skills, and helping them interact with new people. Baba, the centre manager, says that most parents who are regulars at the nine-month-old centre, say the same thing – ‘‘My child is very different.’’ When these kids spend their first day in kindergarten, they’re the ones running about, playing and trying to make new friends while the other kids would usually be bawling or clutching at their mothers’ pallus.

How does Tumbletots do this? Their sessions, twice a week, work on improving the seven skills of a child, including logical, linguistic, kinesthetic and other skills, using just exercises, activities and play. ‘‘Talking endlessly to such a young kid is pointless; a child understands best through play and experiences,’’ remarks Baba. Parents of the extremely young toddlers are taught to massage their kids, improve flexibility etc, and the young ones are given a free play session to learn through the sense of touch. The slightly older ones undergo personality development training as well. ‘‘It’s up to the age of seven that our personalities can be moulded and shaped,’’ says Baba. He explains how, through intense one-hour sessions, Tumbletots helps kids overcome stranger anxiety and cope with small losses.

Also, the bright yellow and red walls, interesting looking toys and mats are not there just so your kid can have fun (though that happens as well) – everything here has a purpose.

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New #48, LB Road

Published: 23 November 2007, Indulge, The Indian Express


Look Hoo’s here

Encouraging kids to read more, Hippocampus has workshops almost every day

How many kids read books these days, what with their favourite cartoon on the telly all time long? Admit it, there’s nothing easier than handing your child a remote control, when he’s bored. Hippocampus, begun in Bangalore four years ago and in Chennai in 2005, is trying to change this trend. Books, they say, help develop language, speech, and vocabulary. And with over 8000 books on their shelves and in homes across the city, theirs is a venture that really promotes reading when kids are young. History, geography, mythology, Nancy Drew, Secret Seven… you name it, Hippo has them all. Giving your kids a book, reading them to sleep or just spending time with them over a book is time well spent, promises Hippocampus director Chandni Khanna.

Kids come to this centre in Abhiramapuram to play, read, interact, make new friends, and learn new things. From theatre, painting, arts and crafts to simple sessions with a journalist, Hippocampus also conducts various workshops. Kids and parents can look out for something brand new every three months – from storytelling sessions and carnivals to slideshows. And what’s more, you can borrow a couple of books after the workshop is over.

With the centre recently launching a few ‘‘Hoo’s corners’’ across the city – to bring books closer to you – this only gets more interesting. You could open up one in your home too. All you have to do is take a collection of books from Hippocampus and lend it out to members once or twice a week. These corners are to provide access to people who live in various parts of the city, from OMR to Velachery.

Workshops are open to members and non-members, though non-members have to pay for each workshop individually. There are various packages at Hippocampus – to borrow books, multimedia etc and participate in workshops. Membership ranges from Rs 200 to Rs 350 a month. At the workshop tomorrow, your kids can belt out carols at the top of their voices and unleash their artistic skills while decorating Xmas cakes, biscuits and cupcakes.

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1/E Subbaraya Iyer Avenue,
(off C P Ramsamy Road)

Published 14 December 2007, Indulge, The Indian Express