Mummy Knows Best - The hands-on mum's guide to cool kids' stuff

If you have a child like mine who adores animals, this little series of books from Tulika (one of the most prolific children’s book publishers in India) will be perfect for you to read to your little one. A quirky cast of characters like Shanmugam the lion, Paytu the pig, Kamalnayan the camel, Hutoxi the horse, and Bahadur the clever baby elephant take your child on little adventures in the jungle, without any of the overly scary images one sees in Panchatantra stories. I’m all for my son hearing tales from the Jatakas or the Panchatantra, and I don’t want overly sanitised stories by any means. But the quality of books that tell the traditional stories are abysmal. I have one book where there is blood and gore on every page and I hastily closed it because I saw my son’s forehead crease with worry and panic when he looked at those illustrations.

This Tulika series by Radhika Chadha is fun, interesting and different and the drawings by Priya Kuriyan bring the whole jungle to life. I think they are available in lots of languages besides English, too.


The other Tulika series we are crazy about are the Gajapati Kulapati books written and illustrated by Ashok Rajagopal, about a loveable elephant and his village friends. The highlight of the book are the sound effects which leap out at you simply through the text. Can you imagine what Kalabaloooosh could be the sound of? Check them out and see. Hilarious and super fun for kids to read over and over again. Also available in regional languages.







Snoring Shanmugam, by Radhika Chadha, available at all big bookstores and on  Rs. 165 (approx)

Gajapati Kulapati by Ashok Rajagopal, available at all big bookstores and on Rs 122 (approx)


I usually go to my parents’ place for a good part of the summers so I did not want a long duration summer camp as such, but definitely wanted some thing for my 2.5yr old son to do, even if it was for just a few hours each week. Cuddle Kids Play School has a couple of activities that I am sure my son will enjoy and be happy to engage in. The top ones on my list are their dance, action rhymes and music classes. Priced at Rs 1000, Rs 800 and Rs 1000 respectively, each class is

twice a week for 45 minutes. The summer activities will be held till the 17 June. Other activities to choose from are storytelling, creative writing, swimming, skating, art, cursive writing, personality development and horse riding for kids in the age group of 2 to 14yrs. Kids can opt

for a complete package with refreshments and transport facilities at an additional cost.
For details contact Cuddle Kids Play School & Day Care: 0120 2577535. B109/B, Sector 40. Noida

Here in India Easter in traditional Catholic homes is more about the Mass and the Feast and less about Easter bunnies and Easter eggs. But with the advent of television and extensive travelling that our kids do, they are as familiar with Western Easter traditions as

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they are with Halloween. So this Easter, why not humour the kids with a little Easter fun? Plan a treasure hunt and let the kids work up an appetite for the Easter treats.

  1. Choose the place: For small children, organize the hunt inside a home familiar to them. For older children you can organize a hunt both indoors or
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    outdoors but in a familiar environment, your own back or front yard, a home garden or a rooftop are ideal. For pre teens, you could even try an elaborate hunt across a park, colony or even a mall.

  2. Planning clues: The general idea is that the first clue leads in to a location (like a corner, a bookshelf or even the refrigerator), which has a clue leading to another location, and so on until they reach the treasure. The first clue should be easy, and then the clues should increase in difficulty as the hunt goes on. Be creative with the clues but keep in mind the ages of the children so that they are easy to understand. For younger kids, use pictures as clues or make rhymes, like ‘To make your first attack, look behind the show rack”. For older kids, there are more options. You can use riddles or take a close up photo of an object, then have the kids guess what it is and go there.
  3. Make a hunt format: You could split the kids into two teams, and ask them to race to the treasure, or you could have them all go as a group. Consider a treasure hunt involving maps or clues to make it more intriguing. Another option is a “puzzle hunt,” where each clue location has a puzzle piece. At the end, the kids put together the puzzle, carefully flip it over, and the location of the treasure is written on the back. Then they find the ‘treasure’ and share it!
  4. Hiding clues: Decide on the path of the hunt and hide the clues accordingly, remember that the first one will lead the game so you could announce the first clue when you flag off the teams or you could hide it and make even the first clue a part of the hunt. Make the clues easy to find so the hunt runs smoothly.
  5. Finding the treasure: This of course is the best part for kids. Use a box and fill it with goodies like candy, stationary, books, games or toys. Put the treasure in a well hidden spot, and then have the last clue lead

    to it. You cialis 50 ml could decorate the box to look like a treasure chest and make sure there are enough goodies to go around because here everyone who finds the chest is a winner.

Lil Me tee's

How many of us have picked up cutesy slogan T’s on our trips abroad or even as far as Goa for that matter? The choices are few and far between unless you chose from commercial brands that aren’t very original. It’s fun to be gimmicky with the kids and a lot of moms and daughters get to dress

alike but where does that leave poor daddy?

Shilpi actually has the answers to all these queries and quandaries. She is the founder of

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Lil’me Tees and they do something you don’t even have to travel for. They custom make and home deliver slogan Tees for dads and kids (babies too!). The choices are downright funny and pretty tongue in cheek, and Shilpi has promised that she will add to the options on a regular basis. I got us sizes M for daddy and 4-5 years for princess, our Tees read – Gimme Beer and Gimme Milk and we love them! The fabric is sporty and airy which has helped the T-shirt retain its shape after a couple of washes. Both daddy and daughter found them very comfortable. The latest fad that has followed the Lil’Me Tees dress up is cycling together – very, very cute! These tees make great gifts for dads to be and should be a staple on Father’s Day. Nice to see daddys dress up!

Choose from a variety of slogans on their website or you could mail them your own words. Lil’ me Tee’s one liners are sure to bring a smile to the daddy-baby duo wearing the Tees and everyone who walks past them


Summer is over, the kids are back in school, attacking homework, putting aside paintbrushes and shin guards. But that doesn’t mean that the creative  pursuits they went after in the holidays should languish.

Here is a wonderful and highly unusual theatre workshop for kids called Sandbox (that whole idea of digging in and making something out of nothing), that takes place over

a month, three times a week. Run by the inventive and improv-happy Tadpole Repertory, your child will unleash imagination and physicality, and have a blast doing

it. In the words of the organisers, Sandbox is ‘a programme about digging into familiar ideas to build fascinating stories. ’ Theatre workshops have become a dime a dozen, but very few challenge children to expand their limits.

In this programme ‘children use theatre games and improvisation, arts and crafts, and movement, music and voice toexplore fundamental ideas from science, history, geography, and current events. They experience these concepts not only intellectually, but physically, emotionally, imaginatively and personally.’

My friend Mala’s

son has been doing workshops with this group for a few years and he just loves them. To them, the process is as important as the performance at the end – and really- that’s what theatre is all about.

SANDBOX, for 6 – 12 year olds; 29 July – 23 August | every Wednesday, Friday & Sunday

At Ambience First Steps, Hauz Khas Enclave

Call +91 9818407906 or +91 9811392916; or email

Costs Rs. 8000 per child

If like me, you’re the parent of a very young child, you will have undoubtedly discovered the ridiculous ease of online shopping. My debit cards and I are regular visitors on a large variety of shopping sites that range from organic vegetables to fashion, atta-daal monthly rations to kitchen appliances  to, naturally, kidstuff.

When Mummy Knows Best started off, there were literally just a couple of websites for children’s products. Now, the ecommerce revolution has ensured that there is a huge choice, but that can be overwhelming! To help you navigate this space, we’re doing a small series of reviews of online shopping sites for kids.

Starting off, there is WWW.HOPSCOTCH.IN.

Daily sales on this very good site feature everything kid-related, much of it imported from the US and Europe. I have bought onesies, food bowls and silicon spoons, educational and fun toys, shoes, and a few funky kitchen tools from them. They even had a sale of very good strollers – Bugaboos and Mclarens galore, but the delivery time was

too long for me. So the trick is to plan ahead and keep checking for the sales that arerelevant to you.


Price wise it’s mid to high end, but I find the choice of products very diverse, aesthetically sound and the quality very good. When the sales are of Indian-made products, the pricing is actually very competitive. I especially like the clothing: one gets tired of buying from Mothercare, spending fair amount, and then having every other kid in town wearing the same outfits! The user interface is friendly and easy on the eye and the packaging when you receive your courier is not too plasticky or excessive- important things in my book.

Of course, like all online shopping, there are glitches. The good thing is that the Hopscotch team is very approachable and also very quick to sort out your issues should you have any. Also, the delivery time is a bit

long – 3-5 weeks if the products are from out of the country, which can be a bit painful especially if your child is under 1 and when even 3 weeks can mean a substantial change in size.



If you believe in sustainability in your own life, why not bring  it into your children’s lives as well? Here’s a list of ways you can go green with your kids:


Naty: this brand asserts that its diapers (eco-nappies) and wipes are totally biodegradable- 100% eco.

Rustic Arts Laundry: their home made clothes detergent for kids is chemical free and made of a gentle blend of

lemon and neem.











Bumgenius: forget the guilt of environmentally toxic diapers and the old alternative of endless cloth nappies by using this clever system of cloth-based nappy covers with soft

washable inner pads. See our review of this and other brands here

Himalaya Baby products: no parabens or other chemicals, just natural ingredients that are really really good for baby and infant skin and hair (and yours too!)

First Bites: rice, daal, ragi and other baby-friendly first foods, fully organic and with very little sugar content.

These are just some of the things I use, but there are lots of other products you can find around you. Local is the best way to go. Google the nearest organic veggies store, research where you can get farm fresh, organic milk and eggs, and corn-fed chicken. Buy

organic rice, dals and poha. Live clean and let your kids have the benefit of healthy foods and a low carbon footprint too!


Naty- available at Mothercare stores

Rustic Arts Little Laundry- available online at

Bumgenius – available on

Himalaya Products- at any big chemist or department store

First Bites- online at


While looking for summer activities for my

son [2.5yr] and nephew [6.5yr] in Kolkata I came across the KriyaStudio which looks quite different from the run-of-the-mill activity centres. They boast of a completely mirrored dance floor where the dance classes are held, a DJ console, an activity room for crafts, a lounge where the guitar classes are held, a pantry and convenient parking! Read the rest of this entry »

As beautiful and wild as it is, Africa is also different and when I was writing about travel tips for kids I realized that Africa warranted a separate section. This is one place I’d go back to in a heartbeat and so would my son as we both love

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the wild outdoors and animals.

Read the rest of this entry »

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do a Gokulashtami party for her daughter and her friends. We think it’s a great idea!

So here are some ideas that we thought might help her have a fun Gokulashtami/Janmashtami party! Read the rest of this entry »