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

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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 to explore 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 lookingglass.tadpole@gmail.com

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 are relevant 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.

www.hopscotch.in

 

 

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 naturalmantra.com

Bumgenius – available on Amazon.in

Himalaya Products- at any big chemist or department store

First Bites- online at Naturalmantra.com

 

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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p>Our preschooler has just walked in to the homework stage of his life. He enjoys doing all the worksheets that are sent home and I suppose this lack of aversion has to do with the fact that the school work is similar to activities in workbooks that he loves and is familiar with. His latest favourite (mine too) is the School Zone’s Grade K Sumer Scholar. Read the rest of this entry »

p>From about the time our son was three years old until recently he believed that HSBC bank is where we get ‘sweets’ from. It was known as the ‘sweet bank’. Read the rest of this entry »

In a recent post I was lamenting the lack of good books for tweens. I have a 12

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by

guest mummy writer Swetha Ramakrishnan

Let’s face it, finding the right present for a child is never easy. Especially if you want to go beyond recycling things your child has received but already has/ doesn’t want! So here’s some inspiration based on personal experience. These are all things my now 5 year old son has received over the years and both of us have enjoyed.

0-3 years: Yes there are literally a million toys available for babies/ toddlers, each one proclaiming their unique qualities in aiding a child’s development. Here are my favourite ones: Read the rest of this entry »