While summer classes are de rigueur today, the last few years have seen a gradual shift from the art and craft classes to exploring wilderness and hands-on science.
There are established players like Rangashankara that specialise in arts and theatre, and conducting classes for nearly eight years which are still popular with parents and children.
Uma Bharath, mother of a 10-year-old daughter who is attending Rangashankara classes, believes that workshops which are rooted in the Indian context or are truly multicultural, will help improve her child’s understanding of her own country or another’s.
Many of the classes still give your child an option to just chill out, practice sketching and painting and doing some small craft project to take home. Many neighbourhood play schools like Eurokids and Geniekids offer this option.
Newer startups like Cloud Mentor, an incubation platform for the future inventors and architects, are offering interesting courses like Magic engineering and music science. There are camps that introduce children to concepts of robotics, understanding the innards of a car, applying mathematics to real life, the engineering behind gadgets etc.
Some parents do use summer to help their child catch up on academics or brush up their math skills. For them, there are classes like Helping hands which holds classes for the under performers, UC Mas which teaches mental arithmetics with the help of abacus. Kidz N Brainz which teaches vedic maths and accountancy.
There are some who like to use the opportunity to get the children learn shlokas and stories from the Puranas in the absence of grandparents in today’s nuclear families. Just 4 u summer camp teaches shlokas to the children.
Summer is also a great time for kids to get out in the open especially if parents are willing to send them to outside-the-city camps. Gerry Martin’s nature camps have been popular with parents for many years. Frolic Boonies holds outdoor camps that include mountaineering, river rafting and other such adventure sports.
Nivedita from Frolic Boonies summer camp says, "we make sure we have a combination of adventure, fun and wildlife related activities that all kids will enjoy. Some of the attractions are Stream fishing, Bamboo rafting and bird watching this time."
If you are not comfortable sending your child to the wilderness, they can always use the summertime to focus on sports. Chinmaya Sports Academy, YISA, Bangalore Tennis Academy, BTM Roller Skating Club and Horse Riding Stables, train in sports like cricket, skating, football, horse riding, tennis and basketball. BUFC specialises in football coaching summer camps for both boys and girls.
Then there are some who don’t believe in subscribing to summer camps at all. Urgita Lolla, a mother of nine and eleven year old children, is absolutely against children getting up early morning during vacations. She says, "I prefer children should get up late and be lazy for that particular period. I rather they be allowed to do whatever they can do at home by providing something with the money I would spend on summer camps."⊕
Whatever happened to catching up with cousins at grandma’s place?
All we did was play cricket at home, then get packed off to grandma’s place for a few days and play more cricket there with cousins and their neighbours. Once that gets boring, there were always those hand-me-down Enid Blyton books to catch up on.