As a child, I would visit my grandparents house in Trivandrum for the summer vacations. And unlike most city children these days, I didn’t go to any summer camp. This is something I’ve never regretted because I always had fun in the sun, up in my tree house, in a park, or at a museum. As art and culture entered my life, my interests expanded. Summer became the perfect time to paint and read.
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For those parents who are currently playing host to their children on account of summer vacations, here are some fun family activities that you and your child can engage in.
Draw inspiration from art
If love for art is something you share with your child, pay a visit to the National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA) on Palace Road. The museum, set up at the Manikyavelu Mansion, a heritage building known for its architectural beauty, is home to many paintings by Indian artists. You could also stroll down the Namma Metro boulevard on MG Road and treat your child to the art featured at the open galleries in Rangoli Metro Art Centre. Simpler still, identify the galleries closest to your home, and make a trip of it. Once you are back home, hand over some art materials to your child and ask him/her to draw inspiration by reminiscing about the day that went past.
For drama, visit a theatre like Ranga Shankara which showcases plays almost every day of the week. Ranga Shankara’s Summer Express offers a series of workshops for children. You can also watch plays at Chowdiah Memorial Hall, KH Kala Soudha or Jagriti Theatre. Dhaatu Puppet Theatre uses the age-old art of puppetry to tell stories in a new light. If you are having a family get-together, guide the young ones to try their hand at a production with their cousins and friends, and wow the family.
Find them birds
Drive out to one of the beautiful, tree-laden areas surrounding Bengaluru. You could hike and spend your time bird-watching, armed with a good set of binoculars and a book about birds of the area. The exercise and the time spent in nature can be supplemented with art–taking pictures or drawing the various creatures and trees that you spot. Nandi Hills is a good place for a hike or a cycling trip. The huge monolithic rock at Savandurga or the grasslands at Hessarghatta make for adventurous picnic spots. Closer to home, you can spend some time at Lalbagh or Cubbon Park. If you have a neighbourhood park, encourage you child to play there with friends and take turns watching them with other parents.
For the science fiend
Look out for day-long events like a trip to Bannerghatta National Park or a visit to Visvesvaraya Museum to give your child a taste of different experiences. Other museums like the Government Museum display many treasures from the days of yore. The HAL Aerospace Museum is a must-visit for any child with an interest in aviation.
For budding science enthusiasts, visit the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium. They have day-long workshops and screenings about the universe which will open up the galaxy for your child. With the Science and Children’s Park right outside, your child is sure enjoy a visit or two. Technology buffs will also enjoy the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park.
Considering Bengaluru has an active and eco-conscious community, no harm in ensuring that your child is exposed to their ways starting now, at the many open street events that are held across the city. Find out when and where the upcoming edition of Cycle Day or Lake Day is happening. With street games, interesting workshops, nature walks and more, your child is sure to have a great time. You could also make a day trip to the next edition of Soul Santhe or the eco-friendly Green Bazaar.
Art in all its forms
A few evenings at Atta Galatta can spark an interest in drama as well as story-telling, writing, or even film. Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, NGMA, and Shoonya Studio offer various events across the year–drama, story-telling, drawing, music sessions and more. A word of caution, not all events at these spaces are appropriate for children, so do check what is on offer for the day before you get there.
An older recreational space for children is the beloved Bal Bhavan in Cubbon Park. There is the not just the amusement park, but the Vijayaranga Theatre situated inside the park organises children’s film shows and theatre performances, and the Doll Museum displays figures from all over the world.
Getting creative at home
While it may be difficult for you to free up weekdays, there are a host of activities that you could propose, to engage your child, right within the premises of your home.
Encourage them to write a story, and free up some quiet time for yourself.
Enjoy time cooking or baking with your child.
Try out a new board game or make one up with your child; let their imagination reign free.
Get them to pitch in with the spring cleaning
Plan a summer suited to all of your child’s interests and leave some time free for road trips too! While you are bound to put your child’s interests first, it is important to make sure that you factor for time for yourself as well. This will also give your child scope to become independently creative.
Do share your suggestions for family-friendly fun in the comments section. Enjoy the summer months with your family before school gets in the way once again!