Ideas to make Navratri a lot more fun for kids

Navratri heralds the arrival of the festive season in India and this is one such festival which is celebrated in different ways across the country. Talking to your children about the unique festivities in different states of India during the nine days of Navratri can be a chapter on Indian culture and traditions for them but we found some more interesting ways to make Navratri a lot more fun for the kids.

  • Storytelling – Take thkids through the mythological stories that celebrate the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil. There is no better way to educate your kids about the significance of  Navratri than reading out to them.

  • Diya making – Children across age–groups will enjoy this clay play activity the most. All you need is some clay and colours to mold the diyas. Handmade diyas have a special charm especially if they are made by little hands.

  • Making a Ravana effigy – Dussehra is a culmination of the nine-day Navratri festival and celebrated by burning the effigy of Ravana to signify the victory of good over evil. How about making a Ravana effigy at home using recycled or waste materials? This simple DIY craft activity is a wonderful activity to engage the kids while you are busy with other preparations for the festival.

  • Dandiya making – Kids will enjoy making their own dandiya props. Rolls of old newspapers put together as sticks, once dry, kids can paint them or decorate them in their favourite colours.

  • Navratri printable – A Mata ki chowki in the north, garba dance in Gujarat, Durga Pooja in Bengal and in the south the exhibition of gods called Golu (Click to buy some awesome miniature toys for Golu display), the distinct styles of celebrating Navratri across the various regions of India is the perfect geography & cultural lesson for kids. Take a map of India and ask the kids to place the images of food, clothes, idols in the corresponding region.

Indian festivals provide a good opportunity for parents to introduce children to India’s rich culture and traditions. Let’s make it more fun for kids by involving them in the celebrations.

 

Must have Toys and Games to keep kids engaged

Finding ways to keep the children engaged while you finish those daily chores at home can be a lot of work in itself and finding activities that children can do on their own without adult supervision becomes equally important if you are a working parent.

Well, when it comes to toys, we have your back! Here is a list of some of the best classic toys from ‘Desi Toys’ that kids can play on their own. These toys and games are not just fun but also durable and safe too.

Labyrinth/ Maze/ Swirl/Bada Bhool Bhulaiya

 Handcrafted in Shesham wood, this is a challenging game, as kids need to move all the three balls into the centre of the puzzle. Also this can be a very good game for improving hand-eye coordination  fine motor  skills and concentration in kids.

 

Snake Cube Puzzle/ Ghar Akar brain teaser

Brain teasers like these are a must-have. Offer this to your kids and steal away some time from them to finish your work. This 3″x3″x3″ puzzle is unique and very challenging too.

 

Spinning top/ Lattu

 No matter what age you may be, you will always love the sight of a spinning top and see the colours blend together as the top spins.  Easy to store and carry with each top measuring 3″x1.8″x1.8″. The nail bottom is not very pointed and suitable for kids.

 

Cup and ball/ Cup aur Gola

 This may look simple but getting the ball into the cup requires practice! So if you are having a busy day, this toy is the perfect screen-free entertainment for kids.

 

Solitaire/Buddhijaal/Brainvita

 Solitaire is a challenging game that requires problem-solving tactics. There is truly no more attractive and easy way to play this game than with the Indian Handmade Wooden Marble Solitaire Set from ‘Desi Toys’. Bring home your very own Handmade.

 

 

 

3 in one puzzle set/Teen Paheli

 This puzzle set is much loved not just by kids but parents too! Solve this puzzle to de-stress and challenge your kids to practice problem solving skills and patience!

 

While there are endless ways to encourage kids to play on their own, every toy listed above guarantees gadget-free, creative and independent play not just for children but for the parents too! So go ahead and give them a try! Shop from www.desitoys.in

 

 

 

Importance of skill based toys for children

Children learn as they playMost importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” – O.Fred Donaldson.

Now that we know that playing is important for children, here is another key factor that plays a big role in making playtime more meaningful for children and that is the choice of toys which you buy for them. Yes! Toys can be more than just fun and games for kids. If chosen wisely toys can offer a great opportunity for children to develop early childhood skills.

Well, there are a variety of toys available in the market to choose from, here are 5 reasons why you should choose a skill-based toy over any other toy for your child:

  • Skill based toys help develop gross motor & fine motor skills: These are the first set of skills that a child develops in the initial years. Gross motar skills refers to the ability to make movements like rolling, crawling, jumping, running, balancing in different positions, walking in a straight line and following objects. Toys like activity mats, push and pull toys, wooden blocks, shape sorters, puzzles, stacking toys are some of the toys designed to help children develop and work on their gross and fine mortar skills.

 

 

  • Skill based toys work on soft skills of your child: As per google, soft skills is a sociological term relating to a person’s ‘EQ’ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient). In simple words, it refers to teaching kids how to share, how to work in a team, how to make friends, how to respond to a particular situation, how to deal with their emotions, etc. In fact, social skills for kids are ongoing life lessons. Toys such as board games, pretend play sets like puppets, sports games, building blocks are all versatile toys that apart from helping to strengthen other areas of development, provide an outlet for children to work together, share and communicate to complete a goal or task thereby working on their social skills.

 

 

 

  • Skill based toys help improve cognitive skills: Strategy board games, Memory games, card games are tools to help your child develop cognitive skills such as problem-solving, logical thinking, sequencing and how to make decisions. These are important life skills that can be developed by choosing the right toy for your children.

 

https://www.desitoys.in/puzzles/Solitaire-brainvita.html

 

 

 

4)Skill based toys can also help develop creative skills: Drawing sets, playing with colours, playdough, DIY kits are toys that work on your child’s imagination and help them think creatively using different textures and mediums.

 

 

5) Skill based toys can be used to promote early literacy skills in children: Picture books, flashcards, storytelling kits, number construction sets are the best toys that help your child to recognize alphabet, numbers and set the foundation for developing their vocabulary skills early on.

 

 

While choosing a skill-based toy is surely a good way to help your child learn while he/she plays and develop essential childhood skills, it is also important that you as a parent spend good quality time and play with them, as for a parent that is definitely one of the best ways to bond with child and to relive childhood days!

You may also like reading our post on ‘Your Time is the best gift you can give to your kids, Here’s Why!

 

Create an everlasting bond with your kid this Mother’s Day

Motherhood is never easy. Ask any mother and she’ll tell you why. A mother’s love for her child is unconditional and so we know. However, in this era, it is not only the man who works, but the female who is just as occupied as or maybe even more active than the man. At such times, parents find it difficult to spend quality time with their children as they’re already caught up with so many other things. It is said that the presence of both, the mother and father is important to the growth of the child. We completely agree to this. Nevertheless, it is also true that a mother’s touch is extremely crucial to the child’s mental growth and well-being.

Dear mothers, we understand that you might not be able to spend all your hours with your child. However, here are a few ways that can help you bond with your child, this mother’s day.

Mother kissing her child. Pic Credits - blogger
                                          Mother kissing her child. Pic Credits – blogger

Be there whenever you can

The initial stages of a child’s growth are very important. The first three or four years of your child’s life in particular are the formative years when your child’s brain is rapidly developing, making connections and forming patterns that will last a lifetime. This doesn’t mean you have to be there 24/7, but you must try to spend as much time as you can with your child, so your child knows you are there. Try and make the time to incorporate the child into your world. For example, if your children are young, let them play with toys and games while you go do other chores. Take your kids shopping and if they’re old enough, ask them to check off things on your list. Try bonding with your kids as much as possible. Every moment in the process is going to count. The quantity as well as the quality of time spent together is what truly matters.

Mother and her daughter spending time together. Pic Credit - societycentral.ac.uk
Mother and her daughter spending time together. Pic Credit – societycentral.ac.uk

Read to your child

Believe it or not, children love when someone reads to them. Listening to the person they love reading out to them is a cherry on the cake. The physical closeness of sitting next to you or being held in your lap is what they love. This will enable them to share full attention in the activity with you. Reading also improves their intellectual skills and helps in their language development. It is something they’ll remember while going up.

Mother Reading to her child. Pic Credits - Hollywood Bangla News
                     Mother Reading out to her child. Pic Credits – Hollywood Bangla News

Play with your child

We all know what children love doing the most. Imagine how much better it would be, if we did what they love the most with them. Play is an important part of their childhood. Engage in games like chess and other traditional Indian board games if your child is a little older. This will not only compensate for their play time, but will also make them sharper by improving their brain, eye and hand co-ordination.  Infants and kids that are under the age of 5 can be given rattles to play with. Desi Toys has a collection of beautiful rattle toys in gorgeous colours that your child will love.

Nurture good communication

The non-verbal cues, the way you gaze into your child’s eyes can tell him a lot about your feelings. Talk to your children in a soothing tone and with a calm mind. Children tend to pick up the way you talk to them. Talk to your child as much as you can. Ask them questions frequently and remember to listen to them and make positive comments. Making eye contact lets your child know you are present. Most of all, tell them that you love them. The more you tell them, the better it is. Love them as much as you can, but also correct them when needed.

Mother playing with her children. Pic Credits - ScoopWhoop
                          Mother playing with her children. Pic Credits – ScoopWhoop

This Mother’s day, don’t let them just wish you, let them hug you and feel your love. If you haven’t done it yet, do it now. It’s better late than never!

4 Easy steps to inculcate the habit of saving in your kids.

Demonetisation has got everybody talking about the money, savings, and other financial issues. We are not experts to judge whether the move is good or bad, but that highlights the importance of financial awareness.

Predicting the right age for children to get introduced to financial issues is a little tricky. However, as per the child’s growth and learning, we suggest that parents should make their child understand the importance of saving money from the age of 6-7 years.

This can be a very difficult situation to handle because kids at this particular age generally don’t listen to anyone and throw tantrums. But here we are suggesting 4 easy steps which will help you to inculcate the habit of saving in your kids.

  1. Start by telling them the stories and through the stories.

Whenever you’re explaining any complicated subject to your kid, you need to go to their level of understanding certain things. That’s why parents should narrate related stories to their kids which will make them understand how important saving is, in our case – saving money is. For example – Ant & the Grasshopper and Crow & Pebbles, etc.

2. Give them pocket money

Children need to earn their own pocket money. Parents should engage them into doing small household chores and should also reward them for the same. This will not only motivate your kid to earn money but will also help them to value it more and use it carefully.

3. Gift them a piggy bank

Having a cute little piggy bank will encourage the kids to save some amount of money. It will create an excitement for saving money.

4. Assign a budget plan for them

When we used to go to the college, we had our own pocket money and a budget set. Getting any additional allowance was not easy. That’s why it was impossible to cross the limit. Explain this concept to make them understand how to set a budget. This will help them to manage their own savings.

 

Tips to take care of your wooden toys

For us, toys are not just the objects. We have our sweet memories attached to them. And the feelings that our loved ones have shared with us on those gifting occasion. Even though wooden toys are sturdy, over the years of extensive use, they might get ruined. It’s important to take good care of them so they retain their charm. Also, cleaning the toys is important from the hygiene point of view. Kids share the toys with their friends and can carry germs and bacteria. Regular cleaning will help avoid it.

Wooden toys. Image credits - pbs.twimg.com
Wooden toys. Image credits – pbs.twimg.com

Here are some tips that can come handy while taking care of the wooden toys –

  1. Never put wooden toys in the water; to clean or otherwise. Even if the wood is finished well and coated with a thick layer of colour, the wood can soak up the water can gradually lead to cracks. Instead, you can just wipe them with wet cloth or brush.
  2. While drying the toys, do not leave them in a direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause the colours to fade and long exposure to the sunlight and air might damage the wood.
  3. Wood is porous, so always clean the wooden toys by spraying the solution on them, wiping them with a cloth and then letting those air dry in a shade. Below mentioned are some cleaning solutions you can make at home to clean the toys-

a. Vinegar

Mix water and vinegar, both in an equal quantity and store it in a spray bottle. Clean the wooden toys using this spray. It’s okay if you don’t clean the toys with water again but make sure they are dried well before using them to play.

b. Bleach

Mix bleach and water in 1:10 ratio and pour the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray this on a cloth and use it to clean the wooden toys. But beware, bleach is toxic. So clean the toys with water without fail, after wiping with the bleach solution. let the toys dry completely before letting the kids use them again.

c. Mild soap

Use any mild soap (baby shampoo, anti-bacterial liquid etc) with water and wipe down the toys using this solution. Do not let the residue stay on the toy. So wipe them clean before putting to play again. It’s better if the soap solution has a nice fragrance.

4. The wood has natural moisture in it and it needs to be replenished. Otherwise, it might develop cracks if it gets dry. You can retain the moisture by polishing the toys using natural oils or wax. If you’re using wax, make sure it’s non-toxic variant. Natural oils are always better. Keep the oil so long that it gets time to soak up in the wood.

5. If there are any rough / sharp / broken edges on a toy, smooth them out using a sandpaper so that it doesn’t hurt the kids.

We know you love your age old toys as much as we do. So above was a little helping hand from us to take care of those better. If you love traditional Indian toys, visit www.desitoys.in. We’re sure you’ll love it.

Hopscotch – A Fun Game Played With Little Equipment

Traditional Indian games have always had a great emphasis on four things- simplicity, ease, very less equipment to play, and a team spirit. One of such easy to play games is Hopscotch.

Hopscotch. Image by - indahajip.blogspot.in
Hopscotch. Image by – indahajip.blogspot.in

When we dive a little in history, it’s found that ancient form of Hopscotch was played and first recorded references were found in late 17th century in English-speaking world. It was generally called “scotch-hop” or “scotch-hopper(s)”. Francis Willughby has compiled a manuscript of games in 1635-1672. He refers to the game as Scotch Hopper.

As it is seen that the game was already popular and mentioned in the 17th-century literature, it is possible that the game must have existed a few decades or centuries before that. Though, there’s no solid proof yet.

This game requires very few things to start with – a flat ground, chalk or chalk powder and a flat stone/ piece of tile (sometimes coins are used too.)

Girls playing hopscotch in the street Date: 1897 Source: unnamed artist in 'Bubbles', Dr Barnardo's magazine, 1897

Girls playing hopscotch in the street Date: 1897 Source: unnamed artist in ‘Bubbles’, Dr.  Barnardo’s magazine, 1897

In India, this game is more popular and played by girls though boys also participate sometimes. Just like every other game, India has various terms for this game too. It is called Kit- Kit in the Hindi-dominated region, Ek-Haat-Du-Haat in Bangla, Chipri in Maharashtra, Kunte Bille in Karnataka, Nondi in Tamilnadu, & Tokkudu Billa in Andhra Pradesh.

The motive behind this game was to gather together, enjoy the togetherness with your friends, and have fun while having a physical activity that refreshes your mind – the things that kids are missing nowadays due to overuse of indoor digital games. Desi Toys intend to bring back the joy of Indian games to the kids. You can check our other traditional Indian games here – www.desitoys.in

5 Easy DIY ideas for kids to try this summer vacation

Parents are often confused about the activities to be planned for kids in their vacations. There are so many hobby classes, outings, camps, etc that it’s hard to make up the mind. On the other hand, the parents feel that the kids should also have some free time rather than keeping them busy. However, summer vacations are the best time when your kids can explore their creative side along with all the other activities. And who says being creative always takes a lot of money and efforts? Here are some easy DIY craft ideas that kids can try at home and add a touch of art to the home.

  1. Ice cream sticks ballerinas

Made from candy sticks, paper, decorative thread, and cupcake lining papers, these are the homemade version of dolls that can also be doubled up as bookmarks!

Popsicle sticks ballerina DIY, Image by - gluedtomycraftsblog.com
Popsicle sticks ballerina DIY, Image by – gluedtomycraftsblog.com

2. Paper plate animal faces

Cut, Paste, Paint, and you’re done. These are so easy and fun to make that even the parents can’t resist joining their kids in creating these. Here’s a giraffe face in the picture, however, you can also make cat, mouse, fish, and much more.

Paper plate Giraffe. Image by - sassydealz.com
Paper plate Giraffe. Image by – sassydealz.com\

3. Straw Rockets

Does your kid fancy skies and aeroplanes? Then here’s a first DIY you should help him make. Just using some straws, thick paper, colours, and glues, you can make these delightful rockets that can be kept on your kids’ study table.

Straw rockets. Image by - buggyandbuddy.com
Straw rockets. Image by – buggyandbuddy.com

4. Bottle base art

A quick and easy, yet very beautiful idea to make the gift cards, and projects more creative. Just take some thick colour in a plate and dip the base of the bottle. (use the bottle that doesn’t have a flat base. Preferably Coke or Sprite) Stamp it on the paper and you have the pretty flowers!

Bottle base art. Image by procraftideas.com
Bottle base art. Image by procraftideas.com

5. Popsicle sticks photo-frame

What’s the use of those cute pictures of your kids if they’re just in your phones? Take a print and frame those in these DIY popsicle stick photo frames. All you need is some glue and colours to make it more beautiful and vibrant.

Popsicle stick Photo Frame. Image by - 2.bp.blogspot.com
Popsicle stick Photo Frame. Image by – 2.bp.blogspot.com

The DIY ideas mentioned above are easy to make and completely safe for the kids; just like the complete range of products at Desitoys. You can check more here – www.desitoys.in

Happy Crafting!

Saapseedi – An Easy Traditional Game with a Deep Life Lesson

There will be hardly anyone who hasn’t played Snakes & Ladders in their childhood. The entire afternoon or long sunny days of summer vacation would fly away in such a short time while playing this interesting board game. We probably still remember the colour of those snakes, ladders, and the dice. But very little we know that apart from the excitement and fun, Saapseedi imparted an important life lesson in a very lucid way.

Snakes & Ladders originated in ancient India and was called Moksha Patam and now is a very popular board game around the world. This game is based on luck and while it was originated, it was rooted in the moral lessons. The one who reaches the top square first (the hundredth block) is the winner and it represents the person’s journey in life that is a mixture of virtues, good deeds, and problems / vices represented by ladders and snakes respectively.

Unlike the other traditional Indian board games like Pachisi or Chaupat that had a mixture of skills, dexterity, and luck; Saapseedi only focused on the luck part stating that life only depends on your karma and no amount of skills or intelligence can save you from your fate. It also describes the Indian concept of Moksha (Eternal Salvation) – where you are free from the cycle of life and death. Here, the top square represents Moksha. I.e. if the deeds are good, the person will attain moksha easily and if he has any vices, he will be dragged down time and again and will have to start from the square one! If noticed closely, it can be seen that number of snakes is more than the number of ladders, which denoted that the right path is full of obstacles and hardships.

Warli design Saapseedi by Desi Toys
Warli design Saapseedi by Desi Toys

Inspired by the above concept, a similar game was created in Victorian England in around 1890. It was used as a medium to teach the results of good and bad deeds. This board used to have symbolic images to represent the divine beings (angels, gods, cherubs) , mere mortals (animals, humans, flowers), and the vices (snakes).

Isn’t it wonderful to know that how Indians subtly combined the reality of life in a simple game; inculcating the wisdom to the players while offering the fun times to the players. You can know more about more such toys at www.desitoys.in.

6 Things that will Bring Back Your Memories of Indian Summer Vacations

There’s at least one day in a summer where we remember our good old summer vacations. Here are some things that make us miss it more –

Ice Golas / Kulfi treats

Ice gola post lunch. Image by - images2.sina.com
Ice gola post lunch. Image by – images2.sina.com

Apart from the yummy home-cooked meal made with a warmth of love, the post-lunch times were special because of the ‘golawala’ / ‘kulfiwala’ who used to arrive late afternoon on his cycle or a pull-cart. Everyone had their favourite flavor, kala khatta being the favourite! We used to save all the change for this icy treat.

Mangoes

mangoes in summers Image By V Avinash Rao
mangoes in summers Image By V Avinash Rao

Undoubtedly, summers were made festive because of mangoes. As kids, we never had to worry about the few extra calories that these golden, yummy dollops of joy gave to us. We didn’t need fancy desserts or milkshake, just the fruits would do! The slurps would stain our clothes, marking the celebration of summer vacation at granny’s home.

Cousin fights

Fight with cousins Image by obekti.bg

It used to be a time when all the cousins would gather and stay together, and no wonder if there were no quarrels and fights, sometimes, a little more than that. But all would settle down after a scolding from the elders and toffees to everyone! (Or an ice cream) Easier times, right?

Long dips in the sea / river / wells

Dips in the well & river. Image by c2.staticflickr.com
Dips in the well & river. Image by c2.staticflickr.com

The surefire way to beat the Indian summer heat! Our uncle or a grandpa used to take us to the sea, or a nearby river or a well behind the house and we could enjoy for hours! This was the time when many of us learned swimming.

Grandparents’ stories

Grandma's stories. Image by - blog.dinamani.com
Grandma’s stories. Image by – blog.dinamani.com

The time after dinner was reserved for the grandparents’ interesting stories – from mythology, fairytales, family anecdotes, they had so many things to share and we could never get enough of it. We learned so much from those stories, the witty ideas, and the morals. We still haven’t forgotten those, have we?

Fun filled games

Gilli-DandaImage by trollntroll.com
Gilli-DandaImage by trollntroll.com

The part that occupied most of the summer vacations – the traditional games we played in the village home. Right from Gilli Danda, Hopscotch, to the card games in the afternoon and late night. All the games were so much fun that we never miss a chance to play those if we find a chance now!

We should be very thankful indeed for all these little things that made our childhood memorable before the technology took over!