Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Some Games for the lil ones enjoyment

1. A Book that shows Nature:

I would love to go for a nature walk with my preschooler Aankhi and while on our walk, we would collect leaves, stones, flowers and bark, etc. I would probably let her pick up different objects that represent the nature in my area and put one of each nature item in a small freezer bag and seal, label each bag with a marker pen (for example, "Yellow flower").

Tape the bottom side of all four bags together with coloured masking tape. So here's a book where Aankhi reads and "opens" or unzips the pages. This would help in building her vocabulary and reading skills,and also learn about all the different trees and flowers in the surrounding.

2. Paper Tennis Racket with Balloon Balls:

This is a simple yet fun balloon activity that is sure to bring out the tennis star in your little one! Take small paper plates and tape them to the ends of wooden sticks to create your tennis "rackets". Blow up a balloon for the "ball". Use a skipping rope to divide the "court" in half and see how many times you can volley the balloon across the line before it hits the ground. You can also use the plate racket to keep the balloon aloft or you can play a tennis game of doubles or triples, depending on how many children there are.

3. Animal Freeze Dance

You can play this with or without a song. Pick an animal and say: "Dance like a rabbit!" After a little while say: "Freeze." Then stop moving and call out another animal to imitate. Between animals say: "Freeze."

You can take turns with your child picking different animals to imitate. Pick animals that cover a variety of movements such as frogs, snakes, monkeys, elephants - or even dinosaurs!

This activity teaches children to listen to directions and encourages imagination.

4. Homemade Twister

Create your own twister game for you and your family! Get coloured construction paper and tape it to the floor. Then, make small cards to pull out at random to give the directions. So your child can call out the directions himself, you can simply draw either a hand or a foot and colour it the appropriate colour. For example, when your child selects a card with a yellow hand, he can easily interpret that he should put his hand on a yellow square. For more advanced children, you can add a "right" or "left" into the instructions.

5. Sink Soak

 This will keep your little one busy for a long time. Fill the kitchen or bathroom sink with some water. Then give your child plastic cups, spoons, and jugs to play with. She'll have a splashing good time! You may want to put her in a short-sleeved t-shirt so she doesn't get too wet. Make sure she's standing on a sturdy stool too.

6. Complete the sentence and repeat

This is a good memory game for car journeys, restaurants, or anywhere that requires you to sit still. One person starts the game by saying, "I'm going to the beach and I'm going to bring my..." Fill in the blank with anything you want, "flip flops", for example.

The next person then repeats the first line and adds another item, "I'm going to the beach and I'm going to bring my flip flops and my sun lotion".

Play continues around the group with each person repeating the items mentioned and adding their own at the end. Each player must begin with the phrase "I'm going to the beach..." and must list all items in the correct order. The game starts over when someone forgets an item or gets the order wrong.

It's also fun to change the opening line. Instead of the beach you can go to the park, the market, grandma's house, or wherever you choose.

7. Indoor Picnic

For those long winter days when you can't get outside, your little one will love having an indoor picnic. Your child can help you pack up a basket full of food. Together, you can then lay out a tablecloth or a sheet on the floor and put out plates and silverware. Then sit down and enjoy a wonderful picnic together. For extra fun, imagine all of the things that you see around you, things that you would have seen had you been having an outdoor picnic.

8. Eat the colors

Encourage your little one to eat fruit and show off her knowledge of colours. Cut up a fruit salad with strawberries, blueberries, oranges, grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi etc. Then call out, "Eat something red... eat something orange". She'll love picking out the correct fruit and eating it. You can try this with vegetables, too.

9. Giggle Belly

1. One player must lie down on his back. The next player lies down with her head resting on the first player's belly and the next player lies down with his head on the second player's belly. Arrange all the players until everyone is zigzagged across the floor, each with his or her head on someone else's belly (if possible, make the line into a loop so that the last player can put her head on the first player's belly).

2. Then, the first player shouts, loud and clear, "Ha!" The second player responds with a vigorous, "Ha, ha!" then the third player chimes in, "Ha, ha, ha!" Continue until all players have shouted out their "Has" or (more likely) have dissolved into uncontrollable laughter, with heads bouncing on the bellies of giggling friends, uncles, cousins or grandmothers.

10. Guess the toy

Play "I Spy" with your child using a selection of small action figures, balls, stocking fillers and items received in party bags.

Spread them out and take turns giving hints about the toy you're spying.

"I spy something you wear on your face." (Sunglasses)
"I spy something round." (A bouncy ball)

11. Body Paint

Paint your Body with all colors you want :)

12. Creating Collages

Gather a stack of old magazines and catalogues. Choose a theme with your child and go on a hunt for pictures connected to the theme (food, farm, family, animals, seaside, etc.). Cut out any pictures you find related to the theme. You can then spend time classifying and sorting the pictures (for example, for food, sort by food groups or by vegetables and meats or by meals). You can count the pictures and talk about what pictures you didn't find. Once you've finished sorting, glue all pictures down on a piece of construction paper to create a collage and a great poster for your child's room.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Guess its better to be content to excel :)

As kids we always enjoyed every moment in our lives. We were so happy with only one channel in TV, very few toys to play with, eating food cooked at home by our very own expert cook called Ma :)... The list can go on and on of the limited choice that we had and still we were so content and happy. Yes we belonged to an age where things were few but options were many. I don't remember getting bored as a kid as I had so many things to do in life.

As I grew and started to take my own decisions, started having ambitions, started setting goals for myself and started dreaming big, I started feeling the pressure. A pressure created by me for my own self. I started having expectations, from myself. The reason can be many - may be peer pressure or the pressure of the ever increasing competitive environment, or it might be because I had set some goals and ambitions for myself which had very strict deadlines. I kept running in this track for long. I appreciated my achievements, grieved at my failures and learnt from my mistakes but kept going, We all do and there is just nothing special about me. I saw people who were achieving more that me in their career and always analysed their achievements versus mine and tried to draw a conclusion as to why they were there and I was not. I also analysed people from whom I thought I was doing better and felt proud about it. I made deadline for myself, deadlines for salaries, deadlines to reach certain positions in career, deadlines for creating assets, deadlines for growing and kept analyzing myself. Sometimes I wondered whether I was competing with myself or with my peers? Sometimes I wondered where would it lead me to? Sometimes I was excited to do it all and get it all.. Sometimes I would be laid back and would want to give up everything and go away somewhere. Sometimes I laughed at the journey so far, sometimes the memories made me cry for various reasons.

In midst of all this, life went on and I completed schooling, then graduated, started working, got married and now I have beautiful daughter. I changed companies, I stayed in many places in India and few places abroad. As I said, I always had some expectations from myself and I either outperformed or under performed the goals I has set for myself. I never performed satisfactorily according to my self appraisal policies, which resulted in a all new battle of goals and deadlines and tasks. The whole cycle would be repeated and it just went on. And this is what the quotes on success say don't they? There's no stopping, we have to overlook failures, learn from them and keep going until we reach success.

At all times in my life, whenever I achieved something, as I said I created a whole new set of goals and started again, until one day when I questioned myself, "And then what? Till what point would I be running this rat race and what's the end to it?" Then, I pondered and gave it a thought, which made me realize a very interesting fact about my very own life. Success was always achieved but never realized as the concept of being content was not in my dictionary. I was just accelerating and breaking when necessary, I was never breaking at will to enjoy the destination reached.This time I decided to pull the hand gear of life, at every signal, at every coffee shop, at every destination as per my goals. Not because it was the end of my aspirations or ambitions, but because I wanted to enjoy every phase to celebrate every goal achieved and understand the fact that - every road crossed, every hurdle met was a success and I should be content with what I just achieved.

This doesn't mean I set no goals for myself now. This doesn't mean I set no deadlines for those goals. I do. All I do post this is, celebrate what I have,  analyze the achievement and its effect on me, analyze the next set of goals and tasks in mind and then set the goals if and only if I feel its worth it. Not influenced by the environment, not influenced by my peers, not influenced by what others think is right for me, I choose to walk the path that gives me a sense of fulfillment. I don't care if people thought I was a fool to take a certain decision, I don't even feel like giving it a thought. I do what I think is right for me and before doing that I definitely seek advice from people who matter to me.

Not that I am the most successful person and doing extremely well and better than everyone in life. But I claim to have found the way to be successful because I define my successes and failures without worrying about the world. I have decided to be content and celebrate the achievements for a while before moving on to the next. I have decided to be happy about the achievements that I make given my current situation and not compare myself with anyone. Ultimately success is what makes me happy and if an achievement cannot make me happy then that is not success for me. If I am unhappy because my mind thinks someone else is doing better than me in life then I am a failure as I am comparing myself with someone in whose shoes I have never walked. And more importantly I am who I am and I cannot be compared to anyone not even to my siblings :)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Are we working just for pocket money???

After having spent so many years as a working professional, I have seen a common mentality among few people that women/girls work just for their pocket money and they have an option of quitting to work any day. I don't know if all my female friends would agree to this or not, but I have been hearing this statement many times by different people, at different places of work and at different situations.

When I joined work as a fresher, I heard few people saying "Sohini, you have a choice of quitting after marriage, anyway your husband would be earning right". Once I got married I heard the same thing about having an option to quit post having children. Now that I have a child and still continue to work, and sometimes discuss about the issues in getting a help at home for taking care of the baby while I am away, or if at times I am irritated with my boss, or I don't like some policies in office, I hear the same old sentence "Sohini, you have an option to quit, but we cant do that". And all this from some of my male colleagues to be precise.

I am not sure of the reason for making such a sentence by anyone but I am surely not in favor of hearing such a thing at every step. Being a female doesn't snatch away the right of being career oriented. Being married and having children doesn't take away the right to aim high in your career. Just because my husband is working, it doesn't take away my right to have a professional ambition in life and gives me an option to quit any day. If I have a problem with a person in office or the office as a whole I have an option to join a different one which suits my professional as well as personal requirements and ambitions, but quitting to work is definitely never in my wish list.  I believe in doing what I love and letting people do what they love.

I am sure all the lovely ladies who decide to be home makers are doing so because they love doing it. If at times, they are irritated because they have too many things to do at home, how many of you would go and tell them anyway your husband is there to take care of the household chores so you have an option to quit doing these?Or for that matter, many of my friends who are working, have to go back home and do everything on their own, and when they are tired and worn out after work, how many of you go and tell her that anyway you have your husband so you have the option of quitting to do all these any day, he will take care.

I guess what lacks here is the respect for the gender female in the minds of many. Yes I agree its a taboo to believe that the Male earns the bread and Butter and the Female takes care of the house. But people don't you think we have come a long way from all these and we have explored a lot? So having such thoughts not only makes you look like an idiot in front of many but shows how inferior you feel when you compare yourselves with the female counterpart who is able to manage both with the same efficiency and without complaints. :)