It’s vacation time and kids are excited about the break from school. While most parents take their kids to a beach or a hill station, for some, engaging kids during the summer vacation is a huge challenge. But fret not— Mansi Zaveri, founder Kidsstoppress.com, a digital platform committed to simplifying parenting, is launching Summer Fun Factory for children across five cities in India including Pune. All that the parents have to do is register themselves and their children for the online programme, which will go live by April 24. The website has also curated listing of summer camps that parents can choose from, to sharpen or build on as a summer skill.
Summer Fun Factory includes agewise challenges based on themes, age and interest of a child. Some of the challenges include themes like Solar Space, Human Body, Animal Kingdom, Money. The Reading challenge includes agewise reading lists for children who can share their stories, reviews and drawings to share on social media. Here are excerpts from an interview with Zaveri:
What is Summer Fun Factory all about and what are the activities that children can take part in as part of the plan?
Summers at Kidsstoppress are always special. This year, we have launched KSP Summer Fun Factory. It helps parents create a workspace for their child for 8 weeks of Summer planners. The activities would help kids build essential summer skills like sports, cycling, swimming, cricket along with a curated summer reading list and lots of fun activities for every age group. These are activities that are filled not to kill time or battle boredom; they also emphasise on free play or unstructured playtime and make sure your child has enough time to unwind. The parents and children who sign up form a close knit group -- all the parents joining in will learn from each other on the highs and lows of working with kids. The platform also empowers children to share their activities, and for them to write book reviews to share with their friends.
How do you ensure that your own children make the most their vacation time?
I definitely want my kids to unwind and go off route during their holidays. We watch some great movies or documentaries together on Netflix. We have a summer reading list for the entire family and ensure that each one of us meets our goals. Children learn by example and we have to give it to them for that. I also encourage my children to have a lot of spare, unstructured time where there is enough room for boredom, so they innovate and create in that time. They spend a lot of time at my workspace helping us with shoots, filing, writing product descriptions or organising. We have created a workspace where kids are most welcome and every member in the team can have their kids at work. It is also important for my girls to see their moms work.
What are some of the activities that kids and parents can do during the summer vacation?
Travel with your kids. It doesn’t matter how small the holiday is. Travel teaches kids more than anything else. Invest time in thinking about your child and what would be a complimentary or primary skill that s/he would like to learn and then the best person to teach that. Subscribe to a summer reading— this is so important even if your child doesn’t read yet, you stay disciplined about reading to him/her. You will discover so many different authors, genres and interests for kids books.
Considering the hot weather, how should activities be planned?
Well the kids must play outdoors but of course work around the timings. Pick a lot of water-based activities in the mornings if you have access to them and stay indoors with the books, board games and cooking in the afternoons. Evenings can be neighbourhood games we all grew up playing like bicycling, hide and seek, chor police, football. Playing a lot of group games and team sports also helps build a child’s social skills. A building playground can be a perfect platform to learn so many life skills such as survival, taking turns, losing, winning, team work, interacting with kids of different ages.
How important is it for kids to leave the gadgets and smartphones and interact, play and create in a group?
Our kids definitely need to be tech savvy but the key word here is being mindful, not mindless. Kids can learn a lot through technology, so I would not put a blanket ban. Playing with other children, adults, interacting with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, all of it is very important. Also it’s very important to have a guide during summer and we definitely feel that KSP Summer Fun Factory can be that guide. If you want to get rid of the side wheels during this holiday season, then we can have fun tips, tricks, videos and experiences from other parents who have done that.