EDUCATIONAL APP: KIDLOLAND REVIEW 

With the change in time and technology the way we bring up our kids have also changed. So while at our times excess of TV  was a matter of concern now excess of gadgets like mobile , tablets is a concern. While in our times our parents exercised control over television time and counselled us to watch Discovery, History and Natgeo, now we have many options for our kids to make their screen time more effective and learning and change the lost game into a win by educational apps and excercising moderation.

One of the applications that I am going to review today is Kidloland. 


My son is 2 yrs old and has been exposed to screen time since he was 20 months. He has a fixed timmimg for screen either mobile or television.We don’t watch television so most of the time it’s something that he watches on net but on TV.Only during traveling I allow him a little more liberty and little more of screen time apart from keeping him busy with his activities. This time while I was travelling alone with him I wanted an app which would be more of his activity then just plain viewing and that is when I tried Kidloland.

This app has endless options to keep the little ones busy without compromising on the learning aspect .What I liked most about this app is the age appropriate content.The settings has the option and you can choose the age you want your kid to view the content for. 


The puzzles and the chomping monsters are baby N’s favourite he would simply browse and open the puzzle to feed the hungry chomping monsters. He would make donuts , hamburger by solving the puzzle and simply say eat donuts hungry monster. This has been one of the best development in the last month where he has learnt to frame sentences on his own and this app has helped in improving his vocabulary .


Other than puzzles the app has some very interesting early learning games, flash cards ,songs to make them learn numbers, vegetables etc.Again one of the things that baby N loves is the Collection of universe songs which has 


The sun song which teaches about sun, the moon song about moon similarly a star song about stars. 

The planet songs teaches about the planets and their unique features, the continent song about the different continents and the ocean songs about oceans. 


Although N is too young to understand these but the songs are catchy enough for him to catch the tune and sing a whole line. That is when I decided to let him listen to these songs and make him learn about the universe early.

The collection of nursery rhymes is unending and are original without any addition of lyrics unlike most of the rhyme apps these days. All the rhymes ate interactive and child can click on the objects shown in the screen and they will move. This is a nice way to make them learn the meaning of the rhyme and helps them learn the ryhme in a better way.

The app has lullabies in melodious voice which can play at the background while making your child sleep.The stories in the app are interesting and can be read by the older kids on their own and read for me option for the young ones.the story collection is good for early readers.the collection of some old forgotten fables will take you back to your childhood . The stories we grew up listening can now be read to our children too.The app has some very nice stories on good manners which can be read as a part of bedtime stories to the young ones.

The flash cards are good for early learning and make kids learn about shapes, vehicles,food etc. Improves the vocabulary and recognition skills.


The Kidloland is full of options and covers almost all the learning skills required. This has been so far the best travelling companion for us. Along with keeping baby N busy and retaining my sanity this has been a great help on the learning part as well. 

Few tips to make screen time more effective 

1. Set a time for viewing for us it is max half and hour a day.

2. Allow only educational content.

3.Screen time should be only during day time as night time screen viewing is not good for kids.

4. Be around your baby and make the screen time more interactive rather than just viewing.

5. Ask what they have learnt from the app once their screen time is over.

6. Try to cut down your eon screen exposure so that you can actually preach what you practice about screen time.

Some of the cons of the Kidloland app 

1. Takes a lot of space in the phone (not actually a con but the options are so tempting that I actually downloaded all)

2. No timer option hence a meltdown or emotional blackmail for more viewing is possible.

Rating by baby N and Mama 

Educational -5/5 

Overall -4/5 ( one less for timer option it would have been 5/5 by baby N though)


You can visit their website    www.kidloland.com     To know more 

You can simply download the App  by clicking the link below for  ios

Kidloland iOS app

For android 

Google kidloland app
From Amazon App Store 

Amazon Kidloland app

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Raising A Reader-My Story

Honestly I never planned or thought of raising a reader, but the first board book I bought filled me with so much of happiness that all I wanted was to hoard books for my little one.Those cute little books with such bright colour and texture where a delight to flip.And hence started our journey towards the world of books.

While growing up I saw my elder sister glued to books.She would even read while having dinner at times and when asked would say she is about to reach the climax and can leave the food but not the book.Her love for books was never ending and so was her collection starting from famous fives to mills and boons to classics.I never bought a single book honestly it was all her collection.

I remember my father reading stories every night before we use to sleep from the famous Chandamama or Panchatantra.It was those bedtime stories which compelled me to read and love reading initially.When my father would not read to us, me and my brother would take turns to read stories and we always asked for more when my father read those to us.And would doze off to sleep even before the story finished.

I grew up in the era when subscriptions meant magazine for mothers and comics for us.I grew up reading Cha Cha Chaudhary ,Pinky,Archies,Tin Tin before I graduated to Nancy Drew and famous five.Mills and Boons came much later for me.

It was during my holidays after my Xth board when I read a book by an Indian author and fell in love with the style of writing and realised how much I feel connected.Reading became my hobby and my imagination took me to places I have never been.Throughout my college and MBA I used my library card for course books right before examination rest part of the year it was all about exploring different genre.

As I mentioned earlier I never planned to raise a reader I just bought books at different stages and eventually fell for raising a reader.As a parent all I want is the best for my baby and the habit of reading is the best I can do for him.I want him to see the world in a wider sense, when we read it opens so many perspective and widens our thinking process more than intelligent reading makes us smart.

I am waiting for my son to grow up so that we both can go to the oxford book store at Barakhambha road, New Delhi where I have so many fond memories of reading dates with my besties, we loved smelling those books and loved flipping thorough sipping the coffee we could afford occasionally from our pocket money and paying in turns for each other on every visit.We sat there and made our bucket list of books and saved money to buy those.

So as I take you forward with our journey of #raisingareader I wanted to share the story behind my love for books.Watch this space for more on Raising a reader.

Posting a video of my tiny reader in action…

 

Holi Inspired Activites- For Toddlers

So finally its time to say good bye to winters and welcome the spring with this beautiful festival of colours HOLI.Well honestly if you ask me I am not a very big fan of this festival when it comes to celebrating it in full spirit but I like the essence of the festival.And the very basic element of the festival ‘colours’.Holi is celebrated in India in the early spring and it marks the harvest of wheat.I remember as a child I used to be so excited about it and I used to be always dissatisfied with the amount of colours my mother would buy thinking it would not last till the time my friends would arrive.And every year the colours would last till Diwali Rangoli as we ended up playing with plain water more than colours.Another fond memory I have about holi is the gujia my mother  used to make and the dahi vada aunties would send home.

Somewhere between loving this festival to locking myself to avoid getting dirty by spoiling my skin and hair with the artificial colours I grew up.And now when it is my son’s childhood I want him to enjoy this festival to the fullest.So to make this festival fun for him I will be doing few activities with him which will make him love the festival in years to come.Lets get started with the activities which will be fun at the same time all natural yet messy to keep the spirit of holi intact.

1.Edible colours 

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My LO is just 16 months and still young to play with the dry colours so I thought of making the  colours which we usually make for his sensorial activities as apart of our holi celebration .

Corn Starch Colour

Take a muffin tray or egg tray

Add two table spoon of corn starch

Add some water and food colour.

this is will be a slimy colour for the messy holi fun

Flour Colour

Simply add all purpose flour to a tray and add water and food colour.

Tumeric colour

If you wish to play a dry holi with your little one try adding some besan to the turmeric and use it as a dry colour.

2.Balloons

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My memory with holi is so much of getting hit by water balloons launched straight from somebody’s terrace to my back.Pacchak. And you look at up but those narrow lanes with so many terrace one after another it was next to impossible to guess whose door I should knock to complain.

Anyways we are not going to throw water balloons but sure we are going to play with balloons filling them with water and our favourite animals.

One of the activities that can be done with kids is hitting the balloons filled with plain water to the wall just like a game of basket ball.And when the balloon burst the surprise is out.

3.Water Gun 

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So when we are just honing the skills of our practical life pouring activity what better than a water gun pouring activity.Bring that pichkari and let your little one drench you.

4.Nature walk

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A walk to the park to collect twigs and leaves to make our own mini version of holika dahan a day before holi.In Hindu tradition a bon fire is lit the night before holi to mark the victory of good over evil.

5.Swings

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While you take a walk in the nature to collect the twigs and dry leaves don’t forget to enjoy the swings.What better way to welcome spring then a swing.tell your little ones the story of naughty Krishna playing Holi in Vrindavan and enjoying the swings.

6.Blessings from Elders

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The importance of raising your child in a environment where they respect their elders is very important.In today’s time making your child realise the importance of every family members in your life is difficult as we stay apart in different geographical location and meeting in every festival or regularly becomes so difficult.But thanks to the advanced mode of communication we can still stay connected.Don’t forget to call or even better give a video call to all the dear ones and let your child have a holi filled with blessings and love.

Wish you a very happy Holi In advance.May this festival of colour add colours to your life and may the rainbow always shine on you.

 

How to Montessori on a Budget-5 toys for 12-18 Months

As a parent of a young toddler the urge to splurge on toys is at the peak currently for me and my husband .Going out and coming back without buying anything for the little one seems like adultery to both of us.I know this happens with all of us specially when its your first but somewhere I realised that he will never realise the importance of things been bought for him out of love.And we will end up nurturing a brat eventually, with his unending demands .

So I decided to change my style a little and introduce budget and things that can be recycled for his daily montessori activities.This way I can answer my urge to buy stuff for him by buying knick knacks which can be converted to montessori daily activities.And he will not get into a habit of getting a toys every time we go out .

So lets get started on

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STACKING AND NESTING

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This is one of the favourite activities of toddlers and is excellent for hand and eye coordination.Although stacking cubes comes really cheap in the market too but change is always good.so instead of going for different stacking cubes from market, I have reused the ice cream cups for stacking.

COIN SLOT BOX

If you wish to see how to do it click hereMontessori Toy Series-Coin Slot Box

I have simply used the caps of the bottles we throw away as coin and a plastic pop corn container as the slot box.

MUFFIN TRAY AND BALLS

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Putting the balls in the muffin tray is another fun activity for toddlers.Here I have substituted the balls with potatoes, onion, lemon and whatever is available in the fridge.This way I keep my baby busy while cooking and make him learn vegetables.You can use a egg crate if you don’t have a muffin tray.

PAPER TOWEL ROLL TRACK

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Talking through the paper towel roll is one of my sons favourite activities.He doesn’t talk but babbles through it.

Stick the rolls to the wall in a way that the things fall into the tray kept below it.I have used cars, small blocks. It doesn’t stay for long on the way usually it is pulled by my son in no time.You can use ping pong balls or pom pom for this drop activity.

BALL SLOT BOX

Just like coin slot box I have DIYed this one using a cardboard box.Its really easy and keeps the baby busy for a while.Busy time is propotional to number of balls.

Choose a box of medium size and make holes for the balls to pass throw.Make holes on at least three sides.So that the baby can put balls from different sides.I have covered it with a wrapping paper to make it more attractive.

I have realised that doing montessori on a budget is far more interesting as you can be more creative and offer different stuff to your child for learning without a pinch to your pocket.

Stay tuned for more on budget Montessori.

 

Treasure hunt for kids Under 5

So the christmas is over and we are gearing up for the New years party.Party’s are fun but if you are the host and you have at least 5 kids below 5 to be entertained, the fun factor becomes more of fear factor.Our concept of party is that all the guest should be entertained even if they are kids.So this year for our new years party we are planning a treasure hunt for the kids.Here are few ideas and tips for organising it

  • Define the area choose the area which is mostly free of breakable things like we choose the kids room for the treasure hunt or the guest room.Living area and kitchen are a big no for us because of accidents and off course I love my nick knacks on display and cutlery.

Once you have decided on the area plant the clues, make the clue fun by making a simple riddle or a rhyme like

I thought you were far: But you were coming in a car : things are bought from bazaar:guess whats hiding in the star::

Among the gifts I lie:you look away as you are shy:Pick the one which is different:let me see if you are intelligent::

Try to make it interesting but choosing rhyming words.Select the place you wish to hide your treasure clue and then search for rhyming words and let your imagination go on a ride to your own childhood.

  • Make the treasure box with things the kids would love to get like chocolate, colours,clips and hairbands, small cars,biblets etc.

Decorate the treasure box and cover it with layers of wrapping.It will be fun for the kids to unwrap at the end.Keep a note on sharing in the treasure box to make them learn the importance of sharing as the real treasure of life is sharing the happiness which we take ages to figure out with the clue god gives us.Let them learn the secret of happiness at young age.

Picky Eaters and PediaSure​

An additional burden for the parents is inculcating the habit of healthy eating in their children. It didn’t take me long to realise that my son is going to be a picky eater and hence, half of my time goes into wondering what to feed him.

For the times that I am at home and he’s with me, which is almost all the time, we can still work out/negotiate and try to eat healthy. However, I worry about the time when he starts pre-school and I go back to work. That’s the time when keeping a tab on his eating schedule will become difficult for me. I am not very keen on introducing cow’s milk into his diet as that will not be enough to meet all of his nutritional requirements. However, I do want to introduce something that he can drink in the mornings. Another concern that I have is immunity; being a picky eater, immunity will be a major issue once he starts going to school.

One of the health drinks I came across while looking for a viable solution was PediaSure. While .reading about it, it didn’t take me long to realise that PediaSure is one of the most renowned and trusted brands on the market. But, I still wanted to do my own research into the benefits of the product.

Nutrition

PediaSure contains 37 nutrients which provide balanced nutrition. It is formulated with important vitamins, iron, iodine, choline, and taurine. It contains a combination of prebiotics and probiotics that helps support a healthy immune system.

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PediaSure can be introduced as a morning drink during breakfast or as a healthy snack. One glass of PediaSure provides a good amount of energy, proteins and micronutrients. This isn’t complicated; there are no specific PediaSure recipes to choose from, although you’re free to experiment based on your kid’s preferences. PediaSure is available in 3 flavours- Vanilla Delight, Premium chocolate and Kesar Badam – which seem quite interesting.

As a generic rule for parents, we need to try and cut down on our children’s sugar intake– chocolates, sweets, sweetened drinks etc. It’s difficult to keep your kid away from things like that and especially junk food, but the onus of healthy eating habits lies with us. This is also where PediaSure comes in; it contains the required fats and sugar necessary for a child’s growth and while it may not be a replacement for sweets and chocolates, it can help by providing a healthy alternative.

Although PediaSure approached me to review their product as part of their #90DaysWithPediaSure campaign, all views and opinions expressed in my writing are my own. So follow me on #MyPediaSureJourney as I show you just how the supplement has worked out for my child over the next few weeks.

PediaSure is making our job easier, but our job as a parent doesn’t just end with that. In fact it starts with a glass of PediaSure in the morning to healthy meals till night time.

PediaSure is available in most stores and chemists in all neighbourhoods, You may buy the product from your local store or you can order PediaSure from http://pediasure.in/

HELICOPTER PARENTING-Is your child a victim of this?

Once you become a parent there is always a battle within; the battle of wrong and right.You always want the right thing for your kid and make constant efforts for it, that is a responsible parenting but have you ever wondered that in your effort of putting across everything right to your kid are you somewhere curbing his right to know the world on his own, is our responsible parenting turning into a helicopter parenting.

I remember the days when my mother would leave me with other kids to play with strict instructions not to go far away and on the other hand some of my friends were only allowed to play in their porch although we lived in a campus but still they were not allowed to go out of their own porch.I was 8-9 year old then and I use to wonder why is aunty not leaving them to play away from home.Those aunties would take all the details in case their kids were left at my place to play; like what all you played, what did you eat? My mother never asked such things in detail she was ok with the fact that I ate, she would never go into details and would never even stop me if I wish to tell her the details.I never shared the policy of don’t tell my mom we did this with my friends but was always the one who was told not to share the details with their parents.

While we grew up although I was not a very good student but still my mother never pestered the teachers with questions of my grades or never sat with me to make me study.It is not that I never had my share of pestering parents I had, they would bother me when I would be watching TV or playing for hours together but my parents will never sit by my side and make me study once I was old enough to study on my own.And honestly I am doing way better than my counter parts not bragging but just quoting a fact.

When we had our boards my parents would wish me all the luck and would ask me to attempt the paper slowly and calmly.There use to be a very low attendance in the bus but the moment I would reach the venue the huge rush of parents with their kids would give the feel of examination back into my mind.Many of my friends in their late teens were accompanied by their parents.I use to find it amusing to see some parents holding the books for their kids while others would make them eat.The only feeling I had at that point was how will these people cope when they will leave their home for higher studies and are they seriously going to turn into adults in a year or two and would even vote yes I thought about voting because dating was evidently out of question for them.

While I was planning to take  a sabbatical many people asked me not to take such a long break  as in teens kids need more parental guidance read control than now.Many of the female colleagues would take leave when their kids have boards or some final exam.I am no where making a point or tagging them but you can never force a kid to study by constantly being around, they will just simply shut their minds.I can bet on it that a kid who has not been pestered to study will get better grades than a kid who is constantly reminded to study.

The point I am trying to make here is that there is a very thin line between a concerned parents and helicopter parents and by giving an over dependent upbringing we will only spoil our kids either they would start lieing to us or they would become over dependent with no decision-making ability of their own.

As a parent we are supposed to raise our kids not raise sheep who has been asked to graze the field and they do because they have their master hovering around.

DIWALI DECOR DIY

So Diwali is round the corner and is the festival of DIY …Since childhood I have been excited about this festival. Diwali means rangoli, decorations, diyas,candles and fun.We celebrate a no cracker diwali and hence crackers are not a part of our celebrations.This will be again one of the diwalis I will be celebrating away from home but I don’t want to miss out on the fun with Nirvaan (N).This year has been special and all festival celebrated will have a mark on him and his upbringing.Anyways so while you all are busy with the diwali cleaning and shopping here is a DIY I did for Diwali hope you like it.

Materials used

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The glass jars used here are the ones we usually throw like the jam,pickles,garlic paste jar.I cleaned them removed the label using hot water.

Corals and sand we got from maldives you can use salt if you don’t have sand and instead of corals you can use uncooked pasta ,rice,chick peas etc.

Start with painting the pebbles as they take the longest of time.I have given a coat of acrylic paint first to the pebbles and then painted them with nail paint (cheap ones from the local shop)to get the glossy look.

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Use a container to paint the sand take some acrylic colours in your finger and mix it well with sand let it dry

thumb_img_7612_1024Its the easiest to paint the coral.Once the painting part is done and all the materials are dried up.Start putting them in the jar just remember while pouring the sand to revolve the jar keeping the spoon on the rim as it will give a even look.thumb_img_7631_1024

Keep them in any cosy corner of the house ,lit the candles to get the perfect look.

thumb_img_7627_1024I have used the left over wool to make pom pom balls as decorative flowers you can use real flowers and decorate like this

Here are some more pics after the candles were lit

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Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali ..May this festival of light bring happiness ,prosperity and most importantly enlightenment into our lives.

KARWA CHAUTH AND EMPOWERMENT

Few things in life you should follow what your heart says rather than pondering about empowerment,marketing etc etc since last few days all I get to read over social media is debate over Karwa Chauth and how females should stop observing fast as it is silly and no ones life is lengthened by a silly fast.Few articles where about how oppressive karwa chauth is ,shows the female as weak over powered by men.Every one has a right to express their view but all this while i wondered why such a hue and cry about a festival which is more than just fasting.

Yes karwa chauth has been glamorised ,yes it has become a marketing gimmick so is diwali,holi, christmas and for that matter navratri.Then why so much of hue and cry and how does not fasting makes me more liberated ,more empowered.

I fast for my husband and so does he, so does his fasting for me makes him an oppressed male. He does it because he likes it and I do it because I like it.About the marketing part I don’t think there is any harm if it has been glamorised and makes the small vendors earn some money out of it.I see it as an opportunity encashed majorily by the local market.It lets the mehdni wala, bangles wala and similar local vendors earn.Regarding the ritual of females gathering and checking each others sari, gold and thali… we do the same when we meet otherwise for example when I go to parties We discuss dresses, watch , bags shoes and the holidays we went so how does this gathering is different from any other social gathering we attend.

I belong to a state where this festival is not celebrated and I have been born and brought up in that part of country where it is celebrated with all the pomp.So there was no compulsion to observe the fast but the beauty of the festival the spirit of the festival and the desire to pray for your loved one’s long life made me love this festival and observe it.

The debate over this festival makes no sense to me as I believe all the articles and debates asking women not to observe this fast in the name of empowerment are actually asking the females who are already empowered not to fast and an empowered woman doesn’t need an article to form an opinion as she  has her own.

A very happy Karwa Chauth  to all who are observing it with all the heart.

lets talk about DADDY!!

 

Yes lets talk about daddy they play a major role but yet are the most ignored part of the whole process be it pregnancy parenting they are just so ignored. Well i agree few just enjoy the ignored status and love to live in the times when it was just a females job to be pregnant and raise the kids. Lets talk about us lets talk about the generation we are into lets talk about the shift from my wife is pregnant to we are expecting……

This shift has not happened overnight it has happened overtime I am not saying that the older generation was not good at parenting but we have to agree on this that raising a baby was considered women’s job and the percentage of super daddies was less as compared to today.

so lets just talk about super daddies be of any generation and why are they ignored may be because they don’t take the physical pain. But still they do a lot more i guess starting from the day we get pregnant. The load of taking care is on them no matter how the day in the office was when they come back home they just can’t say no.All the fights seems so unjustified and they have to bow down no matter who is at fault, yet they are made to feel guilty for fighting and not apologising .

The cravings are all answered by the click click of the car and of course by the super daddy. They change their taste too my husband was fine till chinese cravings but once the south indian took over he had a hard time adjusting.Well my cravings were wacky too when the whole world said i will crave over chocolates i just wanted to have rasam for no reasons. I kept on thinking about the training days when in the canteen they had a separate south indian section where rasam and sambar were served daily.I tried my own googled version of rasam and it was all messed up just like my searches.

The tension over the bump getting bumped and saving the bump from the bumps on the roads.Yes they change their driving style completely for us just to make sure the bump is safe from the bumps.

The constant reminder to the lovely mommies of how prettier they look with the bump.How the glow is just so perfect and they never looked prettier than this.

I know we go through a lot on the D Day but one look on the daddies face and you get to know how nervous they are and how they wished the whole thing should have been easier than this, but still they give you all the pep talk possible just to make u feel better.

Then start the sleepless saga along with the mommy, they burp the baby, calm them, lull them to sleep.No one asks them to take rest and just after few days when they start the office the woes doubles with the work pressure and the night duty.

Way to go super daddies just remember your contribution is going to raise a baby who is going to be a gentleman or a super fine lady.