It has been a year of ‘firsts’ for most of us but for children it has been a complete paradigm shift from the physical classroom experience to online classes from the comfort of their homes. While there has been a downside to this ‘new normal’ with compromised education, lack of social interaction and physical activity, this year has also given rise to a silver lining for young children. Shaliya Bhandari shares some stories…
Many proactive parents have taken the situation in their stride and turned 2020 into a year of learning. The free time on hand is being used to develop life skills, pursue hobbies, short-term professional courses and overall personality development.
The online platform has successfully done away with geographical boundaries, thereby exposing children to a world of options—courses, instructors, teachers, industry professionals and talent building opportunities. Some of the hot favourites have been learning foreign languages like Spanish and French. Many youngsters have been jumping onto the ‘çoding’ bandwagon. We have also come across young budding home bakers and chefs discovering their newfound passion, young Picasso’s in the making filling up canvases with talent. Children choosing to train for an hour in Hindustani vocals over an hour of watching television to children experimenting with science at home—we have also come across children attending a variety of workshops on creative writing, public speaking, debating, dancing, yoga and chess. There have also been takers for this talent in online exhibitions giving these children an opportunity to display their creations, online art auctions where children see their artwork being sold for charity.
The free time on hand is being used to develop life skills, pursue hobbies, short-term professional courses and overall personality development.
In our quest to discover new activities and interests being pursued by children this year, we came across five originators who have indeed used their spare time to their advantage.
Nethra Reddy, 11 years
Besides her flair for art and her new found love for photography courtesy her father, also a photography enthusiast, Nethra has mastered the art of baking delicious fudgy brownies in the past few months. She watched and assisted her mother bake through the lockdown and drew her inspiration from these mother-daughter baking sessions. In her words ‘’I learnt the tricks from my mom and wanted to bake independently. After receiving positive feedback from family and friends, I wanted to do it on a larger scale.”
Both her parents were very supportive of the idea as long as it did not come in the way of her studies and thus came about Nethras Brownie Box, which did a record sale of 50 boxes over the first weekend. This 11-year-old entrepreneur has bigger aspirations of growing up to be an eye surgeon just like her father. ‘‘The appreciation I get for my brownies is immensely satisfying, and I admire the way my father loves and cares for his profession’’, says Nethra. And we say the world will definitely be a better place with a dedicated eye surgeon who bakes yummy brownies! Want fudgy brownies? Order them now on Instagram @nethrasbrowniebox
Anaira Jain, 9 years
Anaira has productively spent most of her free time playing educative board games. Her favourite being ‘’Ticket to ride’’ which helped her learn about different countries. This 9-year-old wants to grow up to be a singer and is training professionally in Hindustani vocal and has even begun learning the harmonium through the online medium of teaching.
The highlight of the lockdown for her was when she got the opportunity to meet her idol, renowned singer Anuradha Paudwal. Singing in her presence and earning encouragement from the legend was a defining moment for Anaira, thereby leaving the little girl with fond memories of the lockdown. Anaira’s parents are very mindful of her talent and eagerness to learn and have ensured her free time is channelized in the right direction.
The online platform has successfully done away with geographical boundaries, thereby exposing children to a world of options in courses, instructors, teachers, industry professionals and talent building opportunities.
Aryansh Bhandari, 12 years
One fine morning in April, Aryansh came across an advertisement—“Be a coder and Design your own games”— an idea that caught this young gamers fancy. He then enrolled for a free trial class and thought he had found his true calling of becoming a video game designer. The deeper he went into the course, the more he enjoyed it. Of course his aspiration of becoming the next Steve Jobs started to take some shape in his impressionable mind. His focus also encouraged his peers to give the course a shot.
“A popular Rapper” amongst his friends, Aryansh used his free time to record videos and upload on YouTube, thereby making him a YouTuber, another latest fad with this generation. In words of this young boy, “I am loving the lockdown. It has given me enough time to experiment with gaming, YouTubing and coding. Basically equipping me for the new world. But more than all this I am proud that I have learnt to make tea for my mother, cheese sandwiches for my younger sister and popcorn for myself!” Aryansh, unfortunately, misses all his outdoor games and is yearning to go score goals in his football-coaching centre, but looks at the brighter side and says, “Yes that’s another thing the lockdown has taught me, patience!” You can check out Aryansh’s latest Rap video on Youtube – https://youtu.be/PT3oB8sR-sw
Viha Rathi, 10 years
A self-confessed foodie, Viha tasted various cuisines dished out by her master chef father during the lockdown. She also honed her badminton skills and spent quality time with her grandparent’s playing cards. This 10-year-old dog lover then decided to learn baking and raise funds to feed stray dogs. She then created an Instagram page with the help of her elders to build awareness about hungry homeless stray dogs.
With this noble intention, she began her baking journey with remuneration not in money but in the form of dog food. So every time you buy her tasty treats you pay her back in dog food and she, in turn, treats a stray. Now that’s what we call an inspirational leader in the making. “I love dogs; I want to train at the Victoria Stilwell Academy and become a dog trainer. Till then I want to bake and be able to support as many street dogs as possible,” says Viha and we wish her all the best. Order her delights today on Instagram @vihabakes
Yohaan Marda, 11 years
Although Yohaan misses his school and friends immensely, he has learnt to be more creative with his time. He helps his mother cook and has started maintaining a journal on wildlife news. This little 11-year-old has taken his love for the wildlife a step further by starting his own blog. “As a family, we are nature lovers and we love holidaying in the jungles. My dad is a wildlife photographer too,” says the young wildlife aficionado. His mother played a pivotal role in keeping his passion alive during the lockdown by encouraging him to write and blog.
In the absence of the physical jungle experience, this came closest to keeping Yohaan productively engaged. “I want to grow up and work for forest conservation and maybe someday own a jungle lodge in my favourite jungle reserve, Kabini,” says Yohaan. You can check out Yohaan on Instagram @yohaanmarda_photography