Aarav’s book exchange experience

<a href="http://lovebooksexchange&quot; title="New book and a new experience

Books have been our best friend since quiet sometime now and bringing them alive through crafts is something which is so much fun. When Bubble Ink writes proposed to participate in UK based The Educators’ Spin On It’s  Love Book Summer Book Exchange I jumped at the chance to share a favourite story with another family and design an activity based on it for them to do at home just like we would.

We were teamed with cuddles and reads for the exchangs. Like my 5 year old son Aarav, Vani Balram also has a five year old who is equally passionate about books. We received the package a month before and Aarav, who runs with joy and eagerness to collect any courier that comes home, came back with a beautifully wrapped courier which had his name written on it.

He jumped with joy and couldn’t wait to open it. But for me it was very embarrassing because I was so stuck with things at home that I really hadn’t got time to select a book and send it to Vani.  I had cribbed about it so much that Aarav said ‘mamma, we will open this packet only after we send a book to Dhruv (vani’s son).

Now, this made me to decide on which book to send. After few days I felt one of the best book any child can own is ‘The Giving Tree’. I finally made time bought the book and coupled it with an interesting activity from itsy bitsy and mailed it to Vani.

Now, Aarav was very excited. He opened the parcel and was very happy to see ‘Mr Wrinkles’. Now that he can read some of the words on his own he managed to read the title. We then finished reading the book and he immediately wanted to do the beautifully packed, well instructed jungle activity from Itsy Bitsy.

we made the jungle and even played walking through the jungle game. We named all the wild animals. We learnt -How its nice to make friends and how we could think smart and help our friends who are in trouble. We also got introduced to animal like meerkat.

Excellent read and brilliant activity. Thank u cuddles and reads for the book. Bubble ink writes for introducing us to this exchange.


Junior Kumbhakarna by Arundathi Venkatesh

I had never seen kids in the chooku booku compartment laughing so much. The moment I said Junior Kumbhakarna my son Aarav couldn’t stop giggling. Reason being he snores a lot due to his protruded jaw issues and we at home make fun of him saying you snore like Kumbhakarna.

It had been only few months since he stopped asking me for Kumbhakarna’s story every night before he slept. So Kukku for Aarav was a character he could immediately connect to.

Darshan a child of 12 years giggled too I asked him why he said “that picture!” I said “what about it?” Darshan- “i look just like kumbhakarna☺”

While two year old Sarayu waited for me to start five year old Ansh was also curious to know what the story is all about.

We began as usual with reading the name of the book and then the author and the illustrator. Shreya Sen and Arundathi Venkatesh hats off to you both for this wonderful book.

JK is a Mythological story retold in a simple and hillarious manner. Kukku the little boy like most of the children wants his appa (dad) to tell him the story of K. Dad begins the story and mid way Kukku goes to sleep and dreams of donkeys braying, trumpets, drums, soldiers and elephants walking all over to wake up Kumbhakarana who has been sleeping for six long months.

What happens in the end is something so hilarious. Kids in the room enjoyed making crowns and kumbhakarna moustache. We even made rava laddoos. And thanks to Darshan who said “aunty shall I sleep like KK and let other kids try and wake me up,” it was sooper fun doing this. Here are some pics. Waiting for Arundathi’s next book.

Oh after the session my son wanted the whole Kk story and also what his name meant.

For those who don’t know Kumbha is pot, a kind of water pot;Karna is hearing.

For story visit http://kriyayogagurupranam.blogspot.in/p/story-of-kumbhakarna.html?


Giraffes can’t dance by Giles Andrae

giraffes 1

Lesser the crowd always the better! Today for our reading session there were only five kids and oh what fun we had. Most of them who were there today were of Aarav’s age and they were just going to start school in few days. With school would come bullying and teasing etc.
This brilliant book ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ by Giles Andrae was something which kids could immediately connect to.
The illustrations and rhymes in the book are outstanding. The theme of, be yourself and listen to your own inner music is just fabulous and connects immediately to a child who is above 3 years.
We began the session with first talking about how Giraffes’ have long neck! What are some of the advantages with that long neck?
The story line was quite simple. Gerald the Giraffe was very good at ‘standing still and munching shoots off trees’. However, what Gerald wanted to be good at, but was most definitely not, was dancing. At the annual Jungle Dance the warthogs did the waltz, the rhino’s did the rock and roll and the chimps did the cha cha cha. But Gerald simply froze on the dance floor, to the amusement of his friends that were shouting ‘Giraffe’s can’t dance!’.
A somewhat sad and lonely Gerald found himself gazing up at the bright
shining moon, listening to a wise and friendly cricket. The cricket says that dancing is all about the music and that maybe Gerald hadn’t found the right song yet…. The night evolves into a triumphant encore performance by Gerald, shocking his jungle friends with his new found dance vocabulary.
The bright and colourful, fun book didn’t take time to engage the reading room kids. The youngest being Avyukt , three year old could immediately connect to not only the theme but also enjoyed the eloquent rhyming text that rolls off the tongue.
The beautiful illustrations in the book helped to carry the story when reading it aloud to kids in chooku booku. The book which opened beautifully explaining about Gerald caught every child’s attention effortlessly.

When I read: “Gerald was a tall giraffe
whose neck was long and slim.
But his knees were awfully crooked
and his legs were rather thin.”

All of them burst into laughter just like the jungle animals. But as the story progressed  I could see that tension and sadness in the eyes of three year old Avyukt, five year old Aarav and even 12 year old Darshan. When animals booed the Giraffe they wanted to immediately know what Gerald did. And finally when we read about the helpful cricket and how the Giraffe started dancing and all animals were awestruck there was a sense of relief in Parinita’s eyes. Aaarav laughed to glory and they all agreed that the book had such a positive message and how its ok to be different.
The story promotes exploration into self-confidence, self-esteem and individuality. I explained Darshan and Aarav later about how the book talks about different dance styles; the waltz, the Scottish reel and the tango. It was soon the time to have some art fun! We made our own giraffes on a canvas paper and they all had so much fun doing it.
Check out the pics here:



The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


When my 4 and half year old said “mama please let’s read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ ” I was a bit irritated. This might be the 20th or 30th time he is reading this book and now he wanted it to be read for his Chooku Booku friends. The moment I refused he started giving me reasons why it should be read to his young friends :

1. It’s one of my favourite authors.

2. Look at the bright illustrations any child would love it.

3. One can learn the days of the week.

4. Younger kids will learn to count 1,2,3….

5. You can ask them which of the food the Caterpillar eats are healthy.

6. Moral: not to eat junk food coz the Caterpillar gets a stomach ache and becomes fat. Gets lazy and doesn’t do any work.

7. You can teach the metamorphosis from one egg to a beautiful butterfly. 

8. Classify food groups fruits, diary and meat

9. We can dance to the tune of ‘yum yum yum…its a hungry caterpillar song’


Huh! Finally I had to be convinced if my son could actually find so many reasons to read the book imagine how many could a bunch of 10 find. So I agreed and we read Carle’s Caterpillar. 


For those who do not know the story line it’s a simple story of how on one sunday in the moonlight there’s a tiny egg which lays on the leaf and in the warm sun, comes out a caterpillar who is propelled by his hunger to look for food. 

Between Monday and Friday, he eats his way through a great deal of fruits- 1 apple,2 pears,3 plums, 4 strawberries, 5 oranges. But on Saturday, his hunger really gets the better of him, and he eats through a piece of chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, some salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, one sausage, a cupcake, and a slice of watermelon. And what happens once he catches a stomach ache and decides to eat a nice green leaf and rests in the cocoon is the climax. 

We were nearly 16 of us in the chookubooku compartment. We enjoyed reading the book and i was surprised when 2 year old sarayu, vibha, kushi and Siri were able to guess the sunday, monday tuesday …..so well. The moment I said next day they all went ‘Monday’  ‘Tuesday’.


Avyukt, Aarav, Riddanth and Rishab were giggling away to glory when they were saying “but he was still hungry”. 

The kids were super thrilled to do their own book of very hungry caterpillar and they even danced to the song ”



Hungry Caterpillar Song.mov: http://youtu.be/28gE7x-LfeU

The joy continued…..

It was a warm Tuesday noon I was feeling very low for some vague reason. Was wondering if I will be able to sit through the story telling with my mum Lalitha Belagere. I didn’t even call people to confirm registrations though there were quite a few of them who had requested for a morning or a weekend session.
For a moment I thought of cancelling it but the joy which I had seen on the kids faces the previous day overpowered my non energised mind. I just decided to do the session with as many kids would be there. But to my surprise there were quite a few of them.
Mom had planned a story with witches and magic but then looking at the age of the kids who had come in she chose to narrate a simple story of a boy called ‘pedda gunda’ (dumb gunda).
The story began with gunda being a lazy boy who is sleeping all the time and his granny keeps trying to give some work to gunda so that he doesn’t see him on the couch all the day.
But our gunda is very dumb too. The situations in the story was so hilarious kids really laughed their lungs out.

Whenever Lalitha aunt repeated wake up Gunda why are you always on the couch the entire kid brigade joined her. It was so easy a phrase to repeat with her.


Then begins gunda’s misadventures and foolishness. When the grand mom asks him to bring butter from a nearby store gunda stuffs the butter in his pockets and comes back singing “ajji benne tande”


And then the butters all gone. So ajji tells gunda that butter has to always be bought in a vessel with water on it so that it won’t melt. Ah our gunda decides to remember this really well. Next time ajji says can you bring a cat to the house and gunda jumps with joy to do the work he rushes to the pet shop and puts the cat inside the vessel, Keeps it on his head and walks happily singing “ajji bekku (cat) tande” and he foolishness continues until the same gunda makes the princess who never laughed laugh her lungs out and is finally married off to her. Very simple but entertaining story.
The kids also danced to the tunes of famous track “doddavarella jaanaralla”


and played the game
“ratto ratto rayara magale
bitto bitto bheemana magale
Hadinaremme kayalare
Bisibisi rotti sudalaare
Baita kamba
Baale kamba
Kukkara basavi
Koore basavi….


We ended with saying tata to an aeroplane which flew right above us

Revise diet with aatrayee niharchandra


It’s not a quick fix. It’s not just a few months and then you can go back to your fast food and couch sitting. It’s not a pill that speeds up your metabolism while you continue to ignore your nutrition. It’s not 8-minute abs. If you truly want to change the way you feel, look, and live, it has to be a lifestyle. It has to be something you commit to for the rest of your life because you want to be HEALTHY, not just skinny. Wow! What an inspiring and eye opening talk it was.
Chooku Booku’s compartment was packed with 11 dedicated ladies who were nodding interestingly to whatever our Revisediet Atraeyee Niharchandra was talking to.
She barged into my kitchen and began picking some of the things from the grocery section and some from the fridge. I wondered what she was upto and couldn’t wait to know more when she picked that water bottle too. The ladies waiting for Atraeyee were getting more curious looking at the way she was arranging the stuff on the table.
And she began!
Starting from how one can judge your health with your Potty !!! She said Potty is the most Important part of the day and Do potty everyday , first thing in the morning. Don’t sit in toilet for 30 mins to do potty. Also a soft potty in the morning means digestion and that will give you a flat stomach. She spoke about how one should eat well and finish dinner before 7 pm and hit bed by 10 pm. Plastics is a big NO she said. There were lot of interesting tips given to us on alternates to those plastic bottles. It was a talk aiming and keeping one fit and healthy and not so much for running behind that super model figure! This was our first session and there will be three more sessions where she will discuss exercise, diet etc for a stress free healthy life resulting in a big smile.

sense of achievement

At the end of the session on ‘Good Touch Bad Touch’, my two year daughter Sarayu and another three year old child Sharvari completely took us by surprise when they remembered the three parts of their body where not every body can touch. The oldest girl, 11 years, Pracheta and Darshan narrated examples of how sometimes even the most well known trusted ones can try “touching us”. Oh! It was that mission accomplished feeling. 6 year old Deeksha and 7 year old Stuti said they will never forget to scream a big NO and run to safety when someone gives a bad touch. also 4 year old Aarav and Parinita said their daddy’s were the heroes who they believe will act on their complaint and take the issue seriously. Thank you Dr Poornima Devi.

This was almost the summary of what was discussed in the session. We began the session with 9 kids including my two Lil brats. We started with few fun games for kids to bond and then I started singing the rhyme ‘head, SHOULDERS, knees and toes’ as an intro to what we were going to talk about.
Then slowly began to form a circle with each one showing one part of their body and naming the same. The kids were fabulous.
Soon Poornima Devi, counselling psychologist at Spandana Health Care in Nandini Layout and also program head for IGNOU started to talk to kids. She made them touch each other, shake hands, kiss their mommies etc a very beautiful way of introducing touches.
She then continued asking kids about meaning of the word danger and it’s opposite being safe.
Each child was asked to give one safe instructions they know for instance ‘one should not talk to strangers to one should not switch on the gas when mamma is not at home etc.
Slowly opened the topic of good touch bad touch with introducing the concept of ‘OWNING THE BODY’ TO THREE ZONES WHERE ONE CANNOT BE TOUCHED IF THEY DO NOT LIKE.
The areas being : Chest, part between your legs and the buttock. She also spoke of how lips could be included too.
Next was who was allowed to touch in these areas.Its definitely a sensitive issue to talk to kids as young as 2.5 years but she fabulously did it. She made the child talk instead she going on giving notes over notes. She spoke of how a mother or a helper will have to touch the areas during bath time and how a doctor might have to touch them during check ups. BUT even a doc can touch only in presence of someone close to you was clearly understood by the kids. Other than these how a father, grand mom and grand dad were also allowed to touch was mentioned. But the child could say no to anyone who the child felt was giving a feeling of dirty, yucky in their touch.
We spoke of how one should first scream and then run to a safe adult if something like this happens be it in school, home, or any other place.
Then the child was asked to tell one person who he or she considers a hero and thinks will take action most of them said daddy and some had moms on the list too!
Then they were told not to give up on the issue unless some action is taken against the bad.
Children were given chits on Who? Where? What? When? Why? WhAnd how? In each was written questions like who are the strangers? Why can family members be trusted? Which are the places and situations one has to be careful? So on and each child came up with their own responses and it was wonderful to know everyone had understood the session by then.
There were few crime movie scenes too when some spoke of how strangers will poison chocolates and kidnap us but overall the message of good touch and bad touch was conveyed xterm Ely nice and sensibly.
Even parents were given tips on how to identify if such incidents have happened and how one should not ask the child to hush things bit instead have to perceive the complaint and act on it. Be it relatives or strangers.
By the end of the session I was feeling proud of myself for holding such a session.
For parents who did last minute cancellations and requested another session will soon be having one in May.
Signing off