Category: hobby

My Travel Scrapbook – A #Review

My Travel Scrapbook – A #Review

When the twins turned toddlers we took our first steps in travelling with them. There was no looking back. Their curiosity and enthusiasm motivated us to step out more frequently as they grew.

The first time they took a dip in the sea at Dapoli, climbed a hill at Hathgadh, wandered through the Bhool Bhulaya of Bara Imambara at Lucknow and went Strawberry picking at Mahabaleswar are all memories we treasure.

At the cusp of their teens, I find travel opening the children’s minds in a hundred ways, making geography and history so much more interesting. They come back bubbling with excitement, talking constantly of all they have seen and I just want hold on to those moments, forever, as do they.

We have photographs, hundreds of them, but they’re more for me than them. Besides, we don’t make physical photo albums like we used to, and that makes them hard to access.

The Travel Bug

…reached out to me recently, to review ‘My Travel Scrapbook’. As I went through its pages I thought it was a wonderful way to keep travel memories alive. I have to admit I have always loved scrapbooking.

My Travel Scrapbook

…is divided into two sections – National Travel (Ten pages) and International Travel (Five pages). I think that’s a fair allocation, though I wouldn’t have much minded doing away with the International pages, for now at least.

There’s a map where children can  mark off places they visit. A section asks them to mention the State they’re going to and the cities they visit. While on that, we kicked off a great conversation on Indian states, how they were formed and why they divided (because we had gone to Uttarakhand recently). We didn’t even realise when we had segued off to discussing the Cauvery water dispute. You really never know where the conversation will take you once you begin talking to the children.

A tiny section asks them about favourite local foods they sampled (Petha at Agra, Dal Baati in Rajasthan) that encourages them to try different kinds of food rather than sticking with pizza, noodles and ice cream.

The book also has space for them to record their travel stories. They do accumulate plenty of them from train tales to local legends. Mine wanted to write about a quaint restaurant they’d visited where they discovered a tiny library and the little boy who sang funny poetry at the Agra Fort. Those nuggets are priceless memories to look back upon.

Of course there’s space for photographs and also a box for the children to make and stick their own peel-off stickers. There are some pre-prepared ones plus some blank ones too. I loved the wonderfully glossy pages and the small cheerful boxes. The layout is clear and easy, perfect for the younger tweens. The book makes for a great keepsake, something the children can flip through (as can you) for a bit of nostalgia.

What I loved most

is that this turned out to be a fun, no pressure exercise. It’s a personal account, much like a journal, so there are no benchmarks, no specific way for things to be done, just a rough guideline. That leaves the children free to do it their way. I love that the book helped cut down on their screen time and kept them creatively employed.

What could be better:

Given that this is a scrap-book I would have liked a few more fun stickers (sun, beach, etc) to be picked from, and randomly stuck on to brighten up the pages.

Price: Rs 699
Published by: Curiosity Bug
www.littletravelbug.in

Final Verdict: This one is a keeper for the travelling tween.

Disclaimer: I was given a complementary copy of the The Travel Scrapbook in exchange for an honest review.

Walks and conversations

Walks and conversations

The children had two days of mid-week holidays – a parting gift from Ganapati as he is taken off for visarjan. We had more peace in the house than we’ve seen in some time. More than one person commented on how relaxed I looked!

Despite exams being just a few weeks away we managed some fun together-time. Remember I wrote about N’s interest in photography? Each time we go out for a walk she comes armed with her camera and clicks anything that catches her fancy. We chanced upon this tree.

‘It looks rather sad and lonely’, I remarked, ‘with it’s leaves and flowers all gone’.

‘I think it looks great fun – like a giant catapult’, said N, ‘imagine how far a huge ball would go if I were big enough to string it.’

She had a point, of course. And all of a sudden the tree didn’t look quite as sad any longer. It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?

Children do come up with interesting ideas, which is why I love walking with them. The only hitch is, we don’t actually walk, as in the walk-for-exercise kind of walk. Or, since N has put me in a positive frame of mind, we do much more than walk – we talk and discuss and observe. We look at the flowers and trees – how the Amaltas hangs down like a chandelier or how  Peepul leaves twirl in the wind. We stop to smell and pick flowers. N is fascinated by the Harshringar we find strewn in a cream and orange carpet. She wonders, a little disappointed, why a tree with such delicate blooms should have such rough sandpaper leaves. I have no clue, I really am not much of a Botany person. I do want to tell her that beauty is never perfect but I stop the cynic in me – time enough for her to discover all of that on her own.

Soon enough H will want to sit and tell me about Greek Gods, yeah he’s still going strong with Rick Riordan. So while he and I will find a bench, N, definitely the more active one, will  continue with her jog around the park.

We’ll pick up dry pieces of branches to be used for craft projects, which may or may not happen, but my bag will look like this.

While N is the one doing the running, H is the one who gets thirsty and will drag us all to get him a drink. ‘Any juice will do,’ he says accommodatingly. And though I’m not a fan of packaged drinks I’ll indulge them just this once, and we’ll walk back home to begin the day.

Joining Parul for #ThursdayTreeLove.

 

 

I am taking my Alexa Rank to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa and Blogchatter.

Gift your child a hobby

Gift your child a hobby

Since when N was a child looking out for rainbows in oil spills , or watching butterflies and picking flowers, she has had a special connect with nature. She’s more outdoorsy than the rest of us and is always ready for a walk.

I might grudge the times she has dragged me out of the bed on a weekend but thanks to her I do step out more often. Once the waking up is out of the way, mornings are my favourite time of the day.

A few years back she started clicking pictures on my phone. I used one of her’s for this post and that had her thrilled. Finally, for her eleventh birthday this year, we gifted her a camera. It’s the smallest most inexpensive one we could find, but it has proved to be  the best gift we could have given her. She carries it along everywhere and has been clicking everything in sight. We are hoping this is beginning of a lifelong affair with pictures.

With stress levels what they are, a hobby is important for children as well as adults. Click To Tweet

When we were kids we had plenty of spare time and that gave us the luxury of trying out and picking up hobbies on our own. ‘What is your hobby?’ used to be such a common conversation starter whether we were meeting someone for the first time or at job interviews. I don’t hear it so much any longer.

Oh the children now are way more accomplished and are doing more things than we ever did. But the important thing is – are they doing it for fun or is it just another task? Are they doing it for no reward? For no marks or medals? Simply for the pleasure it gives them without the thought of excelling at it? Are they doing it even though they may not be super good at it? Expertise might follow, of course, but it is no pre-condition for having a hobby.

That is what makes our task as parents that much harder. Did you know that people with no hobbies are more prone to ailments such as depression? Doctors ‘prescribe’ cultivating a hobby for them. And rightly so. Nothing is more relaxing than indulging in something purely for the fun of it. Here are a few more reasons why everyone should have a hobby.

The best bit is, it starts paying off even when the kids are small and goes on to yield richer dividends as they grow.

That is why I am glad N has taken to her camera. Meanwhile, she has decided she should be paid if and when I use her pictures. Yeah she’s already turning her hobby into a profession and we’ve been bargaining about the rates. This could well be the most expensive post on the blog, since I am including some of her pictures. Here they are:

Also  she has been brainstorming names her photography ‘company’ more or less settling on Peacock Pictures :-). What do you think of it?

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

Ghosts and Writers #BookBytes 12

Ghosts and Writers #BookBytes 12

I am currently reading Eating Wasps by Anita Nair. Here’s a quote that caught my eye, specially as a writer. “Ghosts and writers are more alike than you think. We can be what you want us to be. We can hear your thoughts even if you don’t tell us. We can read the silences and […]