BANGALORE: Gone are the days when summer holidays meant visiting your grandparents, binging on mangoes, catching up with your cousins and probably days spent experiencing the joys of 'doing nothing'. Now, summer camps replace it all.
Summer camps has become the new fad among parents who want their kids to spend their time productively. They enrol kids into summer camps with the same urgency as school admission. With the advent of nuclear families and double-income-single-child households, summer camps also provide relief to working parents.
The traditional summer camps are usually restricted to crafts, singing, dancing, painting and sports, but gradually camps for acting, cooking, modelling, cartooning, and adventure sports too have made way into the market.
Shruthi Singhal of ILeap Academy says, "We have different themes every week for our summer workshops such as time travel where children are taken back to different eras like Ice Age, Stone Age and Jurassic Park. We teach them how to make fossils with mud and break open fossils. In Stone Age, we showed them how to make caves, stone tools and how people went hunting. We have story telling where they are encouraged to add their own characters to popular stories such as ‘Alice in Wonderland’. We teach them creative writing and art history, where we teach them painting styles of Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock. We try to expose them to art and science."
Another mantra for these summer camps is catch them young.
Vinitha, a parent of a six-year-old said, "I don't want to burden my child during summer holidays. But, since their grasping ability is much higher when they are younger, the learning processs becomes a lot easier." Children are meddling in theatre and acting as well, which is evident by the number of kids who have enrolled in Rangashankara for their summer workshop this time - 445.
Gayatri Krishna of Rangashankara says, "We have film-making, music, shadow puppetry and visual arts workshop taught by the best in the business. Anuroopa Roy is teaching miniature theatre, where they are taught theatre in a small space. Kids do amazing things when they come here. They do backgrounds, scripts on their own and they grasp things well."
The biggest challenge she adds, "was to get kids in the age group 13-16 years since they are hooked to television or playstations."
Rangashankara has stalwarts like Bombay Jayshree teaching music and Koodiayattam exponent Kapila Venu teaching acting, since they believe in inspiring the kids.
With summer camps having sprung up at every nook and cranny, the competition is stiff. But, unless you have something very different to offer it is difficult to make a mark. The key is to mix fun with learning.
Trupti Hattangady from Kara4kids, which conducts gymnastics, team games and treasure hunts for kids in the age group of 2 to 8 years, says, "At this age, the recall value is higher. Though we do not have any evidence of learning, it does percolate over the time." She adds, "One of the reasons being most of the big schools aren’t running summer camps this year is maybe because they have their hands full when it comes to academics."
With kids being spoilt for choice for everything, right from different brands of computer games to toys, why would summer camps offer you anything lesser?