By Azera Rahman
New Delhi : This summer, get ready to sit back and enjoy a book authored and designed by your little daughter, or listen to a soulful piece of music played on the guitar by your school-going son.
For, if they have registered for summer workshops, these delights and more are coming your way.
Be it dance, music and drama or swimming, tennis and other sports, or painting, puppetry, origami, cookery, glass painting and self-defence, the workshops open up a whole new world for children.
The National Museum in the capital, for instance, is organising a month-long session for children in June.
"The children will be taken on tours of the museum and then asked to paint and make clay models of whatever they want. They will then be evaluated. There will be a workshop for teachers as well where they will be given lectures on various topics," R.R.S. Chauhan, director of exhibitions and public relations at the museum, told IANS.
"We have had a very good response. There is no limit as such to the number of children we are going to take. It's on a first-come-first-serve basis." And all this free of cost.
Summer workshops like these ensure that holidays are a perfect time to learn a new skill while having fun and, of course, give parents more than one reason to smile.
After a hectic schedule of endless classes, assignments, exams and compulsory extracurricular activities, the summer vacations bring respite for children. But as two months of holidays begin, many parents begin to wonder if playing games and watching TV will keep the children entertained the right way.
That's exactly where the workshops step in, aptly organised during school vacations and lasting not more than a month or two.
India Habitat Centre (IHC) is organising a month-long workshop until June 25, where various arts will be taught by different organisations or individuals within a five- to 15-day period.
For instance, Katha, a publishing house, will teach 10-14-year-olds the art of bookmaking from June 4-8 at IHC. "In this age of cinema, Internet and video games, we are trying to bring the charm of books back to the children.
"By teaching them the nuances of bookmaking, right from building up the plot to drawing the characters, the layout, illustrations, binding and deciding a cover, we want to capture the interest of the children and channelise it towards more reading," said Amrita Talwar of Katha.
There are workshops on charcoal painting, photography, playing the guitar, storytelling, cartoon making, puppetry, origami, magic tricks, pottery, clay making and making recycled craft.
Every workshop is demarcated for a particular age group and the registration fee varies.
The National School of Drama (NSD) is organising a summer workshop for children that will be on till June 10. Unlike most others, however, enrolling for NSD's workshop is no mean task.
"We had hundreds of applications but we selected only 90, 30 in each category of 8-10, 10-12 and 12-16 years. At the end of the session they will be awarded certificates," said a member of NSD.
Even the National Railway Museum in the capital is organizing a children's workshop besides numerous individual initiatives at their homes.
Rubina Ahmed, a human rights activist whose eight-year-old daughter's summer vacation has just begun, is planning to enrol her in a summer workshop close to her home.
"My friend who stays close by is an expert in glass and tile painting. She also does some fantastic flower arrangements. A casual suggestion one day that she should probably teach the craft to kids in the area was quickly lapped up by others.
"Hence six children are going to her place in the mornings. And they are all looking forward to it," Ahmed said.
Abhay Kumar, a 12-year-old student of Delhi Public School, is planning to go for a guitar-learning workshop at IHC. "I have always wanted to play the guitar but I didn't know where I could learn it. The other day my aunt mentioned about the workshop at IHC, so that's it!"
Now who wouldn't want a summer vacation like that?