New Delhi: The most awaited event in a school student`s calendar - the summer vacation - leaves even the most devoted parents shaking in their boots. Many scout for summer workshops. But for those who cannot afford these annual rituals or don`t want to, the solution could simply lie in picking up the paintbrush or going online.
"I set up an art studio in the building where we live and gave my daughter paints, big sheets of paper and brushes. Then I set her free to explore and show her hidden talent," said Anamika Nanda, mother of eight-year-old Deesha.
Nanda also believes that spending vacations at home is the only option left because of soaring prices. She says she can`t afford to send her child to a summer workshop and it is not economical for the family to go for a vacation every year.
"It`s a tough time for common people as the prices of essential commodities are spiralling out of control. So planning a vacation every now and then is a tough task for middle class people. We prefer to engage our kids with indoor activities like watching movies, or inviting their friends home and playing video games," she added.
There are many online games based on mathematics, arts and language which are both informative and entertaining. These games are freely available on the websites like academicskillbuilders.com, freegamesjungle.com and lilgames.com.
"Today, children are growing up in a technologically advanced world. They have various sources of entertainment. Kids in the age group of 6-14 years get easily attracted by online games," said Ankur Sharma, a child psychologist.
"The positive aspect about these games is that children learn very quickly as there is an element of entertainment involved. Also, through these online games, their perceptual and cognitive skills improve drastically which helps develop their learning capabilities," he added.
There are parents who feel that spending time at home during summer holidays is the best way of spending quality time with their children, a rarity in today`s hectic life.
"Quality time is not about planning something extraordinary, it`s about everyday activities which are transformed by the intensity with which they are experienced. It is our responsibility to make children realise their hidden talent and harness the positive energy in them," said Nanda.
She also said it is necessary for parents to participate in children`s activities.
"Don`t leave the room when your kids go to play their latest videogame. Ask for advice and tips on how to improve and challenge them to competitions," she said.
"Also, make television watching a shared family activity and encourage debate and discussion around favourite shows. If you feel your child is always using social media then think about ways you can turn it into shared activity," she said.
"Set up a Facebook fan page about a shared interest or run your own farm on Farmville together."