Today is air force day and that newspapers have splashed pictures of fighter planes. Being an ardent fan and an aspiring pilot (current ambition) P decided to celebrate air force day in his own unique way.
As the city readies itself to welcome the elephant God, Lord Ganesha, P too is drumming up excitement, literally, to welcome his favourite bappa. Every year we do some art activity related to bappa, either a painting, a play dough version, making the procession with blocks etc. This year a newspaper article caught my eye and I knew P would love it too.
A few days back Times of India published a ‘DIY origami Ganesha’. It was too interesting to give it a pass. P and I quickly got to work and made the most adorable origami Ganeshas.
I had to practice it many times before I could teach P. It required a lot of patience and many messed up versions. But it was worth it.
It’s been a while since I have posted our activities – thanks to our various commitments. But P and I have been catching a few hours whenever we can to indulge in our favourite hobby – art. My boy has grown and how! He has a mind of his own and sees possibilities of life in every form around. This is seen in all his art and yes, school work too. Secretly I am loving every bit of it.
He took to drawing hands when he was over with his obsession of drawing elephants, planes and trains. He would constantly trace his hand on drawing sheets, imagining it to be all kinds of things from a rooster to a boy with spikey hair to a bird. It was tough to restrain myself from putting in my two bit – but knowing him he would hear none of it. The hand phase has currently passed but I am hoping the imagination is growing multi fold.
A large part of my life, which was in my hometown, was spent waiting for the annual temple festival at the local temple. It is usually in January/February every year for a week. The whole town practically packs itself tightly in the compound of our Shiva temple to see the lord atop caprisoned elephants majestically walking to the beats of the melam (typical Kerala percussion art). The atmosphere is heady and the air so spiritual and magical that no one left the temple grounds before the Lord called it a day.
Ever since P came into my life, I have fervently wished he could witness the magic, more so because P loves the melam and elephants. However the timing always clashed with our work and school commitments that going to our hometown during the temple festival or ulsavam took the back seat.
Guess someone up there was listening to my wish, as this year we happened to be in our hometown as a family, for the ulsavam. And sure enough we made the most of it. P was initially skeptical about the crowd and all the hustle bustle and wanted to beat a hasty retreat as soon as we made it to the temple. But the minute the majestic caprisioned elephants came out with the Lord, he was wonderstruck.
He insisted on walking and staying really close to the elephants and the melam and went to the extent of following the elephants back to their shelter where they were fed and rested for the following day’s festivities. This became routine for us for the days we were there. I was thrilled that P could experience what I did as a kid.
When he transalated his experience to art, I knew my little boy came back with a big piece of my hometown in his heart.
P’s aunt is a special ed teacher to kindergarten students in the U.S. She has an eclectic group of students and she often talks to them about India and about P.
While teaching about India, she planned a skype session of her students with P, so they can experience hown technology can bring people from different nationalities closer. Both parties were thrilled at the idea and were excited talking to each other. The class had so many questions for P and P, needless to say had endless ones too. Some of them were:
“What is your teacher’s name?, What do you like to do? , Do you know to write? Why are you not in bed. Isn’t it late night in India?”
P’s questions “Do you like my aunt? Is she your favourite teacher? Do you get lot of homework? When do you go to sleep?”
We had to end the happy banter of Q and As. Obviously, the kids wanted more. That’s when my sis-in-law came up with a lovely idea of pen pals. Weeks later we got a big letter from her class with more questions. P was super thrilled to receive a letter in his name – that too a big one.
He immediately sat down to reply and wrote out a longish letter, answering all the questions. He insisted on sending them his painting of his second favourite animal – elephant (first being dogs), which his American friends may not have seen (his logic).
We posted the letter and now he anxiously waits for their reply.
The invite to do an art workshop at the local Art festival was a big surprise and honour for me. I shared my joy with P and he too wanted to be a part of it. I always take him with me for my art workshops so that he can interact with the young and od artists, see their work and just soak in the arty atmosphere.But this one clashed with his school timing and we both moaned over it. Nevertheless I promised I would do a mini one with him first.
I was doing a workshop on Gondh painting – one of India’s oldest tribal art. It is easy yet intricate and has so many possibilities within.
We started off with me drawing a bird for P (for once he settled for something other than a plane). I told him he had to do a basic water wash of some bright colour, and once the paint is dry he can do the Gondh design with anything other than a brush.
He decided he didn’t want to wait for the paint to dry and before I could tell him anything he started doing the Gondh designs with the back of a brush, toothpicks, Q-tips, pencil stubs and just about anything he could get his hands on.
I was a little weary about P’s interest, as Gondh is a constricting art form in a way – it allows just dots and dashes. But my li’l artist took to it and went on to doing a fish too!
Hope next time he will consider the basic colour wash which will give the painting a brighter feel.
The sun is coming down harsh on us and we are back to trying to like hot and sunny days. Sun catchers are a hit with P in terms of making, hanging and admiring for exactly 20 minutes. Soon he is back to his planes and trains.
We have made many sun catchers using different art material, but this one is slightly different as it’s a paper on paper. It is also special to me as it pushed P to think beyond the obvious. This project brought out his skill of working independently and jogged his left brain to think, imagine and express his ideas.
What you will need
Crepe paper – bright coloured
Mix of fevicol and water
Cut out various bright coloured crepe paper and place it in a bowl. Mix fevicol and water, either 2:1 or 1:1, whatever suits you. Get your child to fill the coloured strips on the parchment paper and allow it to dry.
Once dry ask her/him what the design looks like to them. Get them to outline the shape using a marker. Cut, punch a hole and hang it in a sunny corner of your home.
The idea is to get the child imagine and express. Don’t worry about preciseness of shape and design or the logic.
P thought one looked like an elephant (predictable as the elephant phase continue), one a lion, one a sleeping dog and one a happy sun in the solar system. P’s sleeping dog resembled the sun with a long tail to me till he gave me a long explanation and convinced me it looked like a dog. The sun had taken a moon from Uranus to play – explanation for a blue crepe paper inside the sun’s pink and purple face.
The fact that he could see what I couldn’t and convinced me made my day sunnier!