Riddles and Puzzles for kids by Hachette

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This is a collection of quizzes and puzzles for 9 to 13 year olds, published by Hachette India.

While we do like the Crosswords and Word searches, the Kid’s Book of Awesome Riddles is quite interesting and takes the first preference in solving the problems.

It has word problems, Math problems and brain teasers that is sure to keep weekends busy. Each of these books are priced at Rs 250 each.

One of them lists as When you don’t need me you ignore me. But whenever you make a mistake you run to me for help. What am I?

Another one is What belongs to you but your family and friends use it more often than you?

Mums and Stories gives these books 4 on 5. They make for parent child bonding time, weekend activities as mentioned and even as great birthday gifts.

Farida Rizwan thanks her special child for making her independent and to be a risk taker in life.

Meet Farida Rizwan who has battled several obstacles including a life threatening ailment at an advanced stage to the continuous journey of raising a special child. She also runs a preschool and daycare called My Giggle Garden where inclusivity of special needs children is a norm. She is also a counselor, psychotherapist and working  on bringing in inclusion in preschool level for all children.

Sharing her story with Mums and Stories, Farida shares, “ I grew up in Kadugodi, near Whitefield in Bangalore. If I have to share one of my best childhood memories, I would say that it would be on coming second in local inter- school running race despite having clubfoot. It gave me immense confidence and belief in my ability.”

When asked on how she has been a fighter all along, Farida shares, “Fighter may not be the right word because I don’t fight. The truth is I do not surrender to whatever tries to pull me down that includes III  stage breast cancer, which  I was diagnosed with 24 years ago.

Circumstances earlier made me a single parent as my husband has lived in gulf 90% of the time. Somehow I feel  when I look back on my life journey that troubles or more appropriately challenges take a liking to me. I deal with it first by acceptance and later by tackling it head-on. Without accepting you have a problem, you never find solution to it.”

(The inspiring mum Farida Rizwan with her kids)

On her children including a son and a daughter, Farida says, “ We all are nervous about uncertainty and I cannot be an exception. Though even regular children are unpredictable, most of the parents believe in a dream of what their child can be. They may dream of a school, college, job, and even marriage of their children. Off course not all those dreams come true, but the right to dream takes away their insecurities.

But with a special child, you cannot have those regular dreams which creates uncertainty and that causes nervousness in most of the people.

I was nervous as well. But slowly I gained knowledge about life and our mortality.

If not for my daughter and my resolve to stand for her, I wouldn’t be the strong person I turned out to be. I owe it to her that I am independent woman today, making my own decisions, granting me permissions and taking my risks with abandon.

Friends and family help with their support, but there are times when you have to face all alone. That is when I realized my own potential and also started respecting myself.

Children give you the motivation to live. They did not change me, but they made me get in touch with who I really am. It was through them today I realize who I really am without all those doctrines, pressures and labels given to me. They inspired me to fight cancer with all my might. Without my children, I sometimes feel I may have ended as a person who tries to please people by doing chores around home.

The day I accepted my daughter has special needs by giving up denial which lasted few days. It hurt but I healed soon after that.”

Talking about Cancer, Farida shares with Mums and Stories, “ Cancer for me has been as a passing phase of life that changed me emotionally, physically, and intellectually forever. There is no freedom from cancer, because doctors say ‘NED’ (no evidence disease) rather than saying cured. But, today doesn’t mean you have to take it seriously and live in fear. I have lived much better  life post cancer because I realized the value of life and how I can lose it anytime.

Things happen in our life for reason. We have to find the reason that suits our positivity. Children are a part of us, yet they are independent individuals. We should not nurture dreams for them, but allow them to have their own dreams and nurture it for them. “

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lego City 60222 Snow Groomer review on Mums and Stories

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Receiving a lego through courier is something that the child awaits with enough excitement. It’s almost a feeling where nothing else can replace the waiting time and the moment it arrives it’s time for unwrapping in the quickest possible time.

So we received this product for a review and we must say we are not at all disappointed particularly once I actually saw the child trying variations in the set product. The last few weekends have been having additional holidays and this is one engaging toy for 6 to 13 year olds.

Lego City Snow Groomer is a toy that has 197 pieces, intended to build a vehicle that aids in clearing snow so that the ski individual toy can play along. The Lego City 60222 comes with a rotating snow cannon and these cannon pieces are slightly smaller in size, but the fun part is when they do shoot away from the cannon. There is concern of them getting lost so one has to be careful when assembling or using these pieces.

(Easy to follow instruction manual set according to kid’s understanding)

Perfect as a winter toy and even more great if kids can relate to snow seen in real life during vacations or even on television or if they have read in books.

So there is a driver and a skier figurine and assembling the snow groomer gives the real life association to vehicles and tools like the segmented tracks and even the plow blade. The toy comes with easy visual and instruction manual that it can be done quite comfortably.

The toy is far easier for 9 to 12 year olds and maybe 6-7 year olds will require some assistance or someone like the parent to help in assembling the toy.

(A miniature helicopter created from the toy).

What we loved even better is the options that can be made apart from the snow clearing vehicle. So we had the tractor and a helicopter created too with the same set of pieces.

(The child thinks of creating a tractor using one of his favorite Lego toys-60222)

Along with other Lego toys this makes for a great addition to the collection and also as wonderful gift.

Mums and Stories gives it 4.5 over 5.

Two Epics in One Ramayana and Mahabharata for kids Devdutt Pattanaik

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From our experience, we can say that reading up both Ramayana and Mahabharata isn’t easy for kids.

Even though there are multiple characters in other stories, these two epics seem to be a bit of challenge for younger kids.

Here’s an author who’s increasingly become popular in reinterpreting classics and this time Devdutt Pattanaik has written two of the all time epics, the classics Ramayana as the Girl who Chose from Sita’s perspective and The Boys who fought as Mahabharata.
What we loved about the book is that it’s truly easy for young readers from 9 to 12 years to understand the story. The child at home finished reading The Boys who fought, Mahabharata story in one reading non stop in two hours.

The illustrations by Devdutt are eye catchy and relatable to the story. There are lot of Did you know facts as blobs which make the reading interesting.

Also unlike several interpretations where Sita in the story seems to be victimized, The Girl Who Chose gives her the power to dictate her life journey.

Apart from the easy language there are boxes with interesting research and meanings of mythology. Did you know Asuras are not the same as Rakshasas. Asuras are Kashyapa’s children while Rakshasas are Pulatsya’s. Asuras live under the Earth and they fight the Devas who live above the sky. Rakshasas live in the forest, follow the law of the jungle and fight humans who live in civilized societies.

In the second part of the book when you flip over you find the Mahabharata retold for children. Here’s an excerpt:

Krishna met the Pandavas in the forest, comforted them and promised to take care of their children while they were away. The Pandavas wanted to go to war against the Kauravas immediately, but Krishna advised them to keep their word and fulfill the conditions of the gambling match.

In the forest, the Pandavas were attacked by many rakshasas, like Kirmira and Jata. But Bhima defeated them all. They also met many sages who told them many stories including that of Sita and Ram and discussed many philosophies. The Pandavas lived in caves and travelled to several pilgrimage spots.
Mums and Stories loved it and gives it 4 on 5.

Can a religious destination be a good holiday option? The Golden Temple and its magic

It began a few months ago when we informed the child at home that we will be visiting a different destination, in fact close to the border and it would be a different religious shrine.

As plans were getting formalized with flight schedules, our other destinations being chalked out , we had soon questions coming in for the different kind of temple.

(Lost looking at the shiny and peaceful shrine).

As someone who does loves travelling and also travelling in comfort and being sure we don’t hurt offend anyone or any culture, I had read enough on visiting the Golden Temple. The rules or expectations of covering the head for men and women including children, appropriate clothing and so on. These are simple rules and surely one can embrace it wholeheartedly as it teaches everyone at home to adhere to customs, etiquettes and of course a great learning curve for everyone.

This also gave us as adults an opportunity to research, talk about and even find books that talk on Sikhism or warriors who took part in the Freedom Struggle. We also realised it also gave an opportunity to talk on customs, beliefs, culture, our ways of praying at home, something we don’t talk in routine conversations.

We reached the Golden Temple late in the evening after our visit to the Wagah Border. It was quite a different and unique experience to see a border that has so many battles in its history and people over there separated by a gate.

 

(Crowds that cheer non stop at the Wagah Border)

The first view of the temple mesmerized us and it looked much more beautiful than whatever I had read on the Internet. We did visit the next day too but I would strongly recommend visiting the shrine once if possible in the night. It also helps in avoiding long queues, the weather is pleasant and breezy and you can spend time sitting around the lake. We spent about two hours close to midnight before it closes for sometime and re-opens again early morning.

Amritsar of course is popular because of the Golden Temple but it also has one of the best cuisines offered. Be it food sold by street vendors or the more popular ones like Brothers dhaba adjacent to Partition museum, the food is simply outstanding. We suggest you forget about calorie intake and go in for the food as it is quite irresistible.

 

(Delicious meal at Brothers or Pra da Dhaba)

Amritsar the religious destination has enough things to offer and it is one of those destinations that can keep a visitor engaged with various other activities apart from the visit to the holy shrine.

The Partition museum is a great must-do activity for adults and kids who are nine and above to understand concepts like war, why it needs to be avoided and even to get empathy from kids to understand countless people from both countries went through.

 

(Partition museum at Amritsar)

The bylanes and the main path leading to the shrine is closed for vehicles beyond a point and it almost depicts like a exotic destination with pleasant soft lighting across the streets. From toys to artificial jewellery to clothing, tourists can definitely pick something to take back home.

 

Our stay at Saraghari Sarai was without fanfare yet with modern amenities like Air conditioned rooms, clean and spacious rooms and washrooms. The only drawback was there wasn’t any availability of hot water for a shower but except that this is one of the best rooms that we have stayed in an economical price. It is also at a walking distance to good food joints and Golden Temple which makes it a great choice.

(Our stay at Amritsar -Saraghari Sarai))

For those who want to ring in a different holiday where history is rich, religious significance is rich and so is cuisine that is absolutely finger licking, you should have Amritsar on your holiday list.

Let’s Get Outdoors by Mums and Stories

Mums and Stories brings once again Let’s get Outdoors

Join us for a fun Sunday morning outing of storytelling, games like Hopscotch, Playing traditional games like Gooli aata and Kho Kho.

Limited Registrations event.

Venue- Cubbon Park

Time- 11.00 to 12.30 noon

Tickets are priced at 250 per child, per ticket.

Age 4 to 8 years.

Mums and Stories is an initiative to connect, engage and be of relevance to mums and children. Inspiring stories on moms are published on its platform on www.mumsandstories.com and the platform organises events, campaigns and interesting initiatives.

Payment Link-https://www.instamojo.com/@mumsandstories/lf5791487eb6349908b3952219d070cc5/

Email us at mumsandstories@gmail.com

N for Nourish Book review on Mums and Stories

It’s a continuous thread of conversation at home or whenever we go out for eating with the child at home, that we as adults never had so many eating options and hence we had less junk food.

There are numerous options for food now with world cuisines coming straight on to your plate, either it can be cooked at home or one can step out to have it in the restaurant.

However is all the constant intake of cuisines good for the body? How can adults make kids understand when they themselves are getting tempted by various options?

So here’s a book on food, nutrition and what are kids eating generally these days, in urban context. Written by Pooja Makhija, published by Puffin books.

Yes we do believe it’s important to have food conversations at home as kids need to understand what are healthy foods and why there is an immediate need to curb unnecessary indulgences or importance of home cooked food.
The book details on foods that have minerals, vitamins, essentials and why it is important to know on proportions and even factors like sleep or what is normal pee or poop like.

Uncomfortable questions and diagrams, yet essential for growing kids to know what is right for the body.

Questions that teenagers generally have regarding skin, hair, body types are addressed.

 

We found the book interesting and surely good enough to start food conversations at home, healthier options, why everyone particularly kids growing up regardless of their gender need to learn to cook, respect food and value what we have on our plate.

Teresa Rehman’s BulletProof makes you wonder on mums taking up extreme risk careers

Some of us as mums work at home and a few in addition work outside home. This could also mean managing both seamlessly or able to manage one better than the other. It’s time as mothers we recognize that no one fits into the ideal mum situation as to what needs to be chosen or prioritized  in life.

Likewise here is a mum who is an author, more importantly she is a journalist who has chosen hardcore journalism as her forte.

In her book, Bulletproof, the author-mum Teresa Rehman from Assam says, “ Journalism has split my life into several parallel streams; mother, homemaker and storyteller. My daughter is used to a mother who works in a jiffy, then comes back and drowns herself in a laptop. The younger one is too young to notice. My sister finds it annoying when I sometimes forget to change her diaper for hours or give her a bath when I am too engrossed in work.

From meeting several individuals who are trained to hold and use weapons, guns, bombs like it were an ordinary item of our daily life, the book Bullet Proof gives the reader enough points to ponder why did the author as a woman, as a mum chose this profession or take so much risk to get that story?

A short excerpt shared here, “ I check my phone for messages. I make plans for lunch as I finish writing my report. It’s difficult to work from home as one tends to lose track of time. I check the news browser and read about a bomb being sent to a newspaper office in Imphal, Manipur. I wonder if I will be able to handle if I were in a similar situation. I text my husband to tell him this. I have never had any safety or first-aid training.

I start pondering the next list of story ideas to send to my editor in Delhi. Just then the phone rings and one of my trusted sources on the other side of the phone sounds thrilled. He tells me that he has a scoop for me, but I will have to wait till the next morning. I will have to drive down to the highway towards Nalbari in lower Assam and then wait for instructions.

The next morning, I hired a cab and embark on my journey as directed. I am asked to stop in between a stone quarry and a primary health centre. I wait patiently for the next call and peer out of the car window. A lorry carrying sand passes by and I squirm as my face is smeared with sand particles. I am uneasy. Just then the phone rings again and gives me fresh set of instructions. ‘Proceed another 3 kilometers and then you will get a tea shop to your right. Tell the tea shop owner that you want the book.’

‘Book?’ I am perplexed. Did I come all the way to collect a book-a goddamned book? What kind of book must it be? Could it be a manuscript of a potboiler by a militant leader?

Nevertheless, I move ahead as instructed. After a point, I notice the tea shop. As I walk up, I can see the tea shop owner busy moving the ladle in a kettle. I can see boiled eggs laid out neatly at the counter along with knock-off brands of potato chips and candies. I am slightly out of breath as I hastily tell, ‘ I have come for the book’. The owner stops for a while and stares at me.  I guess he didn’t expect a woman to come and ask him for a book. He moves aside and makes a quick call. I have a feeling that he is trying to confirm.

Reluctantly, he turns around and picks up a packet wrapped in polythene from the wooden shelf and hands it to me. Finally! I have the ‘Book’ I make my way out and run to the car. As I make myself comfortable, I open the packet and see a handful of photocopies of meticulously written notes in Assamese. I am baffled. I start reading it. Patiently. It takes me some time to realize that it is indeed a scoop! I have the diary of ULFA leader Hira Sarania.”

Right from meeting dreaded militants to reporting from conflict zone to understand why individuals do certain actions or pursue certain causes, Teresa Rehman has over the years managed to beak many barriers. It is the work of a journalist and many others who work in extreme stress, conflict, reporting from areas that are secluded and flirting with the danger. She has even spoken of a her work making her be in space amidst firing and even seeing a psychologist with much reluctance, post covering a fake encounter in Manipur.

Mums and Stories loved it and it would be a must-read for mums to know of a few mothers who choose unconventional careers.

 

 

Puffin Books for kids to read this September

Subjects like Math, History and even Science can get boring or tedious to study when it comes to academic schedules. But here are three books from Puffin, an imprint of Penguin Random House that intend to make certain subjects interesting.

Let’s do this together by Lubaina Bandukwala and Vineeta Kanoria takes on Math in a lively and fun way with problems, largely word problems turned into stories for kids in varying age groups.

Divided into really easy, easy and tough ones, the book is a good read for 5 to 9 year olds. One of the stories goes like this: Big black clouds gathered outside Shirin’s window. Shirin was too busy playing with her building blocks, so didn’t notice them at first. But when it began to rain, the little girl ran to the window. First a few drops fell on her windowpane with a plop, plop, plop. How many drops had fallen on Shirin’s window? Then came 5 more. How many drops had fallen there in all?

The book is a good practice of Math for 5 to 9 year olds and can be even taken as fun puzzles during get togethers with kids.

We would have preferred an answer sheet too, yet we found the book interesting and loved it too.

Next on our list is a History book with a lot of character!

Parvati Sharma’s introspection on the important year 1857 and introducing historical figures from India, in pre-Independence era is a pure delight. What adds equal relevance are the appropriate illustrations by Meghana Menon. Rattu and Poorie, very unlikely names for young girls in India are siblings and the book is on Rattu’s temperament, her wild imagination and how the sequence of events unfolds.

The Battle of Plassey is the backdrop and the story in parts dips into important characters like Rani Laxmi Bai, the Peshawa from the Marathas, Azmilluah Khan and why collectively Indians fought against the British. This year was important and almost a trial round of Indian battle of evicting the British empire, prior to the 1947 era.

The book is fun, gets into sensitive subjects like how to deal with bullies and ideal for 8 to 12 year olds.

Third on our list to a recommended reading list is 31 Fantastic Adventures in Science.

Now this book is like a resource with lots of information as a biography of the 31 Women Scientists featured. Written and researched by Nandita Jayaraj and Aashima Freidog, illustrations by Upasana Agarwal, the book is a great read for 12 to 15 year olds.

An ode to amazing women with their backgrounds the book gives an insightful picture on how the women started in the field of Science , their progress, their achievements, and even various professions they have pursued in the field of Science. One can become a CEO of a Pharma company or Cancer Biologist or Palaeobiologist and so forth.

Many of these professions sound new but they are inspiring and interesting, good enough for young minds to be get interested and take it up further in their own lives.

As a Palaeobiologist, Devapriya Chattopadhyay, one of the icons featured spends her days looking for the answer on what was life like a the bottom of the sea 65 million years ago, not with any time machine but with fossils. The first time DevaPriya went fossil hunting, she was on her own. And the sheer joy of discovering ancient objects like the molluscs made her wanting to do this all her life. Every year, DevaPriya and her team travel to the westernmost part of India -Kutch. Did you know Kutch was once under the ocean?

This explains why it is rich in marine fossils even though now it is dry and barren. This interesting Scientist also has a laboratory and an aquarium where she keeps real, live molluscs creatures.

Other icons like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who studied to become a brewmaster finally found her calling in starting a business and research on enzymes. The company Biocon is one of the leading companies and India’s largest biotechnical company.

Many more interesting women and the work they do are featured like the astrophysicist Nandita Srivastava whose favourite sun-viewing spot is the Udaipur Solar Observatory. Nandita a solar astronomer predicts weather in space and has won awards for her work on solar eruptions.

This book requires detailed attention and a great resource for young minds who wonder what are the prospects in Science.

Mums and Stories found all the three books very interesting and loved it.

 

 

Anuradha HR talks on why it is important to differentiate beauty from fitness. Plus size is beautiful too.

Anuradha HR who runs the Untitled Space in Bangalore shares with Mums and Stories her journey of being a theatre person, actor, director, entrepreneur and mum. She shares, “ I had a very normal and typical middle class family childhood. I was in college when I discovered theatre. It was a conscious career choice. But theatre does not earn money so had to take up corporate job.

Now I also run an alternative space for the community and artists to engage and collaborate in the arts. It is like a local cultural living room.”

Talking about bringing out theatrical concepts for plus size bodied people or even talking about it comfortably in the scrutinizing world of having thinner versions of women.

Anuradha shares, “ I have always been a fat person. I think all body shapes are beautiful. The aesthetics about body needs change. The difference between fitness and beauty is getting blurred and hence it is important to speak about our relations with our bodies, and accept it.”

 

This weekend she is acting in a play that is being staged at Rangashankara, titled Head 2 Head. The synopsis of the play is “Am I a good actor even though I am fat? “How does being in this body shape me as an actor?” “Did Shakespeare say Hamlet was lean?”

Anuradha shares in an introspective manner, “ The play has been In search of answers to these questions, The Big Fat Company plays with Hayavadana and has come up with Head 2 Head, a unique devised theatre performance. By using sections of the iconic Kannada play by Girish Karnad, it interrogates identity and archetypes, and the mind-body (dis)connection.

An important question for actors with large bodies who deal with this quandary on a daily basis is: Where does identity lie: head or body? Or both

We also examine the body of politics and politics of the body we encounter during our own work as individuals and as a community. We explore prevailing archetypes in the theatre industry in the guise of actors working on a play, using humor to re-look at the fat body.

Lastly, as fat actors, the ‘main’ (read meaty) roles generally go to the thin actors. Playing the main protagonists in an iconic play has its own thrill!”

 

(Anuradha with her daughter).

Talking on being a mum Anuradha says, “ It is very difficult to do the juggling role since I balance on two professions and being a single mom. There is always a struggle to find time for myself.”

Mums and Stories applauds such inspiring mums who do not get bullied by body shaming but are not only voicing their opinion and making spaces and acceptance for everyone. Here’s wishing Anuradha and the team the very best for the play and future endeavours.

(All photographs are subject to copyright).