Thursday, 17 April 2014

Occasion cards -Gift them!

A very enjoyable and interesting way to gift cards to your family and your child's friends is to let your child make them herself! A child as young as 3 years can manage a small sized card if she loves to doodle or draw and colour. If your child is old enough to understand the occasion, say for example Dad's birthday or Christmas, then it adds a lot more excitement! 

In India, the system of structured education starts so early (as early as 3+ years) that the responsibility of nurturing creative exploits or even introducing them as a hobby falls wholly on the parent or caretakers at home. For someone as hare-brained as me in matters of hobbying or creative skills, this is quite a daunting task (again, I thank all the brilliant moms all over the web who share their lovely ideas). Faced with the pressure of keeping up with the schoolwork, creativity naturally takes a backseat.

Here in the UK, it is completely the opposite. Formal education does not start before 5 years of age. I am not really a big fan of that; I find it really sad that even a little amount of time is not scheduled in the nursery for learning about certain basic concepts. I think a kind of breakthrough is achieved by the new age schools in India which happily blend the old with the new and manage a balance between the two cultures.

After coming to the UK, a very big idea that I have learnt to appreciate is the importance given to children to explore and develop a sense of individual creativity. The children in the UK have a lot of time to explore pursuits of their own, with active involvement of parents, guardians or even carers at day care. This could be anything, and everything, from exploring colours and textures, nature trails, exploring science activities, crafts and hobbies and what not. And all this is completely unstructured - again something new for me, as I am only exposed to the culture of sending off your child to numerous activity classes to learn everything that is not taught at school. Needless to say, I was captivated. This blog, and all the activities in it, stems from that fascination and the sheer joy of spending precious time with my little one exploring such pursuits. 

So then, we come to this activity of making greeting cards. I would like to tell you that this is a no-brainer, really. Anyone can think of this and it is very satisfying as well. But many among us won't do it because, frankly, when we think of a gifting a card, we think of a beautiful one. One that doesn't have smudges or clumsy figures or sloppy colouring and writing. I have been there too. A year back, when my child would say she's drawing a cat, I would actually try to teach her easy ways to try to draw one, because that's probably how we have grown up. We need to see something resembling the perfect image in our head, on the paper. Personally speaking, and thankfully for my child, I've come a long way from there. Now I don't interfere in her drawing or colouring or sketching or whatever. I'll give you a small example of what this creativity is, that I am talking about.

A brought this home one day from her nursery and her carers had put up a note at the corner of the sheet saying that this is a picture of a sea, as A had made it. She put the glue and picked the embellishments herself and put them randomly on the sheet. It is not a sea to you and me, but then, it could well be the sea, can it not? A was smiling shyly as she showed it to me, because it was HER creation.  This is what I am talking about. I have never seen any such sheet from playschool, summer camp, nursery or activity centre where A went to in Bombay. The sheets there always used to be structured, perfect, beautiful. I'm not trying to be critical here; of course that is good too. But my point is I started appreciating this way of respecting the tiny ones' preferences and thoughts. 

Anyway, I guess I'm digressing. So come Christmas, birthdays, I used to ask A if she would like to draw a picture or a card to gift. If she said yes, which was usually the case, we went about creating those. I also help her with her projects sometimes, but most of the stuff is hers totally. I'm attaching a few beauties here ;-) 

This was an X'mas card that we made for a very dear friend. Santa's beard was done by painting white on A's palm and printing it on the card. Her drawing inside shows her happily jumping on the grass with her younger friend.

Another X'mas card we made for a friend was using A's foot print for the Xmas tree trunk and her hands for the branches and leaves.

A also made a small drawing of her playing in the rain with her friend, who is shown having long hair, and her younger brother.

We made this card for Appa's birthday, again using A's palm and fingers and colouring them cleverly to show a 3 layered cake and candles on top :-)

She made those smileys herself and insisted on writing 'dearest Appa' so that Appa would know that he is indeed her dearest person in the whole world! :-)

We made this birthday card for a friend by using various stamps and colouring them and using finger painting to make flowers. I made the rainbow with glitter glue and A painted the colours.

And this A made at school for Mother's day this time :-) 

That's her picture of me! :-) Haha! Beautiful, ain't I?


  1. Loved the cards, especially the Mother's Day card :p

  2. The happy birthday appa card is ADORABLE!!! And like you rightly said, I think creativity comes from not pressurizing a person to conform to stereotypes. And also, in India, parents are so preoccupied with the hundrum of everyday life as well as academic pressure. We forget that some unstructured chilling out time (not for just the kids, but adults too) can do us a world of good. This is something I am going to strive to follow as a parent.