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March 2011 Activities

We are happy to report that kids (ages 5-11) are enjoying the activities and are enthusiastic. Following is a brief (not an exhaustive) list of learning activities that the kids were involved during the month of March 2011. Please note that the theory and terminology mentioned here was not emphasized at this stage and would be given to them at an appropriate time later. This is the time for the kids and us to understand that there is science, reading, writing, maths, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills spread all around us to appreciate and be excited about.

Science and Arts n Crafts Activities

1.    Boat locomotion in water. Kids designed a boat using different pieces cut from a plastic biryani box and then attaching a rotating pedal with an elastic band.  Elastic force rotates the plastic pedal wheel pushing the water back and moving the boat forward.  (Science + design creativity)

2.    Newton’s Third Law and law of conservation of momentum: Kids attached the balloon to a straw on a string held horizontal. Rocket balloon propelled forward on a string by backward thrust of the rushing out air.  (Science n design creativity)

3.    Burning a candle in a upside down glass immersed in water consumes the air inside, creating space that is filled by water rising up in the glass. Oxygen is part of the air which occupies space. Whence burned enables the space to be filled up by water.  (Science)

4.    Foaming Monster: Kids designed a monster with an empty plastic bottle by attaching hands, feet, face features etc . Then it was filled with vinegar, soda and liquid washing soap and some color. The monster started frothing out foam from its mouth. Chemical reaction: Vinegar + soda bicarbonate produces carbon-dioxide which foams due to soap liquid bubbles. (science + design creativity)

5.    Snake charming: Kids cut snake from a figure made on paper, colored it. Then created static charge on a plastic scale that attracted the snake and lifted it up. Static electricity is produced when electrons leave or enter a substance through friction. (Science + design creativity).

6.    Hovering butterfly: Kids measured the glazed paper according to the dimensions of their shoe boxes, then cut the paper and pasted it around the box. Cut a shape of butterfly on paper, cut it and then clipped it and then hanged it with a string in the box. Then the clip was lifted with the help of the magnet. Butterfly hovered and appeared to fly. (Science + math’s + design creativity). Magnetism and motor skills.

7.    Leaf printing; Collected leaves from outside, painted the leaves and lifted the print of the leaf on the paper. Noticed the construction of a leaf and its capillaries standing out due to the paint. (Nature + art creativity).

8.    Computer familiarity and typing tutor. Small kids learned using the computer mouse. Elders practiced learning to type on computer without looking at the keyboard.

9.    Research and Ideas Generation: Kids spent the time searching and looking for activities that they would like to do on their own. Kids have to try to read the instructions, prepare the list of required materials, estimate the costs of materials, and they would then do the experiments with the help of given materials. Our objective is to enable the kids to be designing and selecting the activities of their choices.

10. Modeling with Plaster of Paris; Chemical reaction solidified the plaster of Paris when mixed with water in a disposable glove. Later the glove was cut off leaving behind shape of the hand. On removing the glove rubber, two of the fingers of the solidified model of hand broke off because there were no bones holding the material. (Science + craft).

11. All the children then used various moulds to construct their models with the help of plaster of Paris. Demonstration of liquid changing to solid and retaining the shape of the container. (Science and craft).

12. Photo frames construction with paper as part of the origami. Coloring, and sprinkling of glitter. Creative ideas with paper. Geometry with paper (Arts n Craft and geometry)

13. Origami: Snowflakes construction with paper. Creative ideas with coloring and glitter. Regular structures and symmetry (Arts n craft).

14. Beam of light traveling through a tiny stream of water coming out from a small hole in a darkened coke bottle on one side and keeping the corresponding other side clear from where light was shone. The light followed tiny stream of water bending after coming out from the bottle. (Light and refraction) Science + craft ideas.

15. Origami; constructing a box from a plane paper. Creative ideas and coloring and painting. Geometric shapes such as a rectangular prism (Arts n Craft and geometry).

16. Weaving ideas using interleaving of paper strips and coloring. Origami. Creative ideas. Concepts of interleaving, things that are in front and behind and how do they give strength. (Arts n Craft).

17.  Capillary action through tooth picks. How water follows the capillaries inside the wood and causes it to swell and change the shape. The principle through which water travels up the stem and branches of a tree. (Science).

18. Making a 16 page book from a single piece of paper without the use of any glue, tape or stapling. Creative ideas with paper. Exploring symmetry and geometric shapes (Arts n Craft and geometry).

19. Computer sessions. Learning to type and use of various keys. Understanding various messages given by the computer. (Computer, research and writing)

20. Research work using the books of science and craft ideas. (Reading and exploration and R&D).

21. Separation of a mixture of sand, salt and iron fillings. Demonstration that a mixture contains different materials that retain their physical properties even when mixed. Thus iron fillings physical property is to be attracted by magnet. This is used to separate the iron fillings from the mixture. Salt’s property is that it gets dissolved in water. This is used to separate salt from sand. Sand is left behind. Salt water when evaporated leaves behind salt. (Science and logical)

22. Greeting cards for the loved ones were made. (Writing, creativity and design).

23. Exploration of different activities through the experiments book (reading)

24. Pot painting; painting of small vases and preparation for the growth of bajra plants. (arts n craft and nature)

25. Thread painting. Creative ideas generation by removing thread dripped in paint from a folded paper. Opening of paper reveals intricate designs. Movement under friction. (Creativity and arts).

26. Karela bitter painting and pasting. Use of every day items such as vegetables to generate creative ideas for arts. (Creativity does not require expensive things)

27. Crazy custard: Chemical changes. Observing how different substances change their forms when mixed or allowed to react with each other. Hardening of the mixture water and custard powder. The hardened mixture can become so thick that it can even be walked upon. Observations like these makes the kids sensitive to changes happening around them. This activates their interest. (Science and observation).

28. Chemical reaction: Making Carbon dioxide gas. Vinegar, soda and observe candle getting extinguished. Carbon dioxide is a gas that is every where. It can be produced through a chemical reaction of vinegar reacting with baking soda giving out the gas. Carbon dioxide’s presence is demonstrated by the extinguishing of the candle. Candle burns only in the presence of oxygen. Carbon dioxide production extinguishes the flame. (Science and logical)

29. Corrugated sheets use for making a flute with different size straws. Air when it passes through different size of tubes where the frequency with which they give sound depends upon the size of the tube. Size of the tube relates to the frequency of the sound. (Science and Logical )

30. Spirit video and the elements of Iqbal's dua "rooh ki tarap", "qalb ko garma", "zinda tammunna", "riffat may maqasid ko", "khud daari-e-sahil", "aazaadi e Darya", "wusaat e sehra", "soo e haram lay chul", "dekha hay jo kuch may nay auroN ko bhi dikhla dey", …. Exploration of the concepts of self independence, self esteem, independence of mind, spirit. Love of nature. Surmounting and overcoming heavy odds in order to achieve our objectives in life. (Mapping of poetry to sublime concepts).

Regular Daily activities at Hyde Park or Literary Club

·         Qirat. Day starts with the kids volunteering to recite a few verses from Quran and to recite the duas.

·         There is a regular recitation of dua by Iqbal “lub pay aati hay dua …”. Kids have now learned the dua..

·         There were naat sessions by special guests Mrs. Ausaf Husain in her melodious voice.

·         Recitations by Dr Irfan Hyder:

  •  “Dilli darbar” by Akbar Allahbadi,
  •  Hafeez jalandhri’s nazm “dharma dum dharm of a camel, jackal and a wolf”. The implications of lying. How lies can be dangerous.
  • Leigh Hunt’s “Abou Bin Adham”. Highlighting the importance of service to the people. How Allah loves those more who spend their time in helping others who deserve.
  • Nazir Akbarabadi’s “Aakhir may wohi ik Allah ka ik naam rahay ga”
  • Sufi tabassum’s “Geeto gray, jis kay do mort hay…”
  • Sufi tabassum’s “Suriya ki guria”
  • Sufi Tabassum’s “tot batot ka murgha”
  • Riddles in poems.
  • Stories from books.
  • Iqbal’s poem. Mukri or makhi. Lesson for not being gullible in our life.
  • Iqbal’s poem. Dua “Ya rub dil e Muslim ko who zinda tamanna day, joh rooh ko tarpa dey”.

·         Our facilitators Sara Hyder and Farhat Khurram also gave their performances in naat and recitations.

·         Kids are participating daily in relating jokes, riddles, and telling short stories.

·         There are regular book readings by several kids each day.

·         Pet show where kids brought their own pets and gave small presentations.

·         Storytelling and reading of books.

·         Act out of various words. Development of connection between actions, meaning and gestures. Our body language is the most important part of communication. We are not effective leaders and managers because of our inability to communicate forcefully our ideas. This activity frequently performed in groups and individually enables the kids to use forms of communication other than the words. 

Note: Remember the sequence: Reading before writing, and listening before speaking.

·             Kids enjoyed kasauti asking all sorts of things and animals and the kids trying to guess their names.

·        Story completion by kids, recitation by various kids of the poems that they knew. Reading of stories in English by several kids. Khadija recited a poem written by her father.

·         Kids are taking immense interests. Even some of the earlier shy ones are now taking interest. One of the kid actually goes on telling and constructing the story on the fly whether others are listening or not.

·         Students have shown a great improvement and are now picking up the books and reading them on their own or flipping pages during the reading session. Reading for some time is encouraged every day.

·         There is a great interest in exercise and games. We expect kids to volunteer for various physical activities, design new games to be played with the others.

·         One of the kid wrote a small reflective description of being a bird. This segment was a surprise one and we are going to encourage the kids to write some thing and bring it back.

Activities History and Suggestion Board (Writing and Organizing)

    Activities history and suggestion board has been designed to develop in the kids an ability to write diaries and develop their reflective journals. The history and suggestion board enables the kids to start writing and to make their writing purposeful.

·             Kids are posting as many activities as possible in daily exhibit on the notice board. Kids are putting down what they are doing by writing small chits and pinning them up. This board would enable the kids to volunteer for the activities and incorporate the suggestions of the parents coming to us about the design of activities.

·        This board is also showing the kids importance of time management and scheduling. Their suggestions may not be taken up if they are not properly scheduled.

Physical/Health Club (Development of team skills and interpersonal skills.

Kids do daily some physical training, racing and exercise. This is followed by a visit to the playground where they go on the swings and other games or play football or cricket. Here they are developing interpersonal skills. Please do not under estimate the importance of the learning they are getting in the play ground. These interpersonal skills are required in future for them to become leaders and managers.

It is very interesting to note how the kids are learning to play together. They are learning leadership, following the lead, conflict resolution, justice, fair play, rules and other mechanisms that enable large organizations to work and prosper.

Kids were found to be struggling and trying to overcome the following interpersonal and intrapersonal skills:

·         Development of rules. How rules can be made or broken. Implications of not having rules. How rules constrain us and how they can enable us to enjoy more.

·         Ability to make and design rules and modify them because of the changing environments (e.g. playing inside vs outside).

·         Making of teams. How to select teams that are balanced yet of our own choice.

·         How to interact with others.

·         It is interesting to note so many kids struggling with these interpersonal skills. How to balance competitive spirit with the spirit to enjoy and play.

·         Learning to give others their part. Let others play if we want to play.

·         What is a win-win situation where everyone enjoys? What is a lose-lose situation when someone takes the ball or bat with him. How not letting others play actually destroys the overall fun.

·         Following the decisions of the umpire and referee.

·         How people take sides.

·         Perceptions of injustice and conflict resolution. Seeking help of the elders and trying to resolve the matters on their own.


Your suggestions and comments are welcome.





Dr. Irfan Hyder