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Indian iPhone & iPad Apps for Kids – Peacock Book Store

Check out the FREE app download codes at the end of this article!!! You will be able to download the Jhansi Rani and Ramayan apps.

Come summer and I start looking for ways to keep my sanity. Don’t get me wrong, but keeping two highly active and super curious kids isn’t exactly a cake walk. So my quest for fun & constructive activities reaches a whole new level! I know I’m not the “Coolest” mom around since I prefer my kids to be involved more in the real world than in the digital world. But there is one “Super Cool” exception I make! I do encourage my kids to play with various educational apps during their ‘Screen Time’. Especially so, if the apps are about Indian culture. I truly believe it’s an effective way to introduce and stay connected with our roots.

Peacock Book Store (http://www.peacockbookstore.com) offers some unique iPhone/iPad apps for kids based on Indian culture, heritage and themes. They currently have four apps under their ‘Tales of India’ series – Rani Jhansi: The Warrior Queen (Coming soon)Arjun & Bird’s Eye, Ramayan Children’s Book and Fearless Frog: Lesson of Hope.

Peacock’s apps are rich in visual and audio elements, and several highly interactive features successfully engage the children. Each app has beautiful illustrations that bring the characters to life and the stories are adapted to aid a child’s comprehension skills. The interactive elements include puzzles, coloring pages and memory games, There are three ways to follow each story –

·         Read Aloud - Listen to the lively narrated story with sentences highlighted as they are read.

·         Read Myself – Self-read the book in the traditional format

·         Auto Play - Plays like a movie, automatically reading and turning pages. Great for younger children.

The creator of these apps is Shipra Mittal, a highly resourceful mom of 2 young boys. She has a Masters in Special Education, with emphasis on Autism. Having worked with special needs children and their families for many years, she has great insight into child psychology and their learning needs. When I asked her what the inspiration behind Peacock Book Store was, she said, ”I am in constant search for interesting books and references about India to share with my kids. Most print versions have difficult language and there isn’t much available in the digital media. It’s really hard to find anything that can hold their attention. So instead of waiting for things to change, I decided to make the change. Why not make Rani Jhansi or Ram as popular with the kids as Peter Pan or Mulan?”

So this creative mom took the initiative and jumped right into the process. This was a completely new field for Shipra. She spent many days and sleepless nights learning about the app making process – taking several online tutorials, talking to friends, deciding on the themes and eventually getting a team of people together to build her dream. And thus was born Peacock Book Store & their apps.

As Shipra rightly points out,” Numerous questions confound our children every day about their identity and heritage. Many go unanswered despite our best intentions. And within these answers lie the essence of our children’s identity and eventually personality.” She adds, “That’s exactly what our apps do. They help build our children’s identity and develop an appreciation for Indian culture.” I couldn’t have agreed more with Shipra! As a parent, it’s very fulfilling to see my children being able to relate to the same values, stories and traditions that I grew up with.

Shipra says that Peacock’s goal is to foster a love of Indian history, music, language, clothes, architecture etc. in today’s children, whether they are growing up in India or abroad. “We are trying to bring the age old experiences and stories to a level where kids just want to pick the iPhone/iPad and play with the app because it’s a lot of fun!”

Whether its understanding Laxman’s love and devotion for his brother Ram, or learning about Arjun’s power of concentration which led him to become the world’s best archer, or admiring Rani Jhansi’s courage in the fight for Indian Freedom, Peacock Book Store has an app for that!

Visit http://www.peacockbookstore.com to download the apps, or download them directly here.

Rani Jhansi: The Warrior Queen (Coming Soon)

Arjun & Bird’s Eye

Ramayan Children’s Book - Download FREE for a limited time! Use Codes MER66RFXFKW6 or APEX66WYXAJJ

Fearless Frog: Lesson of Hope






Check out this video of Peacock apps!

Solar Car

Solar CarThis summer was especially challenging to keep the boys busy. In grade 4 the kids learned the basic of circuit, gears and forms of energy. I was looking for some creative toy to enhance the basic science when I chanced upon this solar car at http://www.sunwindsolar.com/.

I bought the SolarDrive Car and Inventor's Kit Version but I am sure the other versions must be equally good. The kit arrived in couple of weeks as promised. The kit does not have any pretty packaging and all the material is put together in a ziploc bag. If you ignore the marketing aspects, it is a good kit consisting of a solar cell, a motor with a gear, simple wheels, a body and some Velcro and screws to hold the car together. The assembly is easy enough for a 9 to 10 year old to put together with minimum help. The car operates beautifully in the sun as the solar cell powers the motor.
The parts can be reused to build several designs of solar cars, and experiment with different sized pulleys. The pulleys, drive-tires, shafts, and motor bushings (which fit onto the motor shaft and into the hub of any size pulley) provide the imaginative student with opportunities to construct other solar-driven machines. Screw eye axle-holders and wooden dowel axles allow axle-shafts to be mounted onto most materials at any angle. The solar panel and motor are easily detachable for further experimentation.

Now, ever since we built that car, it has been raining continuously for 5 days and now we are waiting for some solar energy to play with the car. This also nicely introduces the pitfalls of relying too much on the solar energy.

Craft for kids

Musical boxUS is the land of opportunities as they say. It does have lots to offer to our kids as well. I really like some of the things here like the libraries with access to unlimited books that too categorized by age groups, reading programs they have for kids with rewards that mean a LOT for the kids, goal being to get them into reading.  There are also fun activities hosted by big stores like Lowes ,Home depo (there might be many more) where they encourage kids to build crafts (with adult help of course). Today I am going to share one of the crafts that my Son did last year during Valentine’s day. It’s a very cute heart shaped musical box (as seen in pic). I was very happy to see the craft when it got home. I still remember the moment he got it home & was so excited about the music that starts when you open the box. He figured out (quite fast) how to stop it even if the lid was open. It is amazing to see the kids involvement in making the craft with such enthusiasm. Even my younger one would get excited about the event. Even though he was not eligible (age wise) to participate, he would still have fun watching his Big brother work on the craft. He would also pick up a hammer, wear the apron & pretend to be busy building something, just to get involved :) These events turn into wonderful memories for our kids. Not only does it help them create & learn something new but it’s also an opportunity for the parents to bond with their children. I would highly recommend all parents to get involved in such events & build wonderful sweet memories to cherish in future.

Turkey Craft


Turkey CraftThis is a Thanksgiving craft and works great for keeping the kids busy during the holidays.

Materials Needed: 

Craft sticks

Watercolors

Buttons

Pistachio shells

Lentils such as Moong dal, Chana dal, Masoor dal

School Glue


Method: 

1) Take a print out of a turkey picture.

2) Take some craft sticks of small or large size.

3) First color the sticks dark brown and let them dry. Then color them orange at one end and yellow at the other end. Let the two colors dry. These sticks will serve as feathers.

4) Take some pistachio shells and color them yellow. These are for the turkey feet. Also color one of the shells red to use for the nose.

5) Take some colored buttons and glue them around the neck of the turkey and above the feet.

6) For the eyes use two black buttons.

7) The neck is decorated using Moong dal.

8) The inner feathers are decorated using Chana dal.

9) For the body Masoor dal is used.

10) The remaining face portion can be colored yellow and orange using watercolors.


I used specific dals for specific body parts to achieve the right color combination and also for the size. Since the neck area is smaller compared to the rest of the body, I chose Moong dal for its small size and nice light yellow color. For the body I needed something brown so Masoor dal came into the picture. And for the feathers I needed some dark yellow so Chana dal was selected. You can also use Toor dal here. You can use other dals as well to make it more colorful. For the feathers I chose to use craft sticks as I could get 3 different shades in one stick. Also, I arranged them such that yellow portion is facing upwards and the orange portion towards the body to make it look brighter.




Pirate hat

Pirate HatSummer vacations are always fun for kids. You can make it memorable for them by involving them in craft activities needed for special events at their Summer camps. I did the same thing for my 6 year old. They had to dress like a Pirate one day so I decided to create a pirate hat for him at home. Best part is you do not need anything extra & can use the things that are easily available at home. I put this project under the category "Best out of waste" as I used Cheerios box as the base for this hat.

Things needed
1) Pirate hat template (search online) or you can even draw it free hand, its very simple
2) Cardboard (that forms the base of the hat). I used Cheerios box
3) Glue
4) Scissors
5) Stapler

Steps
1) Print out the Pirate template. I asked my son to cut it along the border for me so that way he also contributed towards the project.
2) I cut out strips from Cheerios box with a mount in the middle as seen in the picture. 2 mounts are needed (for front & back)
3) Measure the child's head & staple the cardboard cutouts so that they fit him properly
4) Stick black paper on the sides (as seen in picture) to hide the box labeling on the sides of the hat
5) Finally stick the main template on the front side & back side to make the Pirate hat.

Note: Make sure that the blank side (brown color, without print) is on the inside. Templates will be glued to the printed side of the cardboard so nobody can guess the material the hat was made from (in case you too plan to use some box as the base)

I also made eye patch for him but that's is optional.

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