Mental workout

Jan 12, 2019, 09:00 IST | Vinitha Ramchandani

So, imagine a world where kids are allowed to play with anything, break it down, build it up, knock it all over and start again?

Mental workout

The Curiosity Club, Tardeo (indoors)
My generation grew up hearing "no!" to almost everything. No, don't touch that. No, you ca­n't flip through that expensive book. No, who said clocks are to be pounded and opened? No, why did you open the sketch-pen refill… So, imagine a world where kids are allowed to play with anything, break it down, build it up, knock it all over and start again?

Months ago, this column had revi­e­w­ed a maker space for all ages — Curiosity Gym. This week, we visit The Cu­riosity Club (TCC), that adds another dimension to the maker-space zone in the city.

We walk in to see a clean space, with walls lined with tidy, large, see-th­r­o­u­gh boxes full of colours and gli­t­­tery ob­jects. A cleverly-built wall is pushed ba­ck to reveal more space. There are be­autiful, tiny chairs, but the kids are sprawled on the floor, totally comfo­r­table with working on their simple sc­ience and engineering concept of ma­king their own pulley.

They are us­ing LEGO, Cubetto and other mate­r­i­al, absorbed in the task of creating things the way they like — no questions asked. Later in the day, we are told, they will be introduced to coding!

Started by Yuti Jhaveri who didn't know where to take her baby to potter around — "There were only arts and cr­aft classes," she says — TCC set out to plug the gap. In each one-hour session, kids can choose a project, based on which they are given an in-built structure with which they can wo­rk.

Th­ey built a simple robot the previous day. Today, a mini city will be electrifi­ed. This means teamwork and the kids sit together with the assistants, cutting and creating a carboard city that will soon be attached to circuits and lit.

There is discussion and references made to what they had figured out in th­eir previous session, and I sit marve­l­ling. My learning moments: Children learn coding fundamentals with Cu­b­etto (bet you didn't know Cubetto is si­mple wooden robot, programmed to move with blocks) and KIBO (simple robotics, using a wooden robot, programming blocks, as well as sensors). This is so unfair! Why didn't we have it? A tot has decided to not do this, but re-work her pulley system. She moves on.

If you happen to stick around for three sessions, you would see that children are urged to build something on their own, without instructions, applying what they learned in the previous classes. I leave feeling happy and wistful at the same time.

Fact file
Where: First floor, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Tardeo.
Best for: boys and girls, from four to 10 years of age
How to reach: Get off at Mahalaxmi or Mumbai Central station and cab it up to Tardeo. The building is well known in the area.
Timings: After school hours
Budget: Rs 800 per child per session
Food: Not allowed inside the premises. Have a snack before coming.
Water: Available, but carry your own
Rest Room facilities: Yes
Where else to go: Purple Panda is straight down the road. You can also head to Lower Parel where there are a whole lot of indoor entertainment spaces to go to. Worli has The Game.

Parent Poll: Perfect toddler place for merging creativity and imagination
Rating: ***
Kids' Poll: The kids were engaged and happy
Rating: ***

What's Good: It has tie-ups with 40 centres across Mumbai.
What's Not So Good: Slightly hard to find.

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