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Khel Planet Foundation
Play for 21st century life skills!
Play for 21st century life skills!

Khel Planet Foundation's posts

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WHAT WILL YOU DO? Accumulate wealth for prosperity of your own tribe? Or contribute towards saving the human race?

This is the question 14 year olds are confronted with as they set foot on Khel Planet in the year 2070. In year 2070, the Earth, having depleted its major resources, is on the verge of extinction. It has been discovered that another planet, the Khel Planet, has an atmosphere similar to that of the Earth where humans can survive. The important task of establishing the human civilization on the Khel Planet has been entrusted to student tribes who have to learn and adapt quickly.

This is the theme of the 10-hour CREATIVE COLLABORATION WORKSHOP SERIES that we conducted with 8th graders of the Mahila Mandal Girls’ High School in Kurla, Mumbai. Students learnt aspects of collaboration such as sharing responsibilities, purposeful communication, problem solving, trust building and navigating negotiations through Experiential Learning.

In this particular group, on day one, the students were reluctant to work together in the random teams we had allocated and they put in a lot of energy in fights and arguments with each other. Over the course of 5 days they went through a number of experiences of failing gravity, blinded navigation, trading of resources and pricing, etc. As they learnt to leverage each other’s strengths, listened to one another and celebrated team achievements; they became more collaborative and thoughtful about nurturing relationships that work.

At the end of each day, a team had to decide whether they wanted to keep accumulating their points to become the number 1 team OR contribute points for safe passage of remaining humans on Earth to Khel Planet. It was interesting to watch the teams negotiate internally on individual values and arrive at a decision through collective team values. Thus learning ‘how to think’ rather than being told ‘what to think’!

At the end of the workshop series, the students received participation certificates from Khel Planet Foundation. This workshop series was possible due to grant support from Maharashtra Foundation and partnership with Unique Vikas Sansthan.

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Starting this academic year, Khel Planet launched its Mumbai operations. In the month of June we conducted a 10-HOUR WORKSHOPS SERIES on ARTS OF COMMUNICATION with 5th graders of the Mahila Mandal Girls’ High School in Kurla, Mumbai.

In this series, children were introduced to various aspects of communication, such as, verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening, public speaking and presentation skills through games and activities. The theme of the workshop opens in the year 2070, where teams of students from different planets have gathered to participate in the universe conference. Their task is to learn about the other planet teams as much as they can and also tell others about themselves. Because everyone comes from different planets, just talking to express isn’t enough, they have to use their whole bodies for communicating.

Over the course of 5 days, every student took the opportunity to stand in front of the class and speak / act / draw or mime. We started with a handful of energetic students who would volunteer to come forward. Majority of the others would hide behind each other and hope that they didn’t have to do or say anything. To help the students overcome their hesitation and shyness, we did a number of easy group activities where all children could participate without being singled out. We co-created rules with children where they decided not to laugh at or make fun of anyone who stumbles while on the stage. By the end of day three every single student felt encouraged to volunteer and come forward to lead activities. The students also learnt to look out for each other within their teams to ensure that no one was being left behind.

We also invited and engaged several teachers in the school during the workshops. These teachers are now inspired to use play based methods to work with the students.

At the end of the workshop series, the children received participation certificates from Khel Planet Foundation. This workshop series was possible due to grant support from Maharashtra Foundation and partnership with Unique Vikas Sansthan.
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On the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, we conducted a health & wellness workshop and a health camp with children in Lucknow. It involved learning through fun-filled games and drawing, a health checkup by doctor, and distribution of first aid & sanitation kits to children. This workshop made us aware of the lack of awareness among children and their parents related to basic health issues. The workshop started with an energizer followed by a quiz on health and sanitation. During the quiz, we introduced them to the contents of the first aid and sanitation kits that they were about to get. Children engaged in some collaborative games with balloons and then solved coloring puzzles based on healthy habits. In the health camp, Dr. Amit Kumar, a Pediatrician, conducted a health check-up of all children and distributed the kits. The kits included a range of products from antiseptic cream, cotton balls, to tooth paste and soap. This was the first ever time the children were learning basics of first aid.

We are thankful to Dr. Amit Kumar for volunteering his time and Dr. Akash Agarwal for helping facilitate the whole health camp. This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of Karunesh Mohan who sponsored the first aid and sanitation kits for children. As always the volunteers from TCS and Khel Planet played an integral role in engaging childen and executing the event. Thank you so much Sukriti, Brijesh, Lokesh, Santosh,Brijesh (2), Abha and Komal for your continuous support and true spirit towards child development.

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Exploring designs by building paper towers :- 
The children have become really excited about new activities and are increasingly using the learnings from previous sessions. Last week, we introduced them to two new activities. In the first activity, children worked in small groups and were required to keep a balloon in the air without letting go of each other’s hands. Teams were quick to pick up the game and understood the value of learning from each others body language while working together. In the next activity, the children built towers from newspaper. They were not provided with any other aid like tape, stapler, glue or thread. They had to think critically and use their creativity to hold the tower together. There were serious discussions and differences within the teams to possible approaches. The paper towers fell first time, second time, third time and so on…till the children understood that they had to build a strong base to hold the tall tower steady. Both the teams achieved same height of towers.

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“Play is often perceived as immature behavior that doesn’t achieve anything,” says David Whitebread, a psychologist at Cambridge University who has studied the topic for decades. “But it’s essential to their development. They need to learn to persevere, to control attention, to control emotions. Kids learn these things through playing.”

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"Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold" - Joseph Chilton Pearce

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Paper planes competition to introduce basics of design thinking
This week our children engaged in a friend paper plane design competition. Our workshop started with Bal geet (children poem) followed by a tag game activity (Chain chain). It was good to see children buildup on the learning of working together and not pushing each other from the Kho kho sessions. Then we introduced children to paper planes! The challenge: who can create a paper plane that can fly farthest. Some of them were trying to make paper planes for the first time. They struggled, learnt, help each other and actively participated. Three rounds were conducted and each time the children improvised on the previous design. As we left the community, they promised to practice new designs and come up with even better paper planes next time.

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Workshop at Guild of Service school
Though we have done our life-skills based workshops in several schools now, we had our own apprehensions when we entered the auditorium of Guild of Service school at Anna Nagar. The school hosts differently abled children. The kids were all assembled, enthusiastic and keeping calm to know what we are going to do. We went ahead with a warm-up mirror exercises, Build a school and Build a scene sessions. The teachers were extremely sportive to participate in all demonstrations to children. Things went smooth thanks to the supportive teachers. When we were about to leave, all the kids raised their hands in unison and waved their hands as a way to thank us. This was one of the best response we had for our workshops.

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Back to School!!!
We are extremely thankful to our Partners, TCS, for providing back to school kits to children in the community where we work. The children got really excited on receiving the kits and promised to attend school on a regular basis.

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“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”
-Leo F. Buscaglia
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