Make your kids fall in love with reading with Toka Box!
posted by Divya , March 26, 2019
A new country brought with it gorgeous public libraries and a wonderful box. Divya Ganesan writes.
The love for Reading!
I wouldn't exactly call myself a voracious reader. Reading is a way of life for me and in that sense, I do read a lot. And once I knew that I was going to be a mom, my focus shifted to pregnancy books, and I started to read quite a bit about the benefits of reading to a baby. I probably started reading and singing to my daughter as soon as she was born.
However, my absolute appreciation for reading and children's books probably began just a few years ago, when we moved from India to the US with our 3-year-old! Moving to the other side of the globe with a young child was an adventure for us as a family and one that I was mentally prepared to take head-on! Little did I know how challenging the move would be for us, especially as parents.
A new country meant new surroundings, and a new school, not mention new friends and acquaintances that we would seek. The extended family and friends, whom we were accustomed to seeing and meeting so often, were all restricted to a Skype call. Television had become our best friend in the days following the move! It took us a while to make new acquaintances and friends. And despite having a decent Indian community around us, I realized that it was not as easy, finding like-minded parents.
It wasn't until the summer of 2016 that we got our hands on the first Toka Box. It had been a year since the move and I probably had subconsciously started missing a few things from back home. I remember thinking to myself, this box is such a beautiful idea and wanted my daughter to have it. Our first box was the 'Mother's Day Special Box' with the dress-up saree dolls. Needless to say, my daughter loved it. The activity and the book kept her engaged for a few hours, hours that she would have probably spent watching TV!
That being said, one of the great advantages of bringing up kids in the US is - the public libraries and public parks! Especially in the summer with school being off, there was always something going on at these places. We obviously could not spend the summer afternoons at a park, but my daughter and I found solace in spending hours together at the local library. We were exposed to a huge collection of books and storytelling sessions and other interactive events at the library! And this probably lead us to a mutual love for children's picture books!
Reading with Toka Box!
It wasn't until the summer of 2016 that we got our hands on the first Toka Box. It was called IMC's treasure Box then! It had been a year since the move and I probably had subconsciously started missing a few things from back home. I remember thinking to myself, this box is such a beautiful idea and wanted my daughter to have it. So, I called up the founder, Preethi Chandrasekar, and told her I would like to subscribe!
I distinctly remember, our first box was the 'Mother's day special box' with the dress-up saree dolls. Needless to say, my daughter loved the Box. The activity and the book kept her engaged for a few hours, hours that she would have probably spent watching TV!
For me as a mom, it was the activity in each box, that was fascinating. I did not want my daughter to forget her Indian roots, the sights, the culture and more. These activities in the box - be it the Saree Dolls or the Elephant crafts, always brought a smile to my face. However, it wasn't until a few months later, that I realized that my 4-year old, had slowly but surely, started loving the 'very unique' picture books that came with each box. She would prefer reading these to the ones we would get from the library - which were generally Western stories, or fairy tales or books of characters that she watched on TV. The impact that these books from Toka Box were having on her little brain was amazing. She was obviously identifying with them more, than the books from the library. Combine that with the way the activities in each box were tied to the book, and it surely made for very interesting reading.
For me as a mom, it was the activity in each box, that was fascinating. My daughter would prefer reading Indian picture books to the ones we would get from the library - which were generally Western stories, or fairy tales or books of characters that she watched on TV. The impact that these books from Toka Box were having on her little brain was amazing. She was obviously identifying with them more.
Kids observe a lot and pick up minute details when they read. They have an intellect that most adults lack. Toka Box subtly helps build on this intellect and helps condition the creative side of a child's brain. There have been times where my daughter would come up with some hilarious short stories. And times when she would get these ideas on what the activities in a particular Toka box should have been. We were once reading the book Festival of Lights, which had various Diwali Stories in it! We read a few stories from the book, sat to make our LED Diyas. and were all done with the box. Then one fine day, my daughter (who kept reading those stories on and off), set out to build her own bow and arrow. And she did, saying, 'Look amma, it is just like the one Satyabhama used to defeat Naraka'!
Self-confidence in kids!
It may not sound like a big deal, but Toka Box has definitely been a positive influence.
I can vouch that the books are picked, with utmost care are truly amazing. It has contributed, to the voracious appetite and love for reading that my daughter now has. And It is not as if she doesn't enjoy other genres or fairy tales anymore. In fact, she reads a few pages of every book, before she decides if she should get it or not.
Most importantly, it showed a preschooler that she and her friends could also be part of children's stories and picture books. It made her feel comfortable and proud of her Indian roots and in some small way helped boost her self-confidence!