Terracotta toys from Gujarat, Kondapalli and Etikoppa toys of Andhra Pradesh, Channapatna toys of Karnataka and Bamboo toys of Tripura. These are not the display list of any exhibition, but a novel method being deployed by the government to promote indigenous toys for learning among very young children.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development has compiled a State-wise national repository of indigenous toys and shared this with all States and Union Territories as part of its month-long special nutrition campaign.
The Ministry is using these local, indigenous and DIY toys in anganwadi centres for creating awareness and educating children and their families about healthy living and good nutritional practices, a senior official said on Thursday.
States have also been directed to share and exchange their local play materials, folk stories as well as indigenous toys with each other. The Ministry has in fact paired the States to ensure diversity, for example: Andhra Pradesh with Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh with Madhya Pradesh.
The Poshan Mah (nutrition month) is celebrated each year to address malnutrition in the country through mass awareness programmes. This year the same began on September 1 and the focus has been to activate village councils for nutritional awareness. All activities are thus being centred at the village level.
Bacha aur Shiksha (Children and Education) and Poshan bhi, Padhai bhi (Nutrition and Education together) is one of the key themes this year.
As a part of this initiative, all anganwadi centres have been asked to organise community events to promote toy-based and play-based learning and sensitise caregivers and parents to use indigenous toys at home.
The Ministry has also directed the organising of State-level indigenous toy fairs and toy-making workshops at anganwadi centres during the month-long nutrition campaign.
Extensive efforts are being made to focus on utilisation of traditional foods in tribal areas for healthy mother and child. Amma ki Rasoi or grandmother’s kitchen of traditional nutritious recipes are being organised.
Special focus is also being given on the importance of rainwater conservation among women at anganwadi centres.