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    Kids get a hands-on approach to   education with PodSquad

    Where kids see a game, parents see a learning exercise. How often have you seen this happen? With PodSquad, a learning kit of activities for children, it’s par for the course, says its Mumbai-based founder Abha Shah. Think of making gooey slime from scratch as a means to teach chemical reactions, or food-themed sudoku to nurture sequencing skills.
    Launched five months ago, PodSquad kits have been designed based on a concept put forth by Harvard professor Howard Gardner that every child has nine innate intelligences. Through their action-based activities, they aim to cover a whole gamut of learning — from a child’s ability to recognise flora and fauna (naturalistic intelligence) to have control over his bodily motions (kinesthetic intelligence). Every PodSquad learning kit — which has a fresh theme every month — tries to incorporate activities dwelling on at least four of these intelligences, Shah says.
    “My research involved asking parents about what they thought were gaps in early education. A need was felt for activities that nurture learning by doing. And thus was born PodSquad,” says the 31-year-old, who has worked eight years in her family-run business, Quadrum Solutions (parent company of PodSquad), which has developed content for over 10,000 books by national and international publishers for preschool and primary school age groups. Shah’s mother and chief creative officer of Quadrum Solutions, Sonia Mehta, is a celebrated children’s author with over 2,000 titles to her credit.
    With the PodSquad subscription including digital content, parents against over-exposure to tech might not appreciate that 20 per cent of the content is digital (via their website). “There’s no denying that digital media plays an important role in a child’s development. Even schools are having to weave it in their curriculum,” Shah explains.

    With children spoilt for choice in the learning kits segment, with options including Flintobox, Wonderboxx, Magic Crate and Genius Box, what is PodSquad’s differentiator? “Our learning kits do not always require parental assistance. Our kits stress on independent play,” says Shah, adding that the pod plush toy collectibles that accompany the learning kits (for ages 4 to 7) aren’t superheroes or aspirational figures but more relatable theme-based characters, for instance, the Crazy Scientist Learning Kit had a geeky pod plush toy.

    Subscription packages are currently being offered at a discounted price for three months (`3,000) or 6 months (`6000). Individual kits are Rs 1,200. Details: www.podsquad.in

    — Sharadha Narayanan


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