All the time favorite game for girls, all over the world is to play homemaking.

All the time favorite game for girl,all over the world is to play homemaking. Around 400 – 500 years ago, Bhatukali was devised as a method of getting young girls to learn home management rituals and traditions through play. The traditional version of this in Maharashtra is the Bhatukali. The players are in Bhatukali are all mainly girls from neighborhood however, young brothers who promise to behave well, may included to function as men in the household. A short Bhatukali session takes two to three hours. An elaborate Bhatukali can start early in the morning, that run throughout the whole day and into that they replicate all what happen into an ordinary household.

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Cooking and the distribution of responsibility of kitchen are the main core element in Bhatukali game. Bhatukali game is all about realize the ordinary real life situation (which we learn by noticing elders how they deal with it in daily basis) and replicate it by role playing. Leaves, flower, pebbles, sand, are used as a ingredients for the meal. Sometime mothers gives to girls  jaggery, puffed rice, peanuts and other dry fruits to play with, to pretend as meal which could be eatable in row form.

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In addition of cooking, Bhatukali session simulate several other aspects of the daily routine in a home. Bhatukali players take on the different roles in the family and enact their role with meticulous precisions. Through different roles girls concentrate over the role of grown-up women of household. Not only do the players simulate the routine within household but also they simulate some of the crises that occur. The crises imitation may be relatively simple –for instance, the unexpected arrival of the guest.

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Play is an integral part of every childhood. It is essential for child’s development and for learning life skills. Play is how children learn to have fun, to socialize, to think, to solve problems and to work. Play connects children with their imagination, their environment, and the people around them. Toys are tools children use in play.  It impacts the learning and development in children. Toys of value enhance a child’s natural ability to engage in imaginative and meaningful play.

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While today’s household has around 40 – 50 types of utensils, a few hundred years ago, the average Maharashtra household had around 200 types of kitchen articles. The miniature stove, pots, pans, and kitchen implements as well as the plates on which the food is served, are fashioned out of brass, copper, or stainless steel. u can get Bhatukali utensils set  in copper, brass, stainless steel.

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Role Playing Toys are very impotent  to imitate real-life roles for emotional development. These toys help in nurturing the imagination to play socially and help them to develop  emotionally. These toys help them to learn about their environment and enhance their social skills like language, body language, etc by encouraging interaction.

So the conclusion , toys are vital part of every childhood. Playing with toys help children learn about the world around them in a much better way. Toys nurtures healthy overall growth in children.

 

Natungram of Bardhaman district is the hub for wooden doll making in West Bengal.

Natungram of Bardhaman district is the hub for wooden doll making. Bardhaman is well connected by bus and train from Kolkata. From Bardhaman station it takes nearly 1 hour by road to reach Natungram. Crafts persons from this area are traditionally practicing the art form and for most of them it is there primary livelihood. The doll makers are the Hindus, have last name Bhaskar, meaning sculptor or Sutradhar, meaning story teller.

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhary

 The craft and craftsmanship were on its peak under the Bardhaman Maharaja. The honesty and the labour of this craft distinguish this art from the others. Wooden dolls to stools, each and every product can be distinguishable by their different colors and the placement of colors. Color can change the character of a same looking product.

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Photo credit : Shuvarthy chowdhary

Dolls are mainly made out of gamar wood, mango wood, shimul wood, ata wood, chatim wood. Men are cutting and carving the wood as per the requirement and women are painted the products with various color. Coloring has to be done by the female member of a family. They did an wonderful job and create various motifs and designs by themselves. They have used lots of colors in the dolls like-green, yellow, black borders and red. they used fabric colors and oil paints in decorating the dolls.

The traditional designs are based on culture and mythology, the richness of ideas, the brilliant combination of pure simplicity and glamour combined with the master craftsmanship, result in an amazing work of art. It can be said that every child born in that village, can make an owl out of the wooden cut piece. It is in their blood.

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Photo credit: Aaheli Naha

Traditionally the crafts persons are specialized in making the wooden owl; considered auspicious for homes as it is the ‘vahana‘  of the goddess Lakshmi. Though, other wooden objects are being made. But the owl, with its unique design and color, is the brand product of the village. On the white background of the owl is painted a distinctive design of red, green yellow and black lines.

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Photo credit : Shuvarthy chowdhary

Apart from these, the crafts persons used to make ‘Rashiputul’ (figures of Radha-Krishna on a single block of wood), Durga, Laksmi, Saraswati, figures of the King, the Queen. They are simply diversified and get a new form .The artisans of Natungram started their wood crafting 200 years ago .Since then the artisans making various types of wooden dolls for their livelihood. Now a days a change of color, texture, and design can be seen. Colors are more vibrant like yellow,red,blue and bold black border of each part to define. Various complex and intricate wood carving techniques have been introduced. The designs of the products are also varied from the older piece of products.

They are more attractive than earlier. Various new products have been introduced in around 5 years ago like they make furniture, lampshade, raja-rani cardholder, fusion furniture, owl lamp shades, owl sofa set, owl chairs and other similar products in Natungram style etc.

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Photo credit: Shuvarthy Chowdhary

The process of making the craft is simple. The figures are first drawn on the blocks of wood and then chiseled out. However, the master crafts person does not need the drawings. The wood is cut as per the size of the block. The piece is cleaned and smoothened. The design of the toy to be made is traced on this piece. Extra wood is chipped off according to the design. Fine strokes with the hammer are made on the chisel. It is smoothened with a file and painted. Add clay and wheat with fevicol and make a paste . Next the dresses with specific designs are marked out by fine strokes of the brush. The facial features are added in the end.

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The finished products are very simple and attractive at the same time. The men are skilled in the wood work and But the most attractive part is coloring part done by the women of Natungram. Even the children are also helping their parents by color the dolls with attractive designs.

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Photo credit: Aaheli naha