Two enterprising mothers from Bangalore found that for kids, learning had become monotonous and so they decided to bring the fun back into it. Thus was born Cheeky Monkey.
“All the classes our kids attended were very activity and theory-oriented. The fun and madness which one associates with kids activities was missing,” rued Neeti Kerpal Malhotra and Kiran Bedi Chawla. To fill that gap they founded Cheeky Monkey in Bangalore, offering cookery classes, recycle art, creative dance, photography, nature walks and other interesting activities and workshops for kids.
Neeti, a post-graduate of National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and mother of two little boys says she’s a child at heart and believes there’s no limit to having fun. In fact she suggests everyone should indulge in it some time. A graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (Los Angeles) and a post-graduate in Dance Movement Therapy, Kiran fondly remembers her childhood spent cooking with her mother who is a chef and a caterer.
The enterprising young mothers decided to capitalise on their strengths: “Kiran is an amazing cook and dancer and I am totally into art and nature. Cheeky Monkey started simply because I wanted not only my boys but also other kids to enjoy their time while learning,” shares Neeti. And they’ve hit upon the perfect recipe to do just that. It involves “a dash of curiosity, a pinch of madness, a dollop of love and a cupful of sweetness.”
The duo started their edu-venture with cookery classes targeted at 6-12 year-olds. The kids have quite a party baking cupcakes, pizzas, garlic bread, and making salads, fudge pops and even pink lemonade!
Although the idea of kids cooking doesn’t usually gel with our Indian psyche, Neeti is quick to reassure, “I agree that kids in the kitchen has potential hazards but before the commencement of the class we brief them about safety norms, the dos and don’ts. We also present them with a recipe booklet that has a listing of kitchen safety rules. And they’re not allowed to handle sharp knives or hot objects. Moreover a first aid box is always at hand.”
Class sizes are intentionally kept small to between 8-10 kids per session. “Kiran and I are both cheeky monkeys ourselves so we get along really well with kids. Interacting with them always leaves us pleasantly surprised. They have an amazing capacity to think out of the box and end up doing some really creative stuff. As for maintaining some sort of order, we group the naughty ones together so they keep themselves occupied!,” quips Neeti.
Despite having launched just a few months ago, they claim the response has been overwhelming. “Parents are loving it, the kids are loving it and we are loving it! Parents have been pressing us to conduct more of such classes.”
While there are umpteen kids’ activity classes available in Bangalore, Cheeky Monkey’s USP is simple: “We let kids be kids. Our goal is to see every child smile, laugh and have a great time. Our cheeky monkeys are encouraged to always use their imagination and creativity, be it cooking, dance, improvisation, photography etc. Learning comes hand in hand with having fun. If you’re having a great time the memories will last.”
Activities: Kids cooking adventure, recycle art, creative dance for kids, photography, nature walks.
Duration: Varies. A cooking class may be a 3-day session or 2-hours each; recycle art could just be for a day; creative dance is a 5-day session of an hour each; nature walk a one day session etc.
Price: Depends on the activity. Three sessions of a cooking class is priced at Rs.1,200.
Target age group: 2.5 -14 years.