Friday, June 24, 2011

Balika/Bal Mandal Go To Move #4: Mukhpaath Relay

Mukhpaath is not something that balika/bal mandal looks forward to. It is something they dread. This summer, our "B" mandals are going to be taking part in the Summer Challenge.

Now, there seems to be a paradox with this Summer Challenge. On one hand, our instructions read, "Remember, the goal is to allow the balaks and balikas to have a fun summer, with a set of activities that are both entertaining and educational." Yet we are also going to be doing mukhpaath. So the question we are going to address is how can we make mukhpaath enjoyable. Our solution - and Go To Move #4 - is the Mukhpaath Relay. We essentially make the mukphaath into an activity.

Here is the recipe.
  • Create two teams. Give each team member a number (or some identifying label: color, letter, Paramhans name, etc.)
  • With both teams sitting still and concentrating, go over the mukhpaath slowly. Have both teams repeat the lines. Do only a small amount.
  • Give instructions to the teams as follows. You will say the identifying label (in our case a number). This selects one member from each team. When you say 'Swaminarayan Bhagwan ni Jai!' this selected member of team A will stand up and recite the verse we just went over. The counterpart member from team B will do an activity. Whoever finishes first gets a point for the team.
  • Repeat but alternate which team does mukhpaath and which team does an activity.
Selected activities:
  • [my personal favorite] Run out of the bal mandal room, all the way to the shoe racks. Find someones shoes that are on the floor and put them on the shoe rack. Run all the way back to the bal mandal room and sit down. Also only the person doing mukhpaath can talk, otherwise - no points.
  • Push ups: The number you have to do is matched with the length of the quote you are reciting.
  • Limited space? Stand up and draw the something related to the shloka on a white board or sticky pad.
  • Do a dance around the group.

  • Think of fun ways to select teams.
  • Make the mukhpaath bite size: That is keep it short. If it is a long shloka, break it down into small parts.
  • Add bonus points: Examples: If they say the whole shloka AND the reference (e.g. Loya 9), they get one more point. If the person does the activity AND five extra dandvats to Maharaj's murti, they get five extra points. This way, each person now has the option to go for the extra point at the risk of losing the point they have.


    1. These are awesome ways to keep the Balaks engaged! Additionally, another activity is Speed Mukpath. In essence, what happens is that you create 3 or 4 lines with a few people in each line. Then, the first person in each row comes up to the whiteboard. The sanchalak says a Swamini Vaat, and the Balaks have to finish it by writing it on the whiteboard. Once they finish, they have to sit down as quick as they can.

    2. This works great! The balaks got really excited while doing this. Additionally, another activity is Speed Mukpath. This is where you have 3-4 lines. Each line has an equal amount of balaks. When you say the first few words of a Swamini Vaat (and say go), the first balak in each row runs to the whiteboard and has to finish the rest of it. The one that finishes first has to get it right and sit down first.