Diwali, also known as Deepawali, is less than a week away. The atmosphere is filled with love…here’s to hoping that this festival brings your way, sparkles of contentment and that it stays with you for years to come. Even if you’re not a Hindu and you don’t celebrate this festival, I encourage you to check this out and teach your kiddos a little about this festival. There are numerous symbolisms; all with beautiful meanings and most importantly, you will probably find a lot of value in the core meaning of what this festival represents. Check this out – https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/voices/culture/article/2016/10/20/non-hindus-guide-celebrating-diwali
My husband and I were born and raised in India. Sounds pretty cliché to say this, but Diwali was one of our favorite holidays. I am still in my early 30’s (like early early haha), but my memory is beginning to fail me, however I do have many distinct memories of Diwali – firecrackers, lighting diyas (aka candles) and placing them all around the house; eating delicious sweets my mom made (koprapak was my absolute favorite; I can still taste it); visiting friends and families near and far….on New Year’s day, we visited the temple to pay our respects to God and get blessings; wearing new clothes; getting an extended vacation from school and doing rangolis and so much more. While my kiddos can’t quite experience the same thing in the US, I want them to be aware of our culture and festivals and the deep meaning rooted within each tradition.
Raising multicultural children is no joke; if it’s easy for you, major kudos to you. It’s work folks; at least for me.
My little one, who is not so little anymore, is now at an age where she understands everything so this year, I am going all out to try to teach her about Diwali and make it fun at the same time. I am a full time working momma so unfortunately, I will not have much time to go all out as far as cooking is concerned (and let’s face it; many of the Diwali specialties are time consuming) so I am focusing my energy on doing arts and crafts and doing some light decor around the house to teach my kiddos about Diwali.
I scavenged the web for some easy and fun Diwali activities for preschoolers and toddlers and put together a list. Hope you find it helpful.
***SAFETY FIRST: Keel all inflammable items away from toddlers at ALL times****
1. Read Diwali books to your kiddos. There are so many out there….you can buy these from Amazon, target, etc. or do what I do and borrow them from the library.
2. Make Paper lanterns. We had so much fun making these. Overall activity time was 30-45 min for about 6 lanterns. Watch the video below for step by step instructions. It’s pretty simple. I drew straight lines and asked my little one to cut them with her scissor – it was a great way for her to practice her cutting skills.
Here is how ours turned out –
Check this out for 10 DIY paper lanterns for Diwali – such a fun activity for kiddos.
3. Play-Doh diyas (candle holders). Which kiddo doesn’t love to play with play-doh? There are hundreds of ways of making play-doh diyas, but here are some of my favorites –
While doing this, teach your kiddos about the meaning of diyas. “On Diwali, people light millions of diyas. These beautiful diyas hold a deep significance and are symbolic of our journey to enlightenment…Diya is essential in Hinduism because it signifies purity, goodness, good luck and power. The presence of light means the non-existence of darkness and evil forces“.
4. Decorate small mason jars (with whatever craft items you have on hand – beads, stickers, glitter, etc.). Place a nonflammable candle inside and voila – you just made a diya.
5. Play dress up. Take those chaniya cholis and Indian dresses with fancy duppatas out and play dress up with your kiddos.
6. Diwali coloring sheets– google Diwali coloring sheets; there are literally thousands out there available for free. Color these with your toddlers or have them do it by themselves. Once done (or while doing the activity), explain the significance of whatever it is they are coloring. Some of the key words to introduce include “Rangoli, Diya, Firecracker, Diwali and Lights”.
Here is one of my favorite –
Check this out. There is an explanation of each coloring sheet as well – how cool is that?
7. Watch Diwali videos on YouTube. Type in keywords “Teaching kids about diwali” on YouTube and browse away – watch some videos with your kiddos. How cute is this for mickey and Minnie lovers? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbNd-NX3XKk&feature=youtu.be
8. Make Diwali hand and footprints
Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped on Diwali. We offer our prayers to her and take her blessings. Her footprints are also made at the door of the house. Try doing this fun activity with your kiddo. Do it every year and watch their footprints grow as the years go by.
Trace out left and right footprint on a cardstock paper. Paint them with colors that your kiddos pick out. Traditionally, we always color them red (to welcome Goddess Laxmi). Get creative and decorate areas around the footprints. Place these at the door of your house.
Handprint diyas – I am in love with this idea; sooo cool! https://www.thejoysharing.com/2020/10/handprint-diya-diwali-craft.html?m=1
9. Make Rangolis – these are my absolute favorite. There are many ways of doing this. Whether it’s a flower rangoli or colored rice rangoli or simple traditional colored powder rangoli – your kiddos are bound to love this fun activity.
Here are some pages you can print – https://www.momjunction.com/articles/rangoli-coloring-pages_00353276/
Playdough rangoli: http://puttisworld.blogspot.com/2012/11/diwali-2012.html?m=1
Paper quilt rangoli: https://www.redtedart.com/paper-quilled-rangoli-pattern/
Paper plate rangoli: https://www.redtedart.com/paper-plate-rangoli/
10. Bangle Diya – I have LOTs of old bangles lying around; I am definitely doing this with my kiddos this week.
11. Firecracker craft
Made this in 20 min with my little one. Took a paper tower roll; covered it with construction paper; had my little on draw some shapes and designs on it; attached some pipe cleaners at the bottom (I made 1 inch cuts and fit the pipe cleaners around the cuts); cut a triangle and placed it on top and voila….you have a 3D firecracker craft!
Here is another idea : https://artsycraftsymom.com/happy-diwali-greeting-card/
12. Make paper garlands.
We made ours from the paper lanterns we made and it’s hanging on my little one’s dresser. She loves it.
Here are some other ideas –
13. Make greeting cards – Imagine making diwali cards year after year and saving them as a keepsake. If your family exchanges Diwali cards, imagine the smile on your relatives’ and family members’ face when they get handmade diwali cards in their mailbox. https://artsycraftsymom.com/diwali-card-making-ideas-diwali-dhamaka/
14. Paper Diyas: These are a bit time consuming, but super cute –
15. Make a door wreath.
We made a diya wreath out of a cardboard box. Found an old piece of yellow cloth so stapled that on the cardboard for the flame. I stapled red cloth on the base of the diya, but little one decided to be creative by sticking some designer sheets on top. We are pretty happy with how it turned out though.