I am delighted to welcome Amruta Ram to the Trillium Montessori blog! Amruta lives in India and is passionate about early learning. She is the mom of a toddler who she is raising using Montessori principles. In this guest post, Amruta shares some of the activities she has created for her child as they get into a festive mood to prepare for the upcoming holiday of Diwali. In 2017, the five day festival of Diwali begins on October 19.
Affiliate links are used in this post for your convenience. Read my full affiliate disclosure here.
Learning About the Festival of Diwali
by Amruta Ram
Diwali – the name itself has so much happiness and excitement around it! Some call it Diwali, some call it Deepavali. Whatever the name, this 5-day festival is the biggest, grandest and the brightest festival of India.
The festival gets its name from the row of diyas (beautiful earthen clay lamps) that people light outside their homes.
Diwali is celebrated to rejoice the return of the great Indian king, Lord Rama, to Ayodhya after staying in exile with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana for 14 years. In short, the festival marks the victory of good over evil.
As we gear up to deep-clean our homes, shop for beautiful new clothes, and buy some noise free crackers for my little boy, I thought of stopping by and giving you some hands-on ideas for Diwali activities that you can try in your home or school to introduce little children to this beautiful festival.
Diwali Themed Activities
The Significance of Diwali
Often, little children are curious to learn the story behind a festival. For that reason, I have compiled a free printable download which talks about why we celebrate Diwali in India. You can get your copy from this link (just scroll down for the PDF).
The Story of Diwali
I have also written a story book for young children which talks about how we celebrate the 5 days of Diwali and the fun things we do each day! The book is also sold as a downloadable PDF at this link. (affiliate link)
The ebook is a fun, non-preachy, simple-to-read rhyming story book which talks about how the five days of Diwali are celebrated. The 24-paged book also has some fun facts about Diwali and a special sloka in Sanskrit (along with its English translation) at the end of the story. The simple yet delightfully told story describes how each day of Diwali brings joy and a festive spirit to our homes.
The five days of Diwali covered in the book are:
Day-2: Narak Chaturdasi
Day-3: Lakshmi Puja / Main Diwali
Day-4: Padwa / Govardhan Puja
Day-5: Bhai Dooj
In India, during the festival of Diwali, we make beautiful patterns outside our home using a powder called Rangoli. This is so much fun as we can get really creative here. If you don’t get rangoli, you can even do the same thing by using colored salts.
Here is one more example of a fun sensory work that you can set up for toddlers. This is great for color introduction / color recognition! Just put some colored salts or rangolis in zip-locks and let the children match them. A great non-messy way to introduce color!
Toddler Rangloi Designs
Here is one more fun work you can set up with colored salts: Take a cardboard, ask your child to apply some glue on it and let the child drizzle the colored salts onto it. The salt sticks nicely onto the glue. You can dust off the excess later, but this is a great way to contain the mess and let the children explore Rangoli!
If you do not have access to rangoli powder, you can even ask children to create beautiful patterns using real flowers! You can also make this into a sensory work by providing the child with a bowl of water, some colorful flowers and floating candles (of course you light the candles at the end).
Greeting Card Making
You can set up a fun tray with cardstock papers / markers / crayons / stickers / pom poms and let your child get creative. You can write “Happy Diwali” on each card with your child’s name. A beautiful gift to give to grandparents, family and close friends!
This is by far our favorite activity and each year it only gets better! Provide some beautiful earthen lamps and non-toxic watercolor paints to the child. Let them get creative!
Cutting and Pasting
Cutting & pasting works are always a favorite in Montessori environment! So here is a DIY-idea. On a strip of paper draw different colored diyas along with dotted lines. Invite your child to cut along the dotted lines. Later the child can paste the cut diyas on to a cardstock paper and make it into a greeting card!
Free Diwali Printables
I have also created a set of free Diwali-themed printables, with the following fun activities:
a) Diwali I-spy game
Just print out the sheet and begin (e.g. I Spy with my little eye a fire cracker and the child has to point at it on the paper).
b) Diwali themed matching cards
This is a great visual discrimination game, where the child has to match the cards. Alternatively, you can also play it as a memory game!
c) Diwali themed cutting practice strip
Cutting strips are great for early fine motor skills!
d) Diwali themed tracing and pre-writing practice
You can put this sheet in a sheet protector and ask the child to trace the lines using a dry erase marker.
e) Diwali themed gross motor command cards
You can play ‘Simon Says’ using these fun command cards.
You can download this entire printable bundle from Mummadiaries.com here.
I hope this post inspires you to try some of the fun Diwali themed works back in your home and classroom. This is such a great way to introduce our little children to world culture, and talk to them about festivals from around the world.
I wish you all a very happy, blessed and prosperous festive season.
With lots of love from India!
Amruta Ramsubramaniam (author at www.mummadiaries.com)
Amruta is a mom and blogger from Mumbai, India. She blogs about her parenting and Montessori journey at Mummadiaries.com. Amruta also has a popular YouTube channel where she shares her early learning activities in detail. Learn more about Amruta here!
More Resources for Diwali