Oh my friend, Ganesha! Let’s play at the Montessori?
The Ganesh festival is an elaborate 10 day affair and celebrated very fondly in Maharashtra. Families bring home Ganesha's idol, decorate their house and perform the rituals before finally immersing the lovable God. Since the whole festival is filled with fun and celebrations, it’s no surprise that kids somehow have a special affinity towards Ganesha! They even instantly fall in love with Him, maybe because they find his appearance friendly & inviting?
Likewise, my 18 months old son is very fond of elephants, so much so that he even calls it 'ant'! Around Independence Day last month, I introduced him to some Gods that are worshipped in India, and Ganesha was one of them. He instantly fell in love with Him. So this Ganesh Chaturthi, I thought it would be a great idea to set up some Ganesha themed Montessori Inspired activities for kids his age. Want to know more? Here they are:
Sensorial: Since my boy is too young to make a Ganesha idol, I did the honours for him. I made him a play dough Ganesha. Exploring this idol is going to be a great sensorial experience for him!
Matching / Visual Discrimination: I also created a matching game for the eight avtaars of Ganesha, also known as the Ashtavinayak. I can tell you for a fact that it is not going to be easy to match these similar looking Ganeshas! While he is used to simple matching at this stage, this is the next level of complexity for visual discrimination.
Fine Motor: I also got some Ganesha stickers along with a book called “Ganesha – The Curse On The Moon. I plan to let him peel them and stick them on a piece of paper!
Sorting / Pre Maths: I have collected images of multiple Gods, including a couple variations of Ganesha. It will be a challenging task for him to sort the Ganeshas out of the bunch, and keep all the other Gods in a separate basket.
Sorting / Pre Maths Again: I made modaks in two sizes using play dough, for this, he just has to sort them out according to their sizes - big or small!
Practical Life Activities: After knowing that the rat is the carrier (savaari) of Ganesha, he has to wash the rat using soap and plain water, and then dry it with a napkin. A wonderful practical life skill to practice, this also helps in sequencing abilities.
Language: We are currently reading these two awesome books on Ganesha – “Ganesha – The Curse On The Moon” & “Ganesha – The Wonder Years”. My son loves the moon, so he prefers the second one! Apart from language building, these books also do a great job of telling popular folklores through brilliant illustrations and rhyming text.
Free Play / Storytelling Prop / Culture: I created these placards using popsicle sticks, leftover cardboard & pictures of Gods to tell him more about Ganesha's family. These can even be used while reading the books mentioned above - Shiva & Parvati are Ganesha's parents, Kartikeya his brother. I also plan to tell him about the animal carriers for all of them, as shown in the pictures I have collected. I feel it will be a great value addition, as far as Hindu mythology is concerned.
Festivals offer a great opportunity to instill more awareness about our culture. I hope these activities will help my son know and enjoy the Ganesha festival more!
So how are you celebrating this wonderful festival with your child?
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