India’s biggest and brightest festival is here and I can’t express enough how excited I am! Everything about Diwali fills me with great joy and this year, the jubilation is a little more!
Well, my 20-month-old son celebrates his second Diwali this year. Last year, he was too little to understand what was going on. But this year, I decided to rope him into the spirit of the festival. So I set up a Diwali-themed Montessori shelf just for him and he is thrilled. Now he walks over to the shelf ask for his, “ativity”(activity), several times through the day.
These toddler activities have been designed around the culture and traditions of the five days of Diwali, along with Montessori principles and key areas of skill development. So here they are
Spooning Batasha – Batasha is an integral part of Diwali pooja. The activity is to ask your toddler to transfer the batasha from one bowl to another using a spoon. This develops his ability to handle objects deftly with a spoon.
Books – I found two awesome books for Diwali . ‘Hurray for Diwali’ from Tota books talks about how we celebrate Diwali over the days. ‘Chandni me Garam Kheer’ is another good book from Pratham books. It is available in other languages too. It talks about the patjhad (autumn) season and the festivals celebrated during this season.
Diya Painting – This is one good old traditional activity that kids and adults enjoy in equal measure. My son loves painting these days and I cannot wait to see how he paints his diya.
Rangoli colour layers – This activity was a super hit in my house. All you need is a transparent plastic bottle (I used an old flavoured-milk bottle), a funnel, a spoon and some rangoli colors. The activity is to put the funnel over the bottle, scoop out different rangoli colors from the bowls, put them into the bottle and create some nice layered colored texture in the bottle.
My son would not leave the colors and the bottle for a long time. After using the funnel for some time, he started putting the colors in the bottle directly using the spoon. At the end he put in the colors directly with his hands. It was messy play but he absolutely enjoyed himself.
Stamp Art – It is a tradition to draw Goddess Laxmi’s feet around the doorstep and the floors of the rooms to invite her to our homes. To make it fun for your toddler, here is a stamping art activity. Here, I used foam cutouts of feet and pasted them on bottle caps, and my DIY stamps are ready to use!
This super fun activity allows your child to create a masterpiece. Take a sheet of paper. Let your child squeeze out glue on the paper randomly. Then he has to scoop out rangoli colors, and using the sieve, spread the colors on to the paper. My son skipped using the sieve. He was too excited with the spoon itself. After spreading for a while, shed off the excess color. You will get a beautiful, multi-coloured piece of modern artwork.
Sorting Dryfruits – Diwali is about gifting and eating tons of dried fruits, nuts and sweets. So I designed a simple sorting activity with dried fruits and nuts. This is also a language activity. My son now knows the names of all the dry fruits and nuts and he also tasted them while sorting.
Stick Puppets - I downloaded few Ramayana characters from the internet, pasted them on a piece of cardboard and stuck popsicle sticks at the back. Viola, my DIY finger puppets were ready for storytelling and free play. My son had a gala time holding these puppets and roaming around the house chanting, “Ravan, Sita, Shree Ram, Lakshman!”
Sorting Gold and Silver – Dhanteras is all about buying valuables in gold or silver. So I thought of introducing this concept to my son with a sorting activity. I just gathered some artificial jewellery and set up this sorting activity.
Kheel & batasha are used in Laxmi pooja. Again, I weaved this tradition into an activity. I mixed kheel & batasha. I also made handwritten cards from numbers one through three along with circles denoting the quantity. The activity is to pick out the batashas hiding inside the kheel, use them as counters and place them on the counting cards.
A lot of people stick stickers with Goddess Laxmi’s feet on them on and around the front door on Diwali . This year I am going to give these stickers to my son. Peeling off stickers and sticking on to the right place is a great fine motor skill.
Letters – On small pieces of cardboard, I wrote the word Diwali with individual letters of the word on each piece. I also wrote the whole word over a bigger piece. The activity is to match the letters and stick them using some velcro. You can also tell your child how the letter sounds.
Pre-Maths – I have a diya stand which can hold four diyas. So I put it to use for this pre-maths activity. The activity is to put one baati (wick) in each diya. One-to-one correspondence activities such as these is a precursor to counting.
Rangoli Puzzle- I downloaded some rangoli designs from the internet, printed them out, then cut them into halves. They were then pasted one half on one piece of cardboard and the other half on another piece. The activity is to find the other half of the rangoli and place it alongside using velcro. A quick DIY two-piece puzzle.
Pairing Diyas – I had painted few diyas last year and came up with this pairing activity wherein you could sort them according to their design/shape.
Matching Rangoli – The same downloaded rangoli patterns from the logic building activity were used to create a matching activity.
These were some super simple Diwali-themed activities that you can do with stuff you have at home. Engage your child and let him soak in the spirit of Diwali with you.