The good thing with children is that everything is a learning opportunity! Especially when it comes to festivals, there is a lot to be taught. Well, here are a few fun ways to not only teach your kid about the festival but also engage them in the festivities.
Makar Sankranti marks a significant movement in the zodiac – the arrangement of the earth’s dial around the sun – the movement brings about a change in the way we experience the planet itself! Sankranti also marks the completion of harvests and farm animals play a huge role in it. The festival, thus is celebrated in various ways throughout the country.
I usually setup Montessori inspired learning activities for my son for all the major festivals and this is no exception! Since different states have their own ways of celebrating it, I picked up few traditions and designed some activities, around them.
You can tweak these activities based on your child’s age, interest and skill set easily. So let me quickly take you through…
Fine Motor and Maths: Kites are an integral part of Sankranti celebrations, especially in Gujarat. I took 3 scrap cardboards and drew kites on each of them using a sketch pen, wrote numbers 1 to 3 on them. My son is still too small to count beyond 3, you can go ahead and suit your child’s skill level. The activity is to put the right number of clothespins on the cardboard. Being able to press and release those clothespins is challenging and satisfying for those little hands, you see! ☺
Fine Motor and Prewriting: Before we actually give our toddlers a pencil to write alphabets and numbers, it is very important to give them a lot of prewriting exercises that prepares them for the actual writing and makes the transition smooth! I chose the letter K and a kite. This image has empty circles inside the letter and kite. I got this printable from fabnfree.com. You can hand draw it easily. I laminated the paper at home (You can see the home lamination process here. I stuck it to a magnetic slate that I had. The activity is to place these circular magnets onto the empty circles. You can skip the magnet part of the activity if you do not have magnets.
You can use anything, like a pebble or pompom or even a popcorn to place on the circles.
Sorting, Logic and Language: Farms and harvests are integral to Sankrant. So I took this opportunity to teach my son a few things related to agriculture. One such activity is to learn and sort things, according to where they come from. This activity has things like wheat, milk, cotton etc. that goes with the farm and harvest theme. It is a great language building activity. You can grab one such printable from http://www.montessoriforeveryone.com/
Practical Life and One to one correspondence: If you live in Maharashtra, you will hear ‘Til gud ghya ani god god bola’ very often, so how could I miss the til gud in my activities! I got these til gud laddus and made then a part of my activity. The task is to scoop out laddus and put one in one cavity, of an ice cube tray. Plus, each state has its own folk food, so you can pick whatever delicacy you celebrate with.
Sorting: I mixed the laddus and ilaichi dana in a bowl. The activity is to sort laddu and ilaichi dana into different bowls. Sorting is a great pre-maths activity and toddlers love it. While they are at it, you can tell them how the two are related to Sankrant.
Matching and Sequencing: To expose my son to some more farming, its sequence and importance; I made this sequencing and matching activity. I used the printable from mummadiaries.com. It talks about preparing the field, sowing seeds, manure, harvesting and more. The activity is to match the pictures accordingly. You can talk about the processes as your child matches them. It is a great language activity.
Practical Life: As the tradition attached to Pongal goes, the cow is washed, decorated and worshiped. So I setup this cow washing station using a cow figurine. Just place a cow figurine, brush to clean, water and a napkin. Toddlers have so much fun pretending to wash anything! I also kept kumkum in the tray to decorate the cow after the wash.
Nature and Practical Life: I prepared a small pot with soil and manure for my son and we sowed some wheat grains. He scooped out some soil from the pot, sprinkled the wheat grains, put the soil back in the pot, pressed the soil a little, watered it and put it in the sunlight!
He loved it! Every day we water the pot and hope to harvest some wheat grass on Sankranti, to mark the harvest season. I chose wheat because it germinates super quickly.
Hope you have fun doing these super simple Sankranti themed activities with your child. A very happy Sankranti to all of you! ☺
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