Holi is all about colours, spreading love and being messy! To make my 2 year-old son understand the festival of Holi, I designed some hands-on activities for him. The beauty of these activities is that the child is kept engaged in the process and also learns a lot about the theme – importance of the festival, how do we celebrate it, customs and traditions around it. Plus, it is a great time to bond! These activities can be equally enjoyed by young toddlers, older toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners and even older kids!
Most activities are based on colours, obviously! And when there is a mention of color, how can we forget Art. So I tried to introduce different mediums for painting rather than the conventional crayons or using brushes to paint on a piece of paper. This makes the art making process much more interesting for the child and is a rich sensory exposure too.
Using a syringe is a great fine motor skill to master. And to think of it, is the syringe not a mini pichkaari? So I made colors at home by mixing maida, water and edible colors to give it a thicker consistency. I stuck paper on the whiteboard put it erect and gave my child colors and syringe to paint and create a beautiful mess (read abstract art) out of it. You can use an easel if you have one.
Water Balloon Painting
Kids love water and undoubtedly they will love water balloons too! So I prepared colored water, again using edible colors. You can even put water or poster color in water to make it colored. My husband filled the water balloons with colored water using a pichkaari. I placed a big plastic sheet on the floor (talk about the mess) and a chart paper on top of it. And now the rest was in the hands of my toddler to burst the water balloons on the chart paper and create a piece of art! It was a great gross and fine motor activity, to be able to squeeze or throw and burst the balloons.
Marble Painting – My toddler loved this color riot! Take a decently deep tray or container, place a piece of paper on it. Put some blobs of paint on the paper and place few marbles on it. And let your child shake shake shake the tray! The end result is an awesome abstract art. While he was shaking the tray vigorously, did you realize that those large muscles of the hands (shoulders, elbows, wrist) are being used and exercised? A great gross motor activity, which will help develop the right strength in those muscles for a strong future.
Making Eco-Friendly Colors
This is a great time to go green and teach your kids the same. We are going to make eco-friendly colours at home and will play Holi using these colours only. We will make red colour by grinding dried red rose petals that I have collected over a period of time. If you do not have them, buy some red roses today and keep the petals out in the sun so that you have them ready by Holi day. We will make yellow colour by mixing equal parts of turmeric and besan. We will make liquid green colour by mixing mehndi in water.
Now some activities to teach the importance of this festival.
Holika Dahan At Home
Why at home, you might ask? Well, it is not just a Holika Dahan activity, it is a great science experiment. I used some twigs (that my son and I collected during our nature walks), cowdung cakes (that my son and I prepared at home by drying the cow dung after we visited the cowshed the other day to feed cows), newspaper, camphor and an iron kadhaai. My son first put the cow dung cakes and twigs in the iron kadhaai. And then we adults managed to lit fire in the twigs using newspaper and camphor.
All this while, I explained to my son the importance of this bonfire. Told him the story of Holika and Prahlad. We all enjoyed the bonfire on our terrace under the moonlight. And this is what my son learnt in the process – wood and cowdung cakes can be used for fire, fire is very hot, negative energies and thoughts are burnt in the fire, dhuaan rises up when the wood is burning, spreading the holy dhuaan in the house makes it shuddh, after fire is finished the wood is finished too – it becomes black powder. This is what we know he observed and learnt. I am sure, he absorbed a lot more than what I have listed down!
Holi Letter Matching
A quick setup language activity where you can introduce your child to the letters H, O, L and I in upper and lower case, specially for toddlers. You can introduce sounds of these letters as per phonics if your child is 3+. I just wrote HOLI in upper and lower case on the magnetic white board I have and gave my son magnetic letters to match.
Book Recommendations For Holi
Reading aloud to my son has been our favourite bonding activity since he was few days old, and we still love it! Reading has so many benefits that are listed time and again everywhere. We are reading these awesome books this Holi season – Amma, Tell Me About Holi (Anjana Publishing), Everything Looks New (A book about Spring season by Pratham Books), Festivals of India (Om Books).
Have a colourful, chemical free and happy Holi everyone!