Celebrating Diwali with Children

Diwali - diwali celebrations - 2019 - celebrations - festivals - diva lamp - Rangoli patterns - Rama and Sita - early years - topic ideas and themes

Diwali 2020 The Festival of Light

Each year the date for Diwali changes, but it usually falls late October or early November. This year, 2020, the main day is the 14th November, although it’s a 4-5 day celebration running from the 12th to the 16th November this year.

A list of the resources I’ve used are at the bottom of this post.

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Should You Explore Diwali?

Take a read of the blog post here on my thoughts on cultural appreciation vs. cultural appropriation and why I think exploring festivals and celebrations from around the world is so important.

I truly believe in going with the child and their interests so everything is subject to change in our house. I may gather some resources together that we don’t use and sometimes I find something last minute that fits what my daughter is interested in right now.

Gathering Resources

Often I get asked about how I gather together resources and manage the cost of this. Firstly, the resources you see have accumulated over several years while I was teaching and now with my daughter. When we first explore a topic I may only have a couple of items that fit that theme. However, because it’s the first time we’ve explored the topic we actually don’t need that much as it’s new to us. I make a folder or a box and add the resources for that topic. The next time we revisit that topic I may add one or two more resources. As we have looked at the theme before it allows them to deepen their understanding through familiar resources and new ones. So, how I look at it is that your resources sort of grow with their knowledge and experiences.

Hopefully now you don’t feel you need everything. How I choose what to add depends upon what my daughter is passionate about at the time. For example I know how much Floss loves using clay so I know she’s going to love making her own Diva lamps. She really loves different sensory materials too and the little pots of Rangoli sands are going to be a perfect activity.

Resources to Learn About Diwali

Here are some links to great Diwali videos and resources that you might find helpful when exploring Diwali.

Diwali Activity Plans

Making Diva Lamps

I like to use air drying clay when making Diva lamps, but you could also make them using salt dough. Here’s a link to a lovely how to make a diva lamp with salt dough.

Here’s our modelled Diva lamps. I prefer to use a lighter clay as we paint them, but I’ve used the terracotta as that’s what we had left. We watched the Diwali videos above while we sculpted and then acted out Rama and Sita story with puppets, working out puppets back through a row of Diva lamps.

Making Rangoli Patterns

I’ll add some photos of our Rangoli patterns once we’ve made them. Here’s a link to a post on Rangoli patterns with little ones.

Rama and Sita Story and Puppet Show

We’ll share the story of Rama and Sita together and watch a lovely BBC shadow puppet video – https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/watch/lets-celebrate-diwali. You could make your own puppets to act out the story.

Diwali Inspired Ideas

The number and literacy resources we’re using are from Fiddlestcks.Education. Becca who paints these beautiful printables does a Diwali pack (FANDF15 discount code). I purchased the Early Years Curriculum bundle and the Diwali pack is one of the packs in the bundle. Things like the words activity are a little too old for Floss, but I plan on using them orally to read out and for Floss to place the object based on my instructions. Depending upon what stage of development and their interests you can change what you’d do. Floss has a real interest in numbers and letters so I always try and find something related to these in each topic we do for her.

Love these Diwali Home Decoration ideas too – https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/decorate/a22673427/best-diwali-decoration-ideas/

Child Led

When we explore new themes I like to leave resources out for my daughter that she can explore independently. Here’s some of our Diwali resources on our latest toy rotation – the link is here.

Gruffalo woodland top toys toy, shelf rotation. Small world play, story sacks and bookish play ideas.Toy orgnaisation and ideas for gifts.

Resources (links/ aff links in pink)

  • Fiddlesticks.Education Diwali Pack (FANDF15 discount code)
  • White Clay (I’ve used this before and it’s better if you want to paint the diva in bright colours)
  • Brown Clay (this is the one I used in the photo)
  • Wooden Boards
  • The powders and stencils I got as part of a set that isn’t available any more. Here’s some that are similar. If you know of any others do let me know and I can update.
  • Rangoli Powders
  • Stencils
  • Etsy have some good ideas for little activity boxes. Obviously these ones are for sale, but they give me ideas for what I can make up myself at home – here

Diwali Books

We were recently gifted Festivals Around the World by MMS Publishing. It’s published by Booklife Publishing and written by Grace Jones and designed by Drue Rintoul. Booklife Publishing do fantastic books, especially their non-fiction. They are always well researched, beautifully presented and I love the fact that they are levelled books so can be tailored well for early readers. They have a few free Diwali resources on their site that can be found here.

Festivals Around the World is a great introduction to festivals from different cultures and religions. The images are incredibly bright and colourful, which makes this book really inviting for children.

The layout is so easy for young readers to explore with lots of interesting facts. Each festival has two double page spreads with lots of images. It’s book band level Brown. There is a section on Diwali and the picture below shows the other festivals covered.

More Book Recommendations for Diwali

I’d love to hear what ideas you have for learning about and celebrating Diwali. Anyone got any good recipes?

Diwali - diwali celebrations - 2019 - celebrations - festivals - diva lamp - Rangoli patterns - Rama and Sita - early years - topic ideas and themes

For more celebration and festival ideas and resources check out the celebrations posts here.

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