We have a special post today in honor of a holiday that is close to our hearts, Diwali! Our first ever guest post, and we are SO excited!! A friend of ours did a special DIY project with her kids last year for Diwali and we just couldn’t help but share it with our readers. She was gracious enough to write up a detailed post on all of the fun DIY projects that they enjoyed and learned from. We are sharing her journey here…
I have always for as long as I can remember wanted to be a mom! Now that this dream is a reality you start to think about a million other things, one of which is teaching them about our amazing culture! Now that my older son is 4 and going to school he is definitely starting to understand the different holidays so I wanted him to be just as excited about Diwali as he is Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
Reading is really important to me and so the best way I could think to introduce my boys to Diwali was including it in our nightly bedtime ritual. Here are the four books we used to introduce Diwali and all of the traditions that come with it.
- Lighting A Lamp: A Diwali Story by Johnny Zucker
This is a great basic introduction to Diwali and I have used this to give as gifts to mommies of little ones
- Lots of Lights by Kavita Sahai
Also a great basic introduction my boys loved the rhyming in this one and 100% of the proceeds are donated to Pratham USA
- The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra
This one was my boys personal favorite they loved the 3 cute monkeys “Suno, Dekho, and Jaano”
- Diwali: A Cultural Adventure by Sana Sood
I feel this one is a little more advanced but a fun rhyming story about why we celebrate and the story of Ram and Sita.
Since I really wanted to get the boys excited to celebrate I also started what I called 11 Days of Diwali, so from November 1st to November 11th 2015 we did a different Diwali activity every day. I tried to keep them simple and have them be things that were easy for the kids to do but not anything that would overwhelm them.
We put out flameless tea light candles in all of our windows, fun for the kids to turn on every night and it’s ok if they play with them. You can find them in assorted styles and colors at your local Michaels and the whole house looked and felt festive.
This was a quick activity, I basically cutout out some “diyas” free hand from construction paper and let them decorate and color them with whatever I had on hand. You can use stickers, glitter, pom poms etc.
Probably my favorite of all of the days the boys made kaju katri with their mota nani (great grandmother), nani, and dadi. A big part of Diwali is obviously spending time with our family and the boys loved being hands on with everything from grinding the kaju to adding sprinkles for fun finishing touches.
My mom picked up some clay diyas for the boys from our local Indian market on Oak Tree Road and they had a blast painting them in fun traditional colors
Daddy jumped in to help with this mess free play dough rangoli. I was nervous to use sand or rice with my little one so this turned out to be the perfect solution.
Pendas with dadi! And of course no sweet would be complete without sprinkles!
We picked out coins like Suno, Dekho, and Jaano from The Diwali Gift book. My 3 year old was beyond excited to have the same coin and it really made him feel special. The best part was that he asked if we could use his coin in the laxmi pooja! So awesome to know they are picking up on all of our traditions.
I had my nephews read the boys their Diwali books before bedtime, watching them all together was so nice! We also made some paper lanterns and hung up some cute elephant ornaments like a “toran”
This day fell on dhanteras so the boys had fun participating in the pooja and doing aarti. We also made “diya wreaths”. These were on my list of things to do but cutting out all the pieces seemed daunting. A friend suggested using cupcake wrappers which really made this project much easier and more fun for the kids!
Neel came with me to pick out sweets for my co workers and loved seeing all the different types there were! We did paper rangolis and felt votive holders to hang on all of our doors. We used a pattern from here, but you need to resize the image to make them big enough! (I learned that one the hard way)
Diwali!! We celebrate by going to a family friend’s home that is gracious enough to host several families. She does a beautiful annkaut and after dinner the kids love doing fire crackers!
P.S. You might be wondering if there is any meaning behind 11 days. We just started at the beginning of the month since Diwali fell in mid November last year. This year’s series of events is going to look slightly different with Diwali at the end of the month and the addition of extra-curricular activities to our schedules. The point is to not stress and just enjoy the holiday season with fun and festive activities any way you can!
Join us as we do these holiday projects with our kids and tag us at #runwaysandrattles on Instagram or share your photos on our facebook page. You can also follow Aartee and keep up with her new projects for inspiration like we do!
A special thanks to our friend, Aartee Badiani for sharing her special Diwali project she did with her kids last year. We wanted to share with our followers because we feel like this is a great way to build excitement in our kids for this holiday. As excited as they are about Christmas, let’s make them just as excited for Diwali!
All images (except for first) and content belong to Aartee and are being used with her consent.