Fun experiences to introduce your children to your cultural festival

Reading time: 4 minutes

When you think of celebrating festivals, what is the best memory that immediately comes to your mind?

For me, it is definitely the fun, the antics and the food associated with the festival.

Likewise, if you want to introduce your child to your cultural festivals and want them to enjoy them, do so through play.

Play is “the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it is in itself the free expression of what is in the soul of a child”. So said Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten. In play, whether it’s story telling, playing games, music and movement, your child can explore, imagine and make decisions, all while having fun and having fun.

Here are three ways to use play during festivals to make it an engaging experience for our kids.

GAMES

The games have an instant ability to connect on an entertaining level with our children. A great play-based activity, games can be a great way to help kids connect with the festivals you celebrate. What games did you play as a child at festivals that you could teach your children?

Hide the ladoos for the treasure hunt: a sweet surprise. Source: Canva

I vividly remember playing card games with my family during Diwali and it is certainly a tradition that I will continue with my little one. Another example of a game you could play with your child is doing a Janmashtami scavenger hunt with him involving makhan or a treasure hunt for Ganesh Chaturthi in search of laddoos. Tambola is another great game to play on Diwali with your kids.

ACTIVITIES

Use fun activities that interest your child – such as art, music and movement, drama, narration – to link them to the festival. If your kid loves dress up games, then there is no limit to the fun one can have at festivals. Dressing them – and yourself, why not – like Ganesh or Krishna or Radha will be exciting for you and the extended family, resulting in a beautiful memory. (Keep that camera handy!) Costumes promote role play, which can be a great way to teach stories relating to the god of the day.

Dressing for Janmashtami Source: Canva
Dressing for Janmashtami Source: Canva

If music is more your kid’s thing, take out and tap the dandiya sticks for Navratri, or choose a particularly melodious bhajan to sing along with them.

All the kids connect to the stories, so reading them stories about characters or gods relevant to the festival could be informative as well.

At home, art is a favorite activity – drawing, crafting and coloring make my little one very excited. Painting a handi for Janmashtami or making diya crafts for Diwali will be great ways to while away our play time.

Examples of creative artistic activities.  Source: provided
Examples of creative artistic activities. Source: Supplied

What does your child like to do (play) and how could you relate it to the festival you are celebrating?

FOOD

Cooking is an activity that allows imagination and exploration and can therefore be a wonderful avenue for playing. So you can cook with your child or let your child prepare something for the festival you are celebrating. Play plasticine for Ganesh Chaturthi – hey, even adults will enjoy this activity!

Plasticine laddoos for Ganesh Chaturthi Source: Supplied
Plasticine laddoos for Ganesh Chaturthi Source: Supplied

Play plasticine.  Photo: Pallavi Tiwari
I wonder if Ganesha would like them in blue… Photo: Pallavi Tiwari

Older kids can join you in the kitchen as you roll your real laddoos. Laddoo time at Ganesh Chaturthi is filled with teachable moments. Use other treats for different festivals. Turn on the music, put the kids in the kitchen, and start making delicious memories together.

Modak for Ganesh Chaturthi.  Source: Canva
Modak for Ganesh Chaturthi. Source: Canva

At Janmashtami this year, which we celebrated with our little one for the first time, we created some fun traditions based on the game. handis (clay pots) and a more pankh (peacock crown), listened to stories about Krishna, helped to do some makhan (butter) and mithai (candy) and finally learned and sang some Krishan bhajans (hymns) while having fun.

The more fun memories you can create with your child during your festival celebration, the better your child’s connection with the festival being celebrated and the greater the joy.

Introduce play through games, fun activities and cooking while celebrating your holidays with your kids. Then watch how festivals go from the usual grind to the most exciting and memorable times for your family.

READ ALSO: It’s Modak Time As We Celebrate Ganesha


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Darcy J. Skinner

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