We think it's important to learn about other cultures, celebrations, regligions and ways of life. As Christians we don't celebrate halloween, but with a 4 year old seeing all the stuff in the shop and wanting to join in, we feel its important to help her understand why we dont. Last year we talked about Jesus being the Light of the world. This year we thought we would study Diwali. What a lovely week we had. She really got into the spirit of it all. The beginning of the week started badly with Button being really unwell and we thought the stuff we had planned wouldn't get touched. But by the Thursday she was feeling a bit better so we squeezed everything into Thursday, Friday and Saturday. What was lovely was that we got to involve my nephew in the celebrations and he had been learning about it at school so knew the story.  We started with some basic videos from you tube on Diwali, mostly cbeebies versions and got our story from the tweenies  which for a four year old was easy to follow and engaging enough to get her attention. To enforce the story we told it to everyone who walked through the door that week. She loves stories and got excited to share it. By the end of the three days, if anyone came to visit I would get "Mummy, lets do the Diwali story again." This made it worth it on its own as out of all the arts and crafts and celebrating we did, the bit she took away from it ended up being the most important part.
  So for this week we did coloured salt art, henna tattoos, decorating candles, candle holders and Diwali cards. For the celebration we cooked a curry, chapittis and indian sweets together. On the Saturday we invited my nephew round for a 'light party' and had a few games. All in all a great week and I cant wait till Button is bigger to learn more about Diwali.

A diya is a small lamp used during Diwali to light up your house during the week long celebrations. We made ours using salt dough. 

You will need 
Salt dough or air dry clay 

Step one 
Make the salt dough. We used the recipe of one cup flour two cups salt and one cup water. Get your child to mix it together.

Step two 
Take a small amount of the salt dough and roll it in to a ball. Flatten the top and then gentle press a candle into the top to form a place for the candle to sit once its cooked. 

Step three
Use the sequins to decorate. We did half with sequins and half plain to paint and glitter later. 

Step 4 
Bake at 120°C for 3 hours. 

Step 5. 
Once cooked and cooled. We painted and glittered the ones we had left plain. 

Button loves doing salt dough, and glitter makes her happy so I knew she would love this craft. She also did all the mixing so she could see the ingredients coming together. This wasnt a long activity but it kept her entertained the whole time. This is great for science and maths, weighing out ingredients and how they change.

Glitter Candles 

This is a simple and fun activity

You will need:
Glitter pens

Basically you just decorate the candles.

Button loves glitter and if set her up with glitter she will sit there for hours. She went through all my candles and a big one before finally stopping. The end result was amazing, really colourful and bright.  This was great hand eye coordination and squeezing skills.

Rangoli salt art 

Rangoli is an art, originating in India, in which patterns are created on the floor in living rooms or courtyards.It is usually made during Diwali or Tihar (collectively known as Deepawali), Onam, Pongal and other Indian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese festivals related to Hinduism. The purpose of rangoli is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. 

What you will need: 
For coloured salt-
Food dye
Food bags

For the art-

Step one. 
Make the coloured salt by pouring a good amount of salt in to a food bag and adding food colouring. Mix it together till all the salt is covered.

Step two.  
Draw a design on to the paper

Step three
Let your child fill the pattern with the coloured salt. 

Button loved this activity. She's a very tactile person and loves sensory play so the coloured salt was a great texture for her to play with. She started by just sprinkling the salt and not taking much notice of the pattern but after a while started to glue inbetween the lines to fill the pattern. She commented how bright the colours were so i suddenly got the idea to use black card and use the salt to make fire work patterns. This was great as it was free design and she made some great firework shapes with her salt.

Diwali cards

So we watched a few programmes on Diwali and one of them made Diwali cards to give to family members. Button asked if she could make her daddy and cousin one. I love it when she gets so into a subject that she suggests things to do and this was a great opportunity to pratice her writing. 

You will need 
Card (we used black)
Cupcake case
Glitter pens
Blackboard pens or white paper for inside thw card

Step one. 
Fold your card. Fold your cupcake case and glue shut, then glue it on to your card so it looks a little like a boat. This is your Diya.

Step two. 
Draw a candle coming out of your diya and then decorate. 

Step three
If you don't have pens that with show up on the black card then glue white paper on the inside to write on. 

Button loved this activity and did her writing so carefully as she wanted her cards to be perfect for them. Button loves playing teacher so when she comes up with an activity she acts like Mummy is the pupil and describes everything she is doing. This is a great way for her to learn about how to give instructions.

Diwali celebration
  For this we used Twinkl which is a website that has print outs for a huge array of things. We printed recipes for a chicken curry, chippatti and Indian sweets. Button and myself made all the food and then invited her cousin round for a little light tea party. When he arrived they went off to play while I finished off dinner. When we sat and ate the curry we re told the story (which our nephew had also been doing at shcool). We then went up to Button's bedroom where i closed the curtains and made it pitch black. I hid sweets all around the room and the kids then had to find the sweets using torches (Guided by the light). They loved this game so much we spent a good hour re hiding the sweets, taking turns who hid them, practising giving clues and not rushing to show where we hid them. This involved turn taking (who held the basket etc) and I even told them to listen carefully as I hid them and use the noise as clues. Once it was dark enough we then did sparklers in the garden and used this opportunity to practise our phonics and words. They wrote in the air the sound or word I said. Then it was time for our glow in the dark bath. We filled the bath with bubbles and glow sticks and turned the light out. They love this activity and it means they are ready for bed. Button loved celebrating this festival and learning all about the different culture and stories. As she gets older I would love to come back to this topic again in more detail.

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