Friday, October 31, 2014

Diwali Crafts for Toddlers/ Pre-schoolers

As is the case in (almost) every Hindu home, at our home too we get really excited around the festival time, especially around Diwali time. Since Megh is at a age where she can actually participate in preparing for Diwali, we started making crafts about 3 weeks before the date. Well, we were aiming to do crafts during the weekends and so, it took us about 3 weeks. This time, I really wanted to keep it simple but yet, festive. So, we  made the below crafts:

1.       Salt Dough Diya’s
2.       Play dough Diya’s
3.       Crayon Lantern’s.

As you can see, our aim was to bring forth the lights without having to use the store bought diyas.

Salt Dough Recipe:
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Salt: ½ cup
Water: ½ cup
Food colors: Optional

Method: Mix flour and salt in a big bowl. Get the little one to mix! Megha loved mixing.
Then slowly add water. If you are measuring using the cup measurements, these proportions would be perfect. If some reason the dough is too sticky to handle, just mix some flour. If its too dry, add few drops of water at a time until the time you are able to make any shape you want easily.
Dough saved in fridge will keep for at least a week. Your all natural homemade play-dough is ready!

We divided the dough into 4 equal parts. In one part, I added the regular biryani orange food color. In the next part, I added coffee powder. In another part I added turmeric powder and in the last part, I mixed blue icing color and ta da! We are all set to make homemade diya’s!

Take tea candles or any candles and form the shape around the candle to get the impression on the salt dough. Megha (and her dad and I) had fun playing around the dough. Here are some pictures.
Note that after the impressions are made, depending on how thick the ornament (in this case diya) is, it may take up to 2 days for it to completely dry out and be ready to be used. If however you are in a hurry and want to speed up the drying process, you can pre-heat the oven low temp (like 200 D) and bake for 3 hours checking every hour to make sure the dough isn’t burning. Alternatively, it can also be dried in the microwave for 3 minutes. Check and then reheat for about 20 seconds at a time to ensure even drying.

Fun homemade Diwali diya’s are ready to be used!

Since this was the first craft we started, we just let it dry in the natural air for a few days. What a fun evening! Can’t wait to do this again. There really is nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than the whole family sitting together and working on something/ anything.

Play Dough Diya’s:
After the super hit salt dough diya craft, we set out to make play dough diyas. As the name suggests, we used play dough to make impressions around the candles. This time, we used some sparkles to give some bling to the play dough. Megha was very excited and mixed the sparkles all by her-self. She even chose the color combinations of what sparkles to mix with which colored dough and she also very nicely made ALL the impressions around the candles with very little assistance. So very proud of her! Another super fun evening!

Unlike the salt-dough, play-dough doesn’t take too long to dry out. In about 24 hours the dough hardens.
We used Crayola Play Dough.
Crayon Lanterns:
To be honest, when we were at school, we didn’t really have crafts sessions going on. I don’t ever remember doing this at home as well. I came to know that here in pre-school, crayon lanterns are famous. So, when I looked at the instructions of how to make it, I got very excited because I had never been exposed to this wonder before!

So 2 Sundays before Diwali (12th Oct), Megha and I had breakfast and we were all set to make our first ever crayon lanterns.

You will need:
Crayons (of course): different colored
Wax paper (parchment paper)
Small ginger peeler or a small grater (see picture)
Small white paper bags
Hot iron
Lots of adult supervision

Start this when you have plenty of time on your hands. Make sure the tiny-tummy which will be assisting you is full so that she is as excited as you are.
Sit somewhere comfortable.

1.       Let the little one tear away the paper cover off the crayons. Megha loved this part. She chose which colored crayons we would be using and she peeled the paper off on all the crayons before we began.
2.       Then keep the paper bag in place (use light colored bags). Megha was holding the paper bag while I used the grater to grate the crayon. I used different colored crayons to bring forth the different colors. Don’t even bother trying to control where the crayon droplets fall. Just follow your heart and let them drop where ever they want.

3.       Gently pick the paper up and leave it on the ironing board. Heat the iron on low heat. Place the wax paper over the paper bag.
4.       Megha and I held the iron and let iron roll over the wax paper for about 8 seconds. Make sure that the iron rolls all over the paper.
5.       Give it 2 seconds and prepare to be wowed!
6.       Gently peel of the wax paper.

Its not just Megha but even I couldn’t resist jumping up and down saying WOW! The crayons melt leaving the excitement back on the paper. We made 5 lanters and we were as wowed with the last lantern as the first one.
Peeling off the wax paper and looking at Megha’s face while the smile reaches all corners of her face was incredible.

I hunted for small LED lights to be placed inside the lantern but I could not find anything reasonably price. Here is how it looks after we light a regular candle inside.
We spent all Sunday morning doing this and I can say what an incredible experience it was.

I must not fail to add that this season i made a decision that going forward, I will also be doing things which I used to enjoy before; i.e making arts and crafts. After Megha went to bed, I made diya's ot of craft paper (Chiyogamii Paper to be specific) which I had bought from a paper store. I cut them in the shape of diyas and made banners out of them.

I loved spending time with this. Its extremely important to spend time doing things which we love. Its so very easy to lose track after we have a baby but we must reconnect to ourselves.

Here is a saree curtain that I got done for the festival! Megha helped hanging this up and she approved, "wow momma, this is so pretty"!

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