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DIWALI
 

ABOUT DIWALI
Explain to your child that Diwali is the five-day Hindu Festival of Lights, which is celebrated in October or November. Traditionally, little clay lamps filled with oil are lighted and lined up on building edges and windowsills in honor of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. Houses are cleaned and then decorated with flower garlands, paper chains, and good-luck doorstep designs made with colored powders. Popular Diwali activities include playing card games, dressing up in special clothes and jewels, and exchanging boxes of sweets.
 

DIWALI LAMPS
Give your child several different colors of modeling clay. Show him how to make "Diwali lamps" by molding the clay into small bowl shapes. Add pieces of yarn or string for pretend wicks. If you wish, let your child glue paper flame shapes to the ends of the wicks or have him decorate the ends with glitter glue. Then help him line up his lamps on a windowsill for a festive look.

 
DIWALI DECORATIONS

With your child, try one or more of the following ideas for room decorations.

Make flower garlands by stringing flower shapes cut from colored paper onto pieces of yarn.
Draw freeform designs on paper with colored chalk for taping to a doorstep.
Create paper chains by taping together loops of colorful paper.
 
CARD GAMES
Play a favorite card game with your child. Or remove the face cards from a deck of ordinary playing cards and use the remaining cards for playing these games.
Sort the cards by color (red and black), by kind (hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs), or by number (twos through tens).
Line up the cards in one of the suits, such as the hearts, in numerical order.
Mix up the cards from two suits, then find the matching numbered cards.
 
DRESS-UP FOR DIWALI

Set out materials your child can use to make jewelry, such as aluminum foil or sparkly pipe cleaners for twisting into bracelets and rings. You might also include paper shapes that can be decorated with glitter glue or sequins and then strung on yarn for a necklace. Then provide dress-up clothes for your child to wear with her new jewels.
 
MUSICAL FUN
Check your local library or music store for recordings of Indian music. Play the music for your child and invite him to dance or move to it any way he wishes. Or place plastic tubs upside down for drums and tap out rhythms together as you listen.
  
LITTLE LAMPS

Tune: "London Bridge"

Little lamps are burning bright,
Burning bright, burning bright.
Little lamps are burning bright.
It's Diwali.

See them lighting up the night,
Up the night, up the night.
See them lighting up the night.
It's Diwali.
Liz Ryerson

COCONUT TREATS
Coconut sweets and dried fruits are favorites at Diwali. Let your child help you make these versions of traditional treats for a snack. Mix sweetened cream cheese with flaked coconut and roll into small balls. Use fingers to soften dried apricot halves. Then stuff the apricots with the coconut-cheese balls