Friday, 1 March 2013

Crafts for studying India

Kids and I are studying Ancient India for History and also modern India for geography.  In addition I am taking this time to do a mini study on religions of the regions.  I found some fun crafts that they could do for our studies. We have been reading this book, as well as a few others

It includes stories of the Hindu gods and I found it in the library

After reading about some of the traditions for this festival we decided to make a Dipa bowl which is an clay oil lamp bowl (today, the children of India put tea lights in the bowls).   I had run out of clay so we tried using a Foam craft that I found at a local hobby store.  It is the first time we have used this material.

The kids thought this stuff was funny feeling and it was harder to work with then clay.

We tried making pinch pots but the material wouldn't keep its shape so I found some small bowls and we molded the foam onto the bowls and let it dry overnight.  But first the kids decorated the bowls.  In India the children would paint or put fake jewels in the clay to make it pretty.

The finish work:)

The Kids and I weren't thrilled with this product so I will need to find some more clay:) for any future projects

Next the children made  bracelets which is custom during the Raksha Bandhan celebration.  Raksha Bandhan means "tying for protection" in Hindi.  The bracelets are called rakhi and is considered lucky charms that will protect the wearers from harm.  In India the children to do this for each other  to signifying support and love of each other.  I found this great tutorial on the Pioneer women blog for making bracelets.  I had Princess do the more advanced style of bracelets and Little Man doing the easier version.

It didn't take long for Princess to master the technique

the bracelet style for Princess--I think if we had used cord it would have looked better but I only had yarn on hand for this activity.

Little man really struggled with this...I need to do more fine motor tasks with him I think

Lastly as a fun activity I bought some Henna dye to have the kids decorate their hands.
I am not the best henna decorator but Princess loved the pattern I created.  Little Man  being sensitive to things chose not to participate in this activity.

After 3 hours we washed off the henna paste and had a very nice coloring.  It has been nearly 3 weeks and the pattern is just starting to wear off.

We have finished up studying the Hindu religion and are now moving on to learn about Buddhism as well as learning about other aspects of India both past and present.


  1. Lots of fun crafts! Diwali is big here! Our street is about 1/2 Indian. The first year we lived here we couldn't figure out why all the Indian families decorated for Christmas so early. Finally, my husband talked to one of our neighbors on the bus to work. What they do is put the lights up for Diwali and then just leave them up for Christmas. Of course, now that they built the large Vedic center here, it becomes really obvious when Diwali is, as the center is on the main street of our city and they go ALL out with the lights. When they first built the center, we weren't too happy, because they built it in a very non-Pacific Northwest style. I guess the shape is Indian, I am not sure, but it is made with peach-colored stucco with cream trim. Needless to say, it stuck out like a sore thumb here. Had it been built in San Diego, where I grew up, it would have fit right in, but no one uses stucco around here and no one uses peach. They surrounded the center with trees, which have grown just the right amount so that the building really blends in nicely now. Then they use all white lights for Diwali and it just looks gorgeous at night time!

    1. That would be so interesting to see!!! My husband has been to India but I have not. If I ever make it out your way that will be one place I want to see:) I would love to see the architecture of the building esp if it is in the Indian style. The temple we have here is in an old warehouse building, but they had a very lovely shrine for the kids to see:)

  2. Those are great friendship bracelets. My girls also find this type of activity much easier than my son does. Your henna designs are very impressive. About two weeks ago one of the doctors just returned from a vacation in Tunisia and had them on her hands and arms. I'm pinning this for when we study India:)

    1. must be a boy thing for these types of crafts:). I bet a professional could do a much better job with the Henna design some of the pictures we saw on the internet were amazing

  3. I'll be remembering all these activities for when we revisit India in a couple of years. Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. I get lots of fun ideas from your site, you are very inspirational

  4. i love your India unit! You might also watch some Bollywood!

    One thing I think you might enjoy, on Raksha Bandhan our kids each make bracelets for one another, do a sincere gesture of love and support, serve one another dinner, and make a verbal statement of love to one another at dinner time.
    They enjoy figuring out unique ways to make bracelets to one another and figuring out activities to do for one another.

    I know your kids got a real feel for India from your activities! Very cool!

    1. What a good idea we alway end our country studies with a traditional meal so we will definitely do that.