Sharing Fun Navratri Dussehra Activities & Crafts for Kids – DIY Ramayana Kits, Durga Puja, Navratri, Dandiya, and more!
“What is Navratri? I know! Navratri means holidays for school, correct mummy”, squealed my little daughter. As a mum, I love questions like these. I find them great conversation starters to explain a bit about our culture and get her excited at the same time.
If you are like me and want to get your child involved in the festivities, using crafts, puppets, and activities, then these activities are both fun and educational.
Navratri (Nine Nights), culminating with Dussehra, is a cultural festival of great importance and significance in India.
According to the great Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Ram fought Ravana in an epic battle that lasted nine days and on the tenth day Rama killed Ravana and that day is Dussehra.
Dussehra is also called Vijayadashami and is celebrated as the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahisasura. We celebrate the victory of good over the evil and success of truth over lies.
- Day 1 – Ghastasthapana – Grey.
- Day 2 – Dwitiya – Orange.
- Day 3 – Tritiya – White.
- Day 4 – Chaturthi – Red.
- Day 5 – Panchami – Royal Blue.
- Day 6 – Sashti – Yellow.
- Day 7 – Saptami – Green
- Day 8 – Ashtami – Peacock Green.
- Day 9 – Navami – Purple
In the Indian state of Gujarat, men and women gather and dance every night of the Navratri to a dance form called Garba and Dandiya. This is now very popular in most parts of India and was a big event in our Hometown. Navaratri brings in Garba or the Dandiya raas.
A dance form depicting Lord Krishna’s dance with his gopikas.. Typically danced with 2 wooden dowels/sticks decorated in festive colors. At home too, we decided to decorate our dandiya sticks.
Learn the easy steps of Dandiya & Garba
Basic Dandiya Dance steps and Simple Garba Dance steps for beginners and for kids. Get set for the performance for Navaratri and other big Gujarati festivals celebrated across India. Navaratri is a Gujrathi Festival wherein people celebrate, play dandiya, and perform Garba dance. Watch this video
Dussehra wishes and cards for family
Every festival needs Cards & gift tags. Make Dussehra cards for the family. We love making Foam crackers at home as cards and door decor – make cards for the family.
Dussehra Rangoli Ideas
Dussehra Home Decoration Ideas
There are many ways in which parents & kids can quickly get their homes ready for the festive season, with designer accessories that are readily available.
Here are some simple tips for the festive season.
- The first step to spruce up our homes is to de-clutter and clean everything. Remove items that are broken, old or you no longer need, as it blocks positive energy. A clean house attracts wealth and fortune.
- Change furnishings to have a more ethnic feel – wall rugs or authentic Indian saris can be used to decorate the walls and windows.
- Place Antiques and brass lamps or figurines, to add a traditional look to your home.
Other Ideas you can do are –
Kundan Rangolis are quite the rage these days ..
We love decorating the house with gorgeous Flowers .. Paper flowers are easy to make and stay a long while. You use these flowers as a table decoration, String them up or make a Toran.
Learn about the Mysore Dasara Festival
Durga Puja Decoration and Crafts for kids
Durga, Jagdamba or Mahishasura Mardini, by whichever name you call her or worship her — Goddess Durga is an embodiment of shakti, courage, love, and care. A powerful goddess who can vanquish demons single-handedly and a mother who devotes her all to her children. While Eastern India is renowned for Durga Puja festivities, the deity is worshiped in various forms across India during Navaratri, a festival that spans nine days.
Durga face Drawing Tutorial for Kids
One thing that your child might enjoy doing is trying to draw a picture of Goddess Durga. Here are a few videos that depict how to draw Durga maa. It helps them to explore Indian art and this tutorial step by step makes it pretty easy.
Durga Crafts – Upcycled CD Coasters
Ramayana Crafts and activities for kids
Dussehra is also a great time to read the Ramayana. Have a puppet show at home or in your local colony. The Raam Leela ( puppet style)will be a big hit.
More crafts on Ramayana here
Ramayan puppet set from Hamara Nischay [ Available on Amazon India Only ]
This adorable puppet was a great hit at home. Perfect for storytelling sessions and parent-child craft session. Plus the Ravana is adorable and not at all scary! Check out my Instagram IGTV where I showed the step by step of assembling it.
Buy it Here – Amazon India
Celebrate Durga Puja With Me – Shoumi Sen
Written in poetry with beautiful illustrations to match, “Celebrate Durga Puja With Me!” is part of the series “From The Toddler Diaries” and captures the excitement of this festival as seen from a child’s perspective.
In this delightful story, author Shoumi Sen walks us through how and why Durga Puja is celebrated. For a child, it means new clothes, meeting up with friends, enjoying delicious ‘bhog’, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Highly recommended for ages 3 and above.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/302m9nn
Amazon India: https://amzn.to/2RU3mpO
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3cq5YFp
Why we celebrate Durga Puja and Dussehra – the myths and legends of the festival. Plus: 20 fun things to do during Dussehra and Durga Puja
‘Ved and Friends Celebrate Dussehra and Diwali’ is the first book of the series. In this book, you will find fun short stories about * Navratri * Golu * Durga Puja * Goddess Lakshmi * The Story of Ram, Sita and Ravan* * The Pandavs * Naraka Chaturdashi * King Mahabali * Kali Puja * * Goverdhan Puja * Bhai Dooj * Ashoka Vijaya Dashami in Buddhism * * Diwali in Jainism * Bandi Chhor Diwasin Sikhism *
Amma Tell Me about Durga Puja! – Bhakti Mathur
I discovered Bhakti Mathur’s Books when I was searching for books that introduce Indian mythology to kids. The Amma Tell Me About series hit the right spot and Durga Puja Book too doesn’t disappoint. The illustrations are eye-catching and the two-fold story of Durga- the celebration and how Durga came into being is enlightening. Kids will love the story of Durga and Mahishasura! A must-read for all young girls and boys who are interested in mythology and/or stories of woman power!
Amma, Tell Me About Ramayana! – Bhakti Mathur
“Amma, Tell me about Ramayana”, the author, Bhakti Mathur has managed to capture this epic story very simply in about 20 odd pages. Bhakti always narrates her story in short rhymes which strike a chord with the children instantly.
Dussehra Golu Ideas
My dearest friend, Arthi Anand, author of the kids’ bestseller ‘Ranganna‘ and Founder of ‘Arts Tales With Arthi Anand’, posted this lovely explanation on Facebook and I’m sharing it here with her permission.
Navaratri Golu is a doll festival that gets the entire family together in a flurry of activity.
Lofts & Storage spaces are emptied of cartons/ bags holding precious dolls.
Why would you do that to the dolls instead of keeping them accessible to play?
Read on to know more….
What is Golu/ Kolu/ Bombe Habba?
Golu/ Kolu/ Bombe Habba is celebrated across four of the Southern states- TN, Andhra, Telangana, and Karnataka. Not all celebrate it though since it is as tedious as it is fun, to set up, maintain, pack and unpack all these dolls, not to mention have space to store them. Also, it is believed once you begin the tradition, it needs to be continued each year, at least in a token way.
Why is it celebrated?
Traditionally, Kolu, the doll festival provided more opportunities for craftsmen- potters, sculptors, handicraft makers to express their creativity. In ancient India, it is said that a king came up with the festival to ensure that unoccupied temple sculptors could put their talent to use and earn a livelihood. Some believe that the festival assisted the desilting of irrigation canals and riverbeds, by raising the demand for soft clay for doll making. And today, it continues to be an important occasion for socializing for women and promotes creativity in the family. And as for the religious significance – it is that of celebrating the Devi and the triumph of good over evil.
How are the Golu steps & the dolls placed?
Just prior to Navaratri, a step shelf is set up, with an odd-number of racks ( Kolu Padi), using metal/ wooden planks. Creativity is employed in making steps using existing furniture, books, and cartons and all of this is coaxed into a proportionate and stable structure. After the steps have been covered with sarees/ dhotis/ other fabric/ paper ( no mean task, like wrapping a giant Jenga tower) the stage is set.
On Day 1 the Kalash (holy pot/ kumb) with fresh water, a coconut, and mango leaves is prepared and set on the shelf, often the uppermost or the lowermost one. Then the dolls are organized with much enthusiasm and debate. The optimal doll placement is discussed, the order of the Dashavatar is challenged ( and googled) and resolved.
Sort of like the hierarchy of needs/ evolution, the Gods are placed at the topmost level ( including a Dasavtar, Rama family, and Ashtalakshmis). This is followed by royals, leaders and thinkers, making way for common daily life scenes in the form of art & culture- dance/music concert sets, schools and weddings, local vendors and businesses ( Chettiar Bommais are very typical) and agriculture & related produce, and finally animals/insects at the lowest level. Sprouted grains/ legumes are used to depict the farmlands on a side display.
Golus may follow a theme and the exhibits depict myths and stories out of Ramayan/ Mahabharat or even a scene from a recent journey the family has been on. These dioramas are quite fascinating and educational.
In TN the mandatory dolls are the “Marappacchi Couple”, a pair of a male and a female doll, gifted at a girl’s wedding by her parents. The dolls can be dressed up each year before occupying their place in the Golu.
Earlier most dolls were made from clay and then paper mache. Now they come in all sorts of materials and styles. While handicrafts ( from Kondapalli, Chennapatna, Mysore, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, nowadays Orissa, Bengal and Rajasthani vendors also sell their wares pre Golu ) are preferred, there is no dearth of machine-made dolls, from Barbie to Transformers to Chota Bheem.
Like any festival, Golu also has evolved as per the family’s beliefs and convenience. But typically, ladies and children get invited to enjoy the display, sing songs, enjoy the eats of course and collect a goody bag.
What do you do when you go visit a house that keeps Golu?
Adults and children look forward to the chundal/ sundal prasad (which is made of legumes such as channa, peas, peanuts usually soaked, boiled and seasoned) and compare notes on the size of the collection and which aunty made the yummier one. Rather like Halloween. The treats also include traditional sweets and fruits. Women are given betel leaves & nuts, coconuts, flowers, bangles, haldi -kumkum.
As a guest, you will fit in well and be appreciated if you dress up in traditional clothes and sing a classical bhajan or any spiritual song or play an instrument. A visitor need not carry any gift, but a small ethnic item to add on to the display or some fruits are always welcome.
Among the various festivities, three days are of greater importance.
- On Ayudha pooja (worship and thanksgiving to tools, implements and vehicles) machines and technology are worshipped, especially in factories.
- On Sarawathi Puja, books and music/ dance aids are worshipped.
- The next day Vijayadasami, marks happy beginnings and children often begin their education symbolically with the father/ family elder on that day.
Try and visit the Golu, in the late evening, on any of these days.
On the tenth and last day, the Golu dolls are symbolically made to sleep and packed lovingly and shall enjoy the rest, till the next year.
Dussehra Toys to gift
My Nephews are big Hanuman Fans, Over the years I have gifted a few toys that have been very popular
Hope you enjoyed the roundup. Do leave a comment with a link to your Dussehra posts. I’d love to check them out and share 🙂