Makar Sankranti is an important festival in most parts of India. Here are some fun learning activities to do during this festival time. Festival theme activities are the best way to help your child learn about a festival, the culture and the traditions related to the festival.
The end of the winter solstice has been an important time of the year for many cultures since ancient times. Different countries in the world have festivals and rituals at this time of the year, which can be traced back to be linked to this same phenomenon, when the Sun starts its 6 months long journey northwards, entering the zodiac of Capricorn (Makara in India). This movement signifies the death and rebirth of sun in some cultures and the onset of spring in others. Seasonally, after this time, the days start getting longer.
The end of the winter solstice is celebrated in India as Makar Sankranti, which is a Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun god (Surya). Being a festival that celebrates the solar cycle, it almost always falls on the same date every year (January 14). It is a major harvest festival marking the onset of spring season in India. It is celebrated throughout India but often in different ways and sometimes with different names depending on the region. In most South Indian states, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as a 4-day long festival, Pongal. The end of winter solstice is also celebrated as Lohri in Punjab and Maghi Bihu in Assam.
1. Craft Activities for Sankranti Corner
1. Kite Making
This is a non flying craft kite.
Things required :- Lolly sticks, craft paper, decor stuff (we used stickers and foam flowers), paint for decor, wrinkled crepe paper (we used one strip of purple, yellow and green each), scissors, glue, scale and pencil.
Shanaya did the cutting of crepe paper into strips, sticking of lolly sticks and the decoration part of the craft while I did the cutting of the kite shape. It is a very simple craft and done within 30 minutes!
We used these things to make easy sugar cane - Paper roll tubes, white paper cut to the length of tubes, glue, purple and green paint, green wrinkled crepe paper cut into short strips.
Here is one nice sugarcane craft video!
3. Pongal Pot
A pongal pot is decorated in some specific geometric designs called kolam. Here is a video of a pongal pot decoration. Put some white cotton on the mouth of the pot to depict boiling over rice (pongal).
If you don't have a pot, draw and colour one, and cut it out!
4. The sweets!
Get or make the traditional sesame-jaggery laddoos, and you are ready to set up your Sankranti Centre. Below are some of our pictures. Do post your Sankranti corner pics in our FB group!
2. Learning Activities
Here are some books to tell your child about the festivals of India. It is fun to know about the festivals, their stories and activities for children, while also laying down the foundation for universal love, understanding and compassion. Click on the images to visit the book on Amazon India.
Four days of Pongal: The Harvest Festival of South India (Festivals of India Book 1) by Lakshmi Narayani
This is a short and simple book on Pongal for children. At the time of writing this article, it is free with Kindle Unlimited. I highly recommend it!
Sankranti Themed Printables
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3. Sankranti Fun Activities
Kite flying is one of the most popular Sankranti traditions, so if it is possible for you, have a go at Kite Flying and have fun! If you have never flown a kite before, I suppose the activity is not going to be kite flying, it will be mostly, "Trying to Fly a Kite"! I simply loved this video on kite flying, which I would recommend to those who want to take this up as a regular activity!
I did this with my daughter. A simple tray setup with 4 items - sesame seeds, rice, jaggery and groundnut. Also, two jars (one big one small) and two spoons for scooping. After learning about the various food items related to Sankranti, touching and smelling them, Shanaya had to scoop and pour the bigger grain in the bigger jar and the smaller seed in the smaller jar without spilling. So, the activity was about vocabulary, general knowledge, learning big and small and a big lesson in patience, being slow and steady and hand eye coordination.
4. Sankranti Art
No Sankranti activity can exclude the beautiful art activities associated with this festival. Here are some good videos with varying degrees of difficulty to learn these styles of rangoli, called kolam.
I hope you have fun with these Sankranti activities and they spur many new ideas in you as well.
HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI! HAPPY LOHRI! HAPPY BIHU! HAPPY UTTARAYAN! HAPPY PONGAL!!
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