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Dussehra or Vijayadashmi is the celebration of the triumph of the good over the evil. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Ashvinas as per the Hindu calendar.
The festival is celebrated to honour the slaying of the demon Ravana by Lord Rama and several communities burn a cut-out of Ravana, the 10 headed demon on this day.
The Ramleela, a skit of Ramayana is often performed on this day and the festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm across the country, in different ways.
Dussehra is also considered to be a very auspicious day and a lot of new beginnings, new purchases, handovers and new relations are started on this day.
Since the day is so significant in India, it makes sense to celebrate it in schools and teach children about it and acquainting them about the customs in a fun way.
Here are some fun ways to celebrate Dussehra in preschools and kindergartens with some engaging activities for the kids.
1. Shoot the Ravana
You can also play a game of shooting by making a felt cut out of Ravana and adding a Velcro at the end of the arrow. The head can be the target!
2. Puppet show
You can make simple hand puppets of Lord Rama and demon Ravana and enact a fun puppet show for kids. It’s always easier to tell a story to little kids with props, music and puppets!
Check this out for Puppet making inspiration here
3. Paint and assemble
Give each kid a Ravana head cut out and ask them paint it with sponges and paint brushes.
Add the finishing details and get them to stick 10 of those on a Ravana body.
Use this opportunity to teach them counting, sticking and painting, all in one. Kids will love seeing their painted head on the Ravana on display next to their friends.
4. Perform a Ramleela
Pre-schoolers enjoy dressing up as different characters and imagine how cute the little angels would look dressed up as Ram, Sita and even Ravana!
Get them dressed and have them say a few dialogues. If you can create a nice backdrop, this Ramleela will be the cutest ever performed.
5. Make a flower Rangoli
Dussehra is a very significant festival and is celebrated in different parts of the country differently.
And if there is one thing common amongst all these celebrations it is the practise of decorating your entrance door with a rangoli.
Get children to make a Rangoli with fresh flowers of different colours or paper ribbons and let them enjoy.
You could draw lines with a white chalk on the floor and write the name of the colour with the chalk of the same colour you would like them to use flowers of.
This will also help them in recognising colours and improve their fine motor skills.
6. Make paper flowers
The marigold flower is considered to be an auspicious flower and used in abundance for decoration along with other fragrant flowers like mogra.
Children can make these paper flowers to decorate in their homes or temple during Dussehra.
7. Paint the elephant
Pre-schoolers enjoy sticking decorations on something and it might be a great idea to have them decorate an elephant or a mukut of Lord Rama on the occasion of Dussehra.
You can get a lot of stick-on decorations from the market, make a cut-out of the mukut or the elephant and let them enjoy the process of decorating it with shiny little decorations.
8. Gift packing
Dussehra is the festival of new beginnings and people exchange gifts amongst friends and family on this auspicious day.
How about teaching the pre-schoolers to pack gifts. It will help improve their fine motor skills and they would love to give these to their friends and family.
Let them use colourful ribbons, diyas, and stickers etc to decorate the gifts they pack.
You could also ask each parent to send a gift of a small value say Rs 50 and have the kids pack the gifts and keep them all on a table.
Then randomly have the gifts distributed to each kid.
That way each kid packs a gift, gives a gift and gets a gift and they learn that gifts are not just for receiving but also for giving.
9. Mithai making
Children particularly look forward to the festival so they can gobble as many mithais as possible.
Ladoos are a favourite amongst kids and fun to make. So get the ingredients ready and have the kids enjoy making their own ladoos! You could make boondi ladoos or besan ladoos.
For boondi ladoo you can use this recipe and have the boondi prepared in advance and have the kids add the sugar syrup and nuts and make the balls.
These besan laddoos are easy to make and need minimum preparation.
10. Village Fun fair
Villages usually have a tradition of having a Dussehra fun fair every year and that’s one time of the year children there get to enjoy rides, eat to their hearts content and have a gala time.
Recreate a village fair with simple rides like the traditional merry-go-round, fun games like shooting the balloon and fun food like candy floss and bhel.
Children enjoy simple things in life and there is nothing like having them celebrate with the ordinary and making memories.
These celebrations are all focused towards imbibing a festive feeling in the kids and we are sure they will love each one of them!