Thursday, 12 January 2012

Your Child's Pongal Festival....

With Pongal (Makara Sankranthi) round the corner, it is time for celebrations again!

If you celebrate the festival "Pongal", how about getting your child involved in the celebrations and creating a unique learning experience for her? Read on...

Here is a list of some fun ways for your child to learn about and celebrate Pongal-

  • Observe Nature and its Bounty-  Pongal is celebrated as a harvest festival in some parts of India. So, why not spend some time observing the source of the harvest- NATURE.  Drive to the countryside. Stop to see the fields and the crops growing there. Since sugarcane is an important aspect of Pongal, see if you can visit a sugarcane field. If not, no problem. If you spot farmers working in fields, observe them.  If you can manage to speak to a farmer, nothing like it! You will know first hand about their harvest and it will be interesting for your child as well as you. If driving to the countryside is not a feasible option for you, you can always observe nature in a park close by or in your own garden. Take time to observe the trees, flowers and fruits. Talk about them. Encourage your child to observe and express her thoughts as well.
  • Make a Kite-Kite flying is a part of Pongal celebrations in some regions of India.  If your child enjoys craft, encourage her to make a kite, which she can also fly (if she wants to). She can also just draw and colour a picture of a kite and not necessarily fly it. Nothing is compulsory. It depends on the individual child’s likes and preferences.
  • Pongal Story- Weave a short story around the significance of Pongal and narrate it to your child. Alternately, if your child can read, encourage her to read about the festival on the Internet or from a book.
  • Cooking Fun- If your child likes helping in the kitchen, encourage her to participate in cooking and serving the “Delicacy of the Day”- PONGAL! Enjoy eating it together. If you live in Karnataka or follow the traditions of the state, ask your child if she would like to pack and distribute “Yellu Bella” ( a Karnataka special Sankranti delicacy made of sesame, jaggery, coconut and a type of dal) among her friends. If yes, make arrangements for her to do so. If you are from other Indian states, implement whatever is typical of your traditions and culture in a similar manner.
  • Reflections- Once the celebrations are over, encourage your child to talk or write about all that happened as part of the celebrations- what she enjoyed, what she saw, what she did, what she learnt etc.
As always, keep in mind that all children are different and would not enjoy learning or celebrating exactly as I have described. Be flexible, add your own creative ideas and mix and match in unique ways to celebrate this special occasion.

Have a Happy Festival!!

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