How to Celebrate Indian Festivals with Toddlers

How do you explain the concept of harvest festivals like Pongal to 2 and 3 year olds?

Well, at Veranda, we have learnt – from the real life experiences of a large joint family – that songs, visuals and simple stories are retained subconsciously by young, tender minds. This is also in line with the system of multiple-intelligences, followed by Veranda.

Following our fun Halloween and Christmas celebration, we crafted a multi-layered and interactive Pongal celebration at school.

As always, the week before, we had a simple story session on the concept of Pongal and a toddler-friendly audio-visual class. This time, we even added in an exciting pottery making session to create our own pots, which had the Mom & Me mothers thrilled as well.

Painting pots for Pongal at Veranda Preschool Chennai

On the day of the celebration, we started with multiple colourful kolams (rangoli designs) to welcome our young ones to their second home. This was followed by an outdoor Pongal cooking session, where every child helped add the ingredients into the pot (before it was placed on the traditional wood-burning stove) under a sugarcane stem tripod.

As the delicious sweet Pongal cooked, we spent time with Gowri the Bumbum Maadu (festive cow), who visited our premises all decked out in her festive glory.

As Gowri headed home, our pot stayed boiling over and we all had a blast calling out ‘Pongal – O – Pongal’ to each other.

Following all that activity, we had a delicious meal of home cooked pongals (sweet and savoury rice pudding) and sweet, green, seasonal grapes.

Learning the art of Kolam or Rangoli at Veranda Preschool Chennai
Filling in the ingredients for the traditional Pongal sweet at Veranda Playschool Chennai

We finished the day with a fun and messy art class learning to create kolams (rangoli) using homemade rice flour powder that’s safe for little hands, as well as, painting and decorating our own little mud pots to take home for our loving parents.

Veranda Preschool Chennai
Learning pottery at Veranda Playschool Chennai

Stay tuned for the video of our awesome day.

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