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Facts about Diwali and Indian Celebrations for Kids

Diwali is a popular choice when doing a holidays around the world unit in an elementary classroom. If this is not a holiday you celebrate personally, you may not know a lot about it. These facts and resources about Diwali will help you plan and prep a comprehensive unit that your students will enjoy.

Diwali in India is an interesting topic to explore with elementary students. This Diwali in India resource can be used as a stand alone unit or as part of a larger holidays around the world unit. It includes everything you need to teach your students about this special winter holiday, even facts about Diwali to help you become familiar with the topic.

Why You Should Teach Students about Diwali

The months of November and December are a great time of year to teach students about the different holidays and celebrations that take place around the world this time of year. Students are already thinking about the upcoming holidays, so it makes sense to use this excitement to engage them in their learning. There are so many different ways to tie this topic into your curriculum – especially social studies and literacy standards!

Diwali in India is a particularly interesting topic to explore because some of your students may have never heard of it before. Students can learn about a culture and set of traditions that are different from their own. Learning about this holiday creates an interesting opportunity for students to compare and contrast this holiday’s traditions and what their own holiday traditions look like. For your students who do celebrate this holiday, it’s a great way to invite them to share about their experiences and recognize the value in their holiday and family traditions.

5 Facts about Diwali in India

  1. Diwali is the Hindu “festival of lights” which celebrates the New Year.
  2. Diwali is India’s most important holiday.
  3. The festival is calculated by the lunar Hindu calendar, so it falls on different days each year.
  4. It is a five-day celebration.
  5. Fireworks and firecrackers are often a part of Diwali celebrations.

Diwali Unit

What’s Included?

This Diwali resource includes the following:

  • resource overview that identifies all of the printables included in the product
  • teaching ideas that offer suggestions for how to implement the resources in your classroom
  • organizational tools to help you keep track of the resources you add to this thematic unit
  • book suggestions to help you find relevant read alouds you might like to use as part of your unit
  • close reading passage for both teachers and students to learn more about the holiday
  • printable book for students to use to learn about the holiday
  • two-column notes graphic organizer so your students can organize their ideas and the research they collect
  • top-down web graphic organizer so your students can take the information they collected and transfer it into a paragraph framework
  • cover pages that students can color in or design their own illustration
  • geography map to help students make sense of where the country is in relation to themselves
  • flag bunting that looks great displayed on a bulletin board
  • flag coloring page that pairs well with the writing project and makes a great bulletin board
  • postcards so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel scrapbook so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel journal so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • art project to engage your students in a fun learning experience based on an academic topic
  • recipe for students to bring home, share with their families, and enjoy a hands-on learning extension
  • digital version of the product so students can access the materials in school and at home

5 Reasons Why You Will Love It

  1. This resource includes a bunch of activities, so it’s a great value!
  2. Many of the resources are completely print and go, which saves you lots of prep time.
  3. You can customize it to fit your needs by selecting which included activities you implement.
  4. The activities are open-ended making it easier to differentiate and make modifications and enabling you to use this in multiple grade levels.
  5. It’s a great way to keep students engaged during a month where that can feel extra challenging!

A Quick Summary

This is an excerpt from the reading passage and student mini-booklet that can be found in the Diwali unit:

“Diwali is the Hindu ‘festival of lights’ which celebrates the New Year. It is India’s most important holiday. The festival is calculated by the lunar Hindu calendar so it falls on different days each year. It is celebrated in October or November.

Diwali is a very exciting and colorful holiday. It is a five day celebration. Diwali is held in honor of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Homes are cleaned to welcome the New Year and windows are opened so that Lakshmi can enter.”

Tips for Activating Schema

Like all lessons, you will want to begin by activating student schema and engaging them in their learning. It’s a great way to see if your students are familiar with the holiday, celebrate it personally, or know any facts about Diwali. You can do this by:

  1. Locating India on a map.
  2. Discussing India’s climate.
  3. Inviting students to participate in mapping activities that help them understand where your students are in relation to India and the rest of the world.
This Me on the Map project has long been the most effective way I know to teach students where they are located from a global perspective.

 

Many teachers use it as part of a map skills unit at the start of each school year, but it also works so perfectly as an introduction to your Christmas Around the World or Holidays Around the World lessons.

Printable Diwali Resources

Please note that you can either choose to get these resources specific to Diwali in India on their own or as part of the popular cost-savings holidays around the world bundle which includes the following countries and holidays:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Holland / The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • The United States
  • Christmas
  • Chinese New Year
  • Boxing Day
  • Diwali
  • Epiphany
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • Las Posadas
  • St. Lucia’s Day

The bundle also includes the following bonus materials:

  • Access to a digital portal for easy planning
  • Passports and country stamps
  • Luggage craft activity
  • Boarding passes
  • Travel map
  • Compare and contrast countries with Venn diagrams
  • Craft ideas
  • Scrapbook cover
  • Recipes

3 Diwali Craft and Project Ideas

In addition to the Holidays Around the World resources spotlighted above, a study about Diwali lends itself to a variety of other complementary projects like travel brochures, an animal research project, and crafts.

1. Travel Brochures

You could have your students create travel brochures by researching the country. It’s a fun and creative way for students to share the facts about Diwali they learned. This can be done in class or as a homework assignment to complement what you are doing in school. These printables travel brochures make it super simple!

2. Animal Research Projects

You could have your students learn about the wildlife native to India. This print and go animal research resource packet can be used over and over again through the school year because it was designed to be used when researching any animal.

If you need ideas specific to India, I suggest:

  • Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros
  • Bengal Tigers
  • Asiatic Lion
  • Lion Tailed Macaque

3. Diwali Crafts

Take some time to do a craft with your students to represent the country you are focusing on. It is so hard to fit in creative activities, but this is a perfect time.

Here is what we made when we studied Diwali:

You can see the instruction if needed for how we made this (as well as these other crafts we made to complement a study of many other countries) on my holidays around the world Pinterest board.

Check out all of the other country’s holidays around the world books!

Check out the holidays around the world videos!

Other Holiday Posts

This post is part of a series designed to help teachers and homeschool families. Other posts can be found below as well as the links to my other posts that you may find helpful in the month of December.

These facts about Diwali and resources will help you plan a comprehensive unit on Diwali in India. Another helpful resource to check out is this article, which offers suggestions for how to manage a holidays around the world learning experience in your classroom. It will help you with planning and teaching lessons about Diwali in India, as well as a comprehensive holidays around the world resource.

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