Ganpati Bappa Morya,
As I was researching for this post, I went to Pinterest and typed Ganesha for a search. I am amazed that our little elephant god is depicted in so many diverse ways.
So many people have painted Ganesha in different forms. Wonderful.
The photos of his beautifully sculpted photos and yes, some of them done by the family children are floating on our social media as this special occasion of Ganesha Festival arrives.
Here are the ones made by Kedar Shiralkar and Aditi Shetye. Did your child make their own Ganesha?
The atmosphere is full of positive energy with people visiting each other’s houses for darshan, Sending out warm messages to each other and sadly bidding Ganesha a farewell when it’s time for his visarjan. I am sure he is one of the most favorite gods for all children.
There are so many lessons Ganesha’s stories impart to us. As I read more and more stories about him, I realized the most important lesson for me that he teaches is, “Even though you may have knowledge, power, intelligence and have achieved great heights for yourself, always let the child in you thrive.”
I love his childlike form, Bal Ganesha. So here are some activities to do with your little Ganeshas.
Activity 1: Read books on Ganesha
There are so much to explore in Indian Mythology. As I read more and more, I found each story had so many versions. It’s all about interpretation.
I read many articles and blog posts. I loved this one which has many simple stories, easy to tell kids: Tales of the Elephant God.
We have “Amma tell me about, Ganesha” by Bhakti Mathur. I loved the illustrations in the book and used them to tell the story of Ganesha to younger kids. For the older kids, we directly read the book.
Another recommended book is, “Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth” by Sanjay Patel and Emily Haynes. The illustrations are so appealing. I wish to own it someday.
Activity 2: Writing and Coloring
Here are some beautiful activities and coloring pages I found on Chroniclebooks.com related to the book, Ganesha’s sweet tooth.
There are many coloring pages available on Ganesha, just google.
Activity 3: Make a Door Sticker for good luck.
For kids below four years:
You will need: A printout of Ganesha which you can cut out, Colored card paper, Dot stickers, Dot markers, Glue, Scissors and double-sided tape.
Steps: Let the children stamp the cutout with the dot markers, Stick it onto the colored larger paper circle, decorate with dot stickers the border and use double-sided tape to glue it to your door.
Note: If you can draw the outline of the Ganesha “after” they have stamped it, it will look better.
For kids above four years:
You will need, a stencil of Ganesha, Colored and white card paper, Colors, dot Stickers, Glue, Scissors, Double-sided tape, two round bowls in different sizes and sketch pens.
Steps: Draw the shape of the Ganesha on a white paper. Draw a circle using the smaller bowl around it and cut it out. Color the Ganesha. Use Black pen to make an outline and draw the smaller features like eyes, tilak and tusk. Draw a circle using the bigger bowl on a colored bright card paper and cut it out. Stick the smaller circle on this one. Decorate the border using dot stickers as available with you or you can even use Bindis. Use the double-sided tape to stick on the door.
Activity 4: Paper Cup Ganesha
For kids above six years or parents could help make this for their younger kids. I was inspired to make the paper cup head of the Ganesha from this post and as usual, I had to add my own ideas to it. As this is a paper cup, it is also eco-friendly.
You will need: Paper cups, glue, two colored card papers, scissors, sketch pen, googly eyes. You can draw your own or try using the template I made below. Sorry but, my drawing is not very good.
Steps: Cut out the ears and trunk shapes, Cut out the crown shape. Stick this onto the paper cup in the right positions. Decorate the crown with some basic dots and circles. Draw the inner ears and the finer details on the trunk. Stick on the googly eyes and draw around them. Complete the Ganesha face with a tilak.
Now cut out the hands and the legs. Paste them in the right position on cup 2. Stick both the cups together. Make small paper balls for the laddoos and stick them on his hand.
Note: When you stick the legs, make sure your Ganesha is able to sit upright on his own.
Here is a whole list of activities on my friend Shruti’s blog. I have always loved her work.
Activity 5: Cook Ganesha’s favorite dish
He likes laddoos and modaks. I know this is easier said then done, especially with little ones around. I am sure you will all enjoy relishing them.
I am not such a great cook but, this time I decided to try my hand at making modaks. I was missing the tradition of making the modaks together with all the family.
My maid helped me and she said, “Oh!, This is just like the dumplings!”
I find it interesting to note after coming to Hong Kong that there are so many similarities in Indian and Chinese cultures.
Activity 6: Up close with the Idol
Actually show them a big size Ganesha idol up close. The kids loved touching and feeling the various features of Ganpati bappa. I had showed them the idol in the above photograph.
As they explored, I explained to them the meaning of each symbol related to Ganpati. For eg. He has big ears which mean, listen more. I used this image from the post on “Lotus sculpture”.
This would also be the right time to discuss some important names of Ganesha with their meaning. Check for the 108 names of Ganesha or listen to Ganpati stotra.
Activity 7: Om and a Shloka
Teach them the sound of “Om” and let them pray to this Ganesha Idol who is sitting so near to them.
You could also let them help in lighting a Diya or an incense stick or drawing a Rangoli.
Teach them one shloka on Ganesha, explaining the meaning to them too. The most common and favorite is this one.
Activity 8: Listen to songs or watch Ganesha movie
Listen to some Ganpati songs meant for children. You tube is full of them.
There are some cute Marathi Baalgeet for kids on Ganpati Bappa. Click here for one of them.
Bal Ganesh or My Friend Ganesha seem to be nice movies for kids with hindi songs. You can view the songs only on you tube.
Activity 9: Visit Ganesh Pandal
If you do not have Ganesha coming to your home, visit the homes of friends and neighbors to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi with them.
Ask the kids to notice the different “Aaraas” or decorations made in each house or pandal. Discuss with them if they wanted to make an aaraas for their own Ganesha, how would they do it.
Activity 10: Clay modelling of Ganesha.
I find that nowadays there are many clay modelling workshops to make clay Ganesha’s especially in India in Pune and Mumbai. If you know any good groups which hold these sessions annually, do send us a comment with the contact information. I am sure it would be useful to others who are reading this post. You can also make one with play dough or real dough. If you have made any, feel free to post the pics in the facebook comments section. 🙂
Here’s one made by Rishi Sidharth. This Ganesha is so cute.
Have you heard of the “Tree Ganesha”? Check the video on our facebook page, shared just before this post.
We hope you have enjoyed the activities here and if you do any of them, be sure to share with us.
Before I say adieu, one small request from my side. Our God Ganesha does not ask us to waste and pollute.
Do your bit by finding eco-friendly and simple ways to enjoy Ganesh Chaturthi.
And, Remember:See you next time, Enjoy your Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
Credits: Due Credits have been given to the websites or blogs from which I have collected information. Mostly, the source links have been provided.