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16 Fun Diwali Activities for Preschoolers

Celebrate Diwali with kids and the whole family with these fun Diwali activities, recipes, games and children's books!
Fun Diwali Activities for Preschoolers
Updated: October 10, 2023
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The Hindu Festival of Lights is the most important holiday for several religions in India. Teaching children about the significance of Diwali at a young age is crucial to ensure that they understand why their family celebrates Diwali.

There are many ways that you can do this that are age-appropriate, educational, AND fun! 

We have put together 16 fun Diwali activities that are perfect for preschoolers or any kids age 2 and up. This includes the best Diwali craft ideas, easy kid-friendly recipes, Diwali activities and books to teach kids the history of Diwali. 

Now let’s light some fireworks and create a fun Diwali festival at home or school!

What is Diwali?

Diwali, also known as “The Festival of Lights,” is a Hindu celebration that is celebrated in several different religions. It’s India’s most important holiday of the year. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

It is associated with the Goddess Lakshmi (sometimes known as Lakshmi Pujan or Laxmi) of Prosperity. She is said to come to earth every Diwali and bless everyone who has lit diyas or oil lamps. It also marks the return of Rama after he defeated Ravana.

Everyone decorates their homes with lights and lanterns in celebration of Diwali!

When is Diwali Celebrated?

This year, Diwali falls on Sunday, November 12, 2023, and is celebrated over five days with Diwali falling on the third day.

Who Celebrates Diwali?

Several Hindu religions celebrate Diwali. The Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs all observe their own versions. The Jains’ Diwali consists of celebrating the liberation of Mahavira, who was a preacher of Jainism. 

While the Sikhs’ Diwali is called Bandi Chhor Divas. It’s the day of liberation when Guru Hargobind released prisoners from Gwalior Fort. No matter why Diwali is celebrated, it is an important holiday for all people of India.

Diwali Crafts for Kids 

  1. Diwali Paper Lantern

Diwali diyaa paper lantern craft for kids
Getty Images

The diya represents “your inner light” so it is fitting to teach little ones the significance through creating their own. This simple Diwali craft is very easy for preschoolers. 

They can decorate their paper lantern with sequins and stickers to make each one beautiful and unique. With a little help from an adult with scissors and a hole punch, a battery-operated tea light is used to light up their decorations.

  1. Paper Plate Diya

Diwali paper plate diya craft activity for kids
The Educators' Spin On It

This is one of the easiest Diwali crafts for kids and it can be displayed however you like! It is an oil lamp or diya, made out of paper plates and then painted and decorated. Hang up the finished diya craft using a string or use it as a table decoration.

  1. Rangoli Craft

Rangoli patterns are made using a variety of materials such as sand, rice flour, or sugar. This particular craft uses salt and food coloring. You can find several free printables for designs that your preschooler can use. 

All they need to do is add glue and sprinkle the color salt over the top. Once it dries, it becomes a cool and colorful design. It’s perfect for working on fine motor skills.

  1. Marigold Flower Garland

Marigold Flower Garland Diwali activity for kids
Patti Crafts

The color of the marigolds symbolizes new beginnings in India. So for Diwali, marigold flower garlands are hung over windows and doors. 

This simple craft uses colored tissue paper for DIY garlands. An adult is needed for the stapler and scissors but your preschooler can help make the tissue paper into the flower shape!

cissors but your preschooler can help make the tissue paper into the flower shape!

  1. Bangle Candle Holder

This is a super fun way to make a candle holder for Diwali. It consists of bangle bracelets and glue. Then, it can be decorated any way your child likes with beads and sequins. 

I recommend placing a tea light candle in the middle for safety. They make fantastic gifts and are one of my favorite decoration ideas.

  1. Salt Dough Handprints

Salt Dough Handprints Diwali activity for kids
Getty Images

I love making salt dough handprints for all sorts of holidays, like Christmas. You can make one for Diwali as well! They are made with a simple baked dough that can then be decorated. Glitter and paint are perfect.

As a bonus, these handprints can be given as keepsake greeting cards or Diwali gifts.

  1. Rice Rangoli Designs

Rangoli patterns are traditional Indian art and this DIY Diwali craft is similar to others, except you color rice! This particular craft also comes with templates you can use to create the design that you want. It’s easy and perfect for preschoolers.

Delicious Diwali Recipes to Make at Home 

  1. Gulab Jamun

Gulab jamun Diwali dish to make and activity for kids
Getty Images

Gulab Juman is a traditional Indian dessert that is enjoyed during Diwali is gulab jamun. It’s a sweet fried dough with milk powder, cardamom, and rose water. The dessert is fried in ghee or clarified butter.

Gulab Jumanare often made for other special occasions like festivals or weddings. These are fairly easy to make and children can help with making the dough.

  1. Samosas

Plate of Samosas for Diwali; Diwali activities and meals to make for kids
Getty Images

Samosas are one of the most popular snacks in India and other South Asian countries. It’s crispy and flaky on the outside and filled with potatoes, peas, and flavorful herbs and spices. This recipe is for Punjabi samosas but there are other varieties.

  1. Aloo Bonda

Aloo Bonda for Diwali; Diwali activities for kids
Getty Images

These treats are similar to samosas with a potato filling. However, Aloo Bonda are rolled into a ball, dipped in a batter, and deep fried. Kids can help with preparing any recipe and the adults can do the cooking!

Diwali Activities and Games 

1. Diwali Hunt

A treasure hunt is one of my favorite Diwali activities for kids. It’s easy to make your own using important components of Diwali or you can purchase a digital download to print at home.

2. Dhamaka Musical Chairs

This is a Diwali twist on the classic game of musical chairs. every chair has the name of a firecracker on the bottom and a duplicate piece of paper in a bowl. 

When the firecracker name from the bowl is drawn and matches one of the chairs, the child sitting in that chair is out. The game continues until there is only one person left sitting as the winner.

3. Home Decorating

Diwali activities for kids
Getty Images

Whether they are DIY or purchased, decorating your home with lots of colors and lights is a huge part of Diwali, similar to Halloween or Christmas decorations. 

Here are some fun and easy Diwali decorating ideas! 

Books About Diwali for Kids 

Books about Diwali are a great way for young kids to learn more about the holiday. Here are some great options.

  1. Diwali Celebrate the World

This educational book about celebrating Diwali is part of a series that highlights holidays from all around the world and this one is all about how people in India come together for five days of Diwali celebrations.

You can get “Diwali Celebrate the World” on Amazon for $8.49. 

  1. 5-Minute Diwali Stories For Kids

This book contains 12 short stories about Diwali celebrations or myths and legends. It’s a wonderful introduction to the customs and traditions of Indian culture.

You can get “5-Minute Diwali Stories for Kids: A Collection of Stories about Indian Mythology, Hindu Deities, Diwali Customs and Traditions for Children” on Amazon for $12.46. 

  1. Binny’s Diwali

This is the story of a young girl named Binny who wanted to tell her class all about the history of her favorite holiday, Diwali. She shares all of the things that her family does to celebrate and her version of the story of Diwali.

You can get “Binny’s Diwali” Amazon for $14.99. 

Celebrating Diwali is an important part of Indian culture and young children should be taught the significance so they can continue to carry out traditions when they grow up. 

We hope that you find fun and exciting ways to get your preschooler involved in Diwali celebrations. Happy Diwali!

Stefanie Miller

About Stefanie

Stefanie is an experienced parenting writer and has published works in other publications… Read more

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