Get into the (festive) spirit of things with these fun activities!
Festivals gained new meaning after my daughter, Isha, was born. I was born and brought up in Mumbai where we celebrated most Hindu festivals, but now in a global city like Hong Kong, and with Isha, I’m getting the opportunity to learn about and participate in the rituals of so many more festivals. We’ve adopted the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, so this year we decided to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in our own little way.
I’ve always been very fond of crafts, drawing and making things. Pinterest is by far the most visited app on my phone. Thankfully, my enthusiasm is contagious. Observing my excitement about making something new through the years has rubbed off on Isha and now, she loves to join me in whatever way she can. Here are a few things we have made and experimented with this season. Try it with your children and you may just find that you have a “Little Miss or Master Maker” at home!
Read more: How To Introduce Your Children To Art
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Mid-Autumn Festival is lanterns. Naturally, I suggested we begin there. I let Isha do the research (it’s such a relief when they start reading on their own, isn’t it?) and she started making one on her own similar to this one from Origami-Club. This is the most basic and easiest lantern design available and takes less than 10 minutes to make. Though it didn’t turn out quite as neatly as we expected it to, it gave Isha a great sense of accomplishment! Using the scissors confidently definitely helps with her fine motor skills.
Still in search of the perfect lantern, I wanted her to understand how the same idea can be executed in many different ways. Hence, when I came across her secret stash (she is quite the hoarder!) and found cardboard roll from toilet paper, we followed instructions and made this lantern by Spend with pennies even faster! The cardboard roll makes the lantern a lot more stable and you can then go about decorating it stickers, paints and streamers.
The more you make, the more ideas you get, and that’s when we thought of looking beyond paper and making a lantern with the Pyssla Beads that we recently bought from Ikea. These beads are great for developing hand-eye coordination and they’ll also keep your little ones busy for hours. Ours look so pretty as a decoration, proudly hanging up in our house!
Egg carton dragon
Eggs are an absolute favourite and essential in our home. Not just for eating, but also for the wonderful cartons they come in. These weirdly-shaped boxes are very versatile when it comes to craftwork and it feels good to be using materials that would otherwise just end up in the trash! We really enjoyed making this easy and fun egg-carton dragon from I Heart Crafty Things. The best part? Dragon designs are always useful when it comes to celebrating all Chinese festivals, so save this idea for Chinese New Year as well!
Play dough mooncakes
Mooncakes and the mid-autumn festival are synonymous with each other. Playing with play dough has a calming effect on children and helps improve their pre-writing skills. We didn’t have mooncake stencils like the ones on chalkacademy, so we decided to improvise and add our own touch to it. Isha led the way and showed me different ways of designing mooncakes such as pinching the edges or using the end of a pair of scissors.
Making things with my daughter and experimenting with craft activities gives me insights into how she thinks and processes things. It also gives her an opportunity to think outside the box and come up with new ideas.
Paper plate drum
We weren’t quite finished yet. Last but not least – kids love noise (no matter how much of a headache it gives us!). No festival is complete without some noise and music. Though this is normally popular during Chinese New Year, we thought we could make a Chinese drum from spare paper plates that were left over from her birthday celebration. Ideas like these make us realise that don’t need to spend money on expensive materials. All we need is the imagination to use what’s available at home. A fun activity and an important lesson in frugality: win-win!
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, all other images courtesy of Tarana Desai Shah.