Celebrating Diwali in the Early Years


Learning about Diwali with young children is a great way of recognising different beliefs and cultural practices. 

Diwali is an important festival celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus all over the world and it is often called The Festival of Light. It is celebrated in October or November each year - it changes as  it follows the lunar calendar. 

To celebrate, people clean their homes; decorate their homes with lights and diyas; wear new clothes; exchange gifts and put on huge firework displays. 

Here are our ideas for how you can celebrate the Diwali festival in ways that support all the areas of children's development.

We also have a printable version of our Diwali Early Years Planning Sheet which is available in colour or a more printer friendly black and white version. 

Language and Communication

Personal, Social and Emotional

  • Whilst reading the story of Rama and Sita, use it is an opportunity to explore the charatcers' feelings. Pause to ask the children questions. Why might people be afraid of Ravana? How would Sita have felt when she was kidnapped? How might Rama feel when he discovered that Sita was missing? Use these to explore times when the children experienced similar feelings. 
  • Rama was very brave when he went to find Sita. Use the story as a prompt to discuss bravery and what it means to be brave. 
  • Practise turn taking by using these Diwali themed game cards for a memory game. 


  • Practise pencil and scissor control with a maze, colouring pages and cutting shapes. Use the cut out shapes to decorate cards or create a display. 
  • Get the children pinching, rolling and squeezing with playdough on the Diwali playdough mats or with airdrying clay to create a diya craft
  • Practise fine motor control and learn about traditional Mendhi or Henna patterns with this handprint craft
  • Help children to develop their pincer grip by printing out a rangoli template and giving the children pompoms to 'colour' it in with. 


  • Help the children to make Diwali cards. They can practise writing their names in them. You could also use the opportunity to help them to copy other words, phrases, kisses or names that they would like to write. 
  • Read books about Diwali
  • Use outdoor chalks to create rangolis and encourage mark making. 


  • Practise counting and subitising with Divali themed peg cards
  • Weigh out the ingredients for coconut Diwali sweets. We mixed up 250g of condensed milk, 250g of icing sugar and 250g of dessicated coconut. Mix it all together. Split the mixture in half and add food colouring to one half. Roll the mixtures into balls (half will be coloured, half will be white) and leave overnight to set. 
  • Have a go at this rangoli puzzle where children have to find the odd one out. Then look carefully at each rangoli to identify the 2D shapes. 

Understanding the World

  • Create a Diwali treasure basket. In it, you could include a diya, candles, brightly coloured fabrics, bottles full of coloured rice, boxes wrapped in gift paper and a monkey soft toy. 
  • Visit or look at pictures of a temple. Talk about places that are special to people and communities. 
  • Invite visitors to talk or watch appropriate video clips about Diwali. 

Expressive Arts

Celebrating Diwali in the Early Years
Wednesday, 5th October 2022

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