This is a simple, original idea for a really lovely, satisfying mandala craft. Deciding on your design and pushing the beans into the clay can get children of all ages absorbed, and the finished artwork looks fabulous on display.
Vesak, also known as Wesak, Buddha Day or Buddha Burmina, is the most important day in the Buddhist calendar. Celebrated on the full moon in May, Vesak celebrates the birth of Buddha, as well as his enlightenment and death. It is widely celebrated in Asia and in many places is an official public holiday. Vesak will next be celebrated on 23rd May 2024.
How is Vesak Celebrated?
There are different ways of celebrating the holiday. Often the festivities begin with a good "spring clean" and homes are freshened up and decorated. In the morning, Buddhists visit their temples and give offerings to the monks of food, candles and flowers. There is chanting and praying, incense, music and colour. There may be exciting parades through the streets.
In some areas there will be a "Bathing the Buddha" ceremony, with water poured over a statue of Buddha. Special lanterns of paper and wood (sometimes homemade) are hung from houses and trees, along with electric lights and exciting light displays. Caged birds may be released, symbolising the releasing of sorrows. In China, there may be dragon dances.
Our Vesak Activities
Colour in the bodhi leaf - perhaps in bright colours for Vesak. You could do a classroom full of them and then make a bodhi tree display...
At Vesak it is traditional to decorate bodhi leaves with colourful paint and hang them up on display. Many are painted with small pictures of Buddha, which is where the inspiration for our Buddha colouring page comes from.
This beautiful Buddha colouring card has lots of detail for children and adults alike to enjoy. What a lovely design to receive, too. The card works best when printed using your printer's borderless settings.
We hope that children will enjoy colouring in this serene meditating Buddha colouring page - perfect for your Buddhism studies or for Vesak or other Buddhist celebrations.
This gorgeous "mindfulness" colouring page shows Buddha sitting in from of a stylised leaf from the bodhi tree, and is an intricate design that older children and adults will enjoy colouring in.
There are thought to be over 3000 Buddha footprints all over Asia, carved into stone, rock or metal. The footprints are meant to symbolise Buddha's presence on earth and serve as a reminder that he left a spiritual path for his followers; they contain a variety of typical Buddhist images.
You can use this Buddha frame for writing activities, printing it out onto white paper or coloured as you prefer. It also makes a useful template and would look lovely with gold or silver paper.
Here's some useful story paper featuring a picture of Buddha. Use it for storing notes, writing projects and more.
Trace over the dotted lines to draw this lovely serene Buddha face. Younger children could use a thicker pencil or crayon and trace between the two dotted lines.
When Prince Siddhartha was 35 years old, he meditated under the Bodhi tree until he became enlightened. This lovely colouring page shows this part of the story of Buddha.
Print out this story paper to use when writing about the life of Buddha. There is also a lovely picture to colour in.
Every Chinese New Year ends with a beautiful display of lanterns at the Lantern Festival. Your children can make their own colourful Chinese lantern craft for your Chinese New Year display. This lantern can be adapted for all ages of kids.
This Chinese lantern craft is quick and easy to do, but a string of them hung across a room looks bright and pretty and perfect for a Chinese New Year or Lantern Festival display.
This is a very quick and easy way to make some pretty lotus flower decorations for Vesak - but of course you can adapt the shape of the petals to make an array of gorgeous flowers any time! This would be a lovely party craft, too.
The dharma wheel is one of the oldest symbols of Buddhism. It is a chariot wheel, often gold. At the centre you often see three swirling shapes (as in our dharma wheel colouring page below) or a yin-yang symbol.
Here's a challenging tracing activity for the kids with many dotted lines to practice their pencil control on. Alternatively, trace or colour in between the dotted lines.
This clay modelling craft uses a kitchen bowl as a base to create a lovely lotus flower bowl. It would make a super trinket bowl, and a perfect gift for the kids to give to friends or family - perhaps for Mother's Day?
He is a pretty lotus flower to colouring. We've left the outlines simple for cutting out if you wish, too.
This beautiful lotus flower lantern is made out of 3 paper cups! Used with an electric tea light it looks really pretty and the kids will be very proud of their creation... perfect for Vesak celebrations of course, but lovely at any time of year.
Trace over the dotted lines to draw this stylised lotus flower, then colour in the petals. Alternatively, use it as a template and print onto pink paper for cutting out and sticking...
This mini Chinese Lantern Chain is very quick and easy for kids to make, and as you can see from our photo, it looks absolutely spectacular! A great way to brighten up your home or classroom for Chinese New Year!
Who would have believed that a simple white paper plate could look so beautiful, and provide such a fun (and inexpensive) weaving craft for the kids? I would love to see a whole wall of these on display...
This is a lovely craft which can be done with any age of child. We've used the excuse of making a mandala, which is symmetrical and repetitive in design, but you may prefer to give the kids free reign!
This pretty "stained glass" lotus flower is also a simple lesson in symmetry! It looks very pretty hung in a window for the light to shine through it, and would be perfect for Vesak celebrations.
In some Buddhist countries, children make or buy interestingly shaped lanterns and hang them from trees and lamp-posts to celebrate this colourful holiday. You can see this happening in our Vesak colouring page.
Kids can cut out these four images, associated with Vesak and Buddhism in general. Younger children might like to follow the dotted lines while older kids can cut the images out directly. Perfect for sticking onto projects and displays.
Kids can trace over the letters in Vesak until they are confident enough to write them on their own on the last line. And we've provided two traditional Buddha Day lanterns to colour in, too.
How many words of three letters or more cna you make using the letters in Happy Buddha Day? Use this page to record your results.
This type of lantern is often on display for Vesak in Sri Lanka, but you might see similar lanterns made out of colourful paper and wood hanging all over Asia during Buddha Day celebrations.
Use our sensory planning sheet to encourage the children to brainstorm ideas about Vesak, so they can write an exciting sensory poem for the celebration.
Print out this Vesak story paper for the kids to use when writing about this exciting holiday. They can use it to record what they've learned about Vesak, write about their own celebrations, or perhaps describe what they can see in the picture.