With minimal supplies and a bit of creativity, kids can create their own diya: a small lamp used in Diwali. Multicultural art with a lesson on the featured culture helps kids to gain a global perspective. Learn about this holiday in India, and then make this simple art project.
Diwali is a 5 day festival of lights celebrated in India and other countries with Hindu populations. The name Diwali means “rows of lighted lamps,” because during the festivities people light up their homes with small earthenware oil lamps called diyas or diwas. It is easy to make your own diyas with clay and some decorations.
Make your Own Diya!
You can make your own diyas with your kids for Diwali with materials you probably have at home.
- self-hardening clay in terra cotta tones
- tea light candle (can be a flameless LED candle if you have restrictions or are worried about a fire!)
- glitter, sequins, jewels for decorations
First have the kids make a large circle of clay. Using their fingers, slowly pinch up the sides to form a small bowl the size of a candle. It’s easy for kids to make a pinch pot, to use as a candle holder out of the clay. Flatten the bottom and make sure the candle fits inside. Older kids can experiment and make the diya in the shapes of leaves, flowers, or even birds (common motifs). Once it is dry, use the decorations to embellish the candles. We used sequins, glitter, and beads to adorn our diya.
In the case of an international fair, library program, or in school, kids can make the same diya project using regular playdough, decorating them while they are still soft. Here are some of the diyas made at a community Diwali party we attended: