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Water Oak Kids’ favorite time of year is when we get to celebrate our friends who are going to graduate from Pre-K here with a Festival of Colors. Water Oak Kids are lucky to have a family that shares with us their Indian culture.

A couple years ago, I was jogging by a Holi celebration at Riverside Park. I had no idea what it was but I was captivated by all the vibrant colors. Fast forward a couple years and to my delight, the Patel family asked me if I wanted to do a Holi celebration with Water Oak Kids. Holi is celebrated in March. In order for the celebration to work here, it had to be in the summer so that it was warm enough for everyone to get rinsed off of all the color powder outside. It is now our traditional celebration that has become a part of our Pre-K graduation celebration.

Steps to have a Festival of Colors Celebration

1. White Clothes in Cubbies. Ask families to leave all white clothes in their child’s cubbie on Monday so that when the weather is good you can celebrate on any day that week. White clothes can simply consist of an adult white t-shirt or just clothes that are mainly white. Thrift stores are an environmentally friendly resource. The majority of the color powder washes out so the kids won’t have vibrant colored clothes to keep.

2. Buy Color Powder. You can order the color powder from Amazon or a local source is Patel Brothers www.patelbros.com

3. Buy Holi Book. Let’s Celebrate Holi! (Maya & Neel’s India Adventure Series, Book 3). The book is about how Maya and Neel, who live in Chicago, travel to India to learn cool new stuff about Indian culture. The author Miss Ajanta reads the story on the YouTube channel Culture Groove Kids and invites the listener to say words together to help with pronunciation.

4. Buy Water Blasters. You can buy a “pichkari” (H2O Blasters Plastic Water Squirters) at the Dollar Tree Store in the summer or JOYIN Super Water Blaster Squirt Guns on Amazon.

5. Garden Hose and Old Towels. When the celebration is done, kids can run through the sprinkler or use the hose to wash off the color. I have old towels ready for the kids to use to dry off and kids put their colored clothes into bags to go home.

6. Snack. Serve thandai a sweet and milky drink https://www.cookwithmanali.com/thandai/ and thandai cookies https://www.cookwithmanali.com/thandai-cookies/ at snack like Maya and Neel enjoyed in the story.

It makes me happy to see all the Water Oak Kids understanding Holi and then hear them using the new words they learned like thandai or pichkari during dramatic play. It is a gift when families share their culture with me. It means so much more to me to bring multicultural activities that are relevant to the families. Each year we do our celebration, we learn even more about Indian languages, festivals, and food. It’s simply multicultural fun with a purpose.


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