Planning Vaisakhi activities with your kids leading up to the festival gives you opportunities for teaching your kids about Sikhi, the history of Vaisakhi, and our Gurus, while building anticipation. I’ve always felt that mainstream holidays have so much ‘pre-event’ excitement that kids get caught up in, and our desi holidays or religious festivals make a bang on one day of the year and that’s it.
If we want our kids to get excited about Vaisakhi the way they do about Easter egg hunts, the Valentine’s cards, or Christmas dinner, we need to speak to them in a language and context they understand. If your kids are going to school in North America, they’ve likely learned at a young age that holidays come with crafts, books, decorations, gifts, and merchandise. While I’m no way saying that Vaisakhi should be merchandised, I do believe that we have to find creative ways to keep our kids interested in our religion and culture.
With that in mind, I’ve developed an updated version of my popular Vaisakhi Countdown for kids. Some of the activities have been updated, and additional resources are linked below. Print out the image below and have your little one follow along, or download a PDF version with a spot to add your child’s name here.
Vaisakhi Activities: Countdown Calendar
#1) Learn the Story of Vaisakhi:
There are many resources online for learning about Vaisakhi, but I’ve rounded up a few that I think would be interesting and appealing to kids. Nothing beats a story coming from your parents though, so I’d encourage you to give yourself a quick refresher and talk to your kids about Vaisakhi yourself.
- The CBC kids website is very interactive and interesting for kids, and there is a lot of great information on Vaisakhi too.
- This cartoon-esque video with breaking news about the formation of the Khalsa is entertaining for little ones. It also tells the story of the first Vaisakhi and how the Panj Pyare came to be formed.
- Kid World Citizen has done a great job of distilling the core values of Sikhi and the story of Vaisakhi into an easy read for kids. My favourite part of this post is the focus on equality between Singh & Kaur.
#2) Plant Something
Since Vaisakhi also marks a time of harvest, and many Sikhs are farmers, planting something is a great activity to do annually. Whether you plant something outdoors, or you buy a houseplant for your child’s room, the point is to talk about the harvest season.
I love using Vaisakhi as a time to talk about eating local, supporting farmers, and reducing food waste with the kids. This year we are planning on starting an herb garden for our kitchen.
#3) Make Vaisakhi Cards
We make and distribute cards for every other holiday, why not Vaisakhi? Kids love crafting and sharing their art – extending that tradition to Vaisakhi is only natural. We started giving our kids Vaisakhi cards in 2015, and also include a little cash in the card which they are then encouraged to donate to a charity of their choice.
In the past I’ve done cards in pretty simple way. I’ll use a mix of images from the internet and scrapbook papers to come up with fun designs. We’ve also created some custom designs which you can download for your own use here. If you print and use these cards, don’t forget to share them with us on social! I’d love to see them being used – #vasaikhiwithpinkchai
#4) Learn the Mool Mantar
The Mool Mantar is said to be the first composition uttered by Guru Nanak Devji upon enlightenment. It’s also the first verse in the Guru Granth Sahib. This mantra encompasses the entire theology of Sikhism.
Even if you haven’t learned gurbani yourself, this is something simple that you and your kids can learn together. Print out the written version and read it together every night before bed. If you aren’t sure about pronunciation you can also listen to the audio above.
#5) Make a Donation to the Food Bank
One of the pillars of Sikhi is Vand Chhako, which means – share what you have and consume it as a community. Vaisakhi is the perfect opportunity to put this into action and make a contribution to a local food bank or charity of your choice.
#6) Practice Traditional Embroidery
You might not expect to find embroidery in a list of Vaisakhi activities, but it is a big part of Punjabi culture and history. Pick up a beginner’s embroidery kit from your local craft store and let the kids have a go! If you have an older female relative in the family, this might be the perfect activity to get them involved in, since they likely know a stitch or too.
#7) Check out books on Sikhi from the Library
There are so many great books with a focus on Sikhism and Punjabi culture available now. Why not make a visit to your local library and check out a few to read together? If you are a bit shaky on your Sikh history, you can refresh and re-learn with your kids.
#8) Decorate and fly kites
Kite flying is popular in Punjab in February, however, it is more weather appropriate in our region in April. Historically Maharaja Ranjit held a huge festival for kite flying in Lahore, and crafting a kite is the perfect way to introduce some Punjabi cultural history to your kids.
DIY a kite or buy one, head outside and play. Maybe even create a “mini mela” by inviting some friends and cousins for kite flying and a picnic in a local park. Including other kids in your Vaisakhi activities will make it more fun for your own little ones.
#9) Make Vaisakhi glitter art
This glitter art is a quick and easy craft that you can do with kids of any age, and adjust to suit with any image you’d like to display in your home. I recommend using a fine glitter – it comes out much nicer than something thick.
#10) Watch a movie about Sikhi
There are many movies and even cartoons on YouTube around the concepts of Sikhi. Of course, use your discretion and pre-screen them to make sure they are appropriate for your little one. Two favourites at our house are Char Sahibzaade and Sarbans Dani Guru Gobind Singhji
#11) Learn a bhangra dance
A little bit cliche, but who doesn’t love a little bhangra party. You could enroll the kids in a local class, learn a few steps from a YouTube video, or just go freestyle. We lean towards putting on some tunes and having and impromptu dance party!
#12) Make zarda (sweet rice)
A few years ago, I tried to think up a special Vaisakhi recipe to make with the kids, and somehow we landed on zarda. This is a traditional sweet rice that is usually yellow in colour. There is really no connection to Vaisakhi, but it’s become a bit of a family tradition to make this for the festival now. It’s a great recipe to make with the kids.
#13) Visit the Gurudwara or Nagar Kirtan
Last, but certainly not least, on the day of Vaisakhi visit the Gurudwara. If possible in your community, attend the Nagar Kirtan also. I feel it gives the kids a sense of belonging and community when they see other people coming together to pray.
I hope this list has inspired you to plan some Vaisakhi activities with your kids and family. If you are looking for any additional resources, or links to the activities mentioned in this post, check out our main Vaisakhi activities section too.
Don’t forget to share your celebrations with me on social. I’d love to see how you incorporate these ideas into your family holiday. Tag me using @pinkchai, or use #vaisakhiwithpinkchai and I’ll find you!