Although being in close quarters with our kids during COVID has often been a big test for our patience, it has also given us more opportunities to spend valuable time connecting with them and teaching them. Here are some activities which some parents in our community have found to be both fun and educational.
1. Learn How to Make Gurprasad
The distribution of Gurprasad to all present following Gurdwara is an old tradition which is a sacrament and serves to connect people to the tangible experience of receiving the Guru’s blessing. It is considered a huge blessing to have the opportunity to prepare or to serve the Gurprasad. The act of making Gurprasad is a spiritual practice in itself.
Preparing Gurprasad with children is a special spiritual experience. Teaching children to make Gurprasad and preparing it together could be a nice activity to do in the morning, after doing a family Sadhana or family Panth practice (like reading Japji Sahib together).
2. Listen to SikhNet Stories for Children
SikhNet has a wonderful and extensive collection of over 100 Sikh Stories for Children. All of the stories include audio versions to listen to and text to read aloud. Many also include video versions and accompanying coloring book pages. Many stories from Sikh history as well as stories of Sikh children living in contemporary times are included.
Children of all faiths and religions will enjoy these stories of spiritual principles and consciousness. Stories highlighting universal values of helping others, compassion, prayer, courage, sharing, and the oneness of all people capture the hearts and imagination of children of all ages.
3. Spend Time in Nature
Spring is a beautiful time to be outside, and during quarantine spending time in nature is more restorative than ever. It is a great way for families and kids to get out of the house, blow off steam and tune into a larger perspective. This is a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like walking, hiking, biking and playing outdoor games (sidewalk chalk anyone?) Another idea is to set up friendly competitions where kids are awarded small prizes upon reaching a certain number of miles walked, etc.
It is essential to be conscious of others and observe social distancing guidelines when spending time outside. Be sure to adhere to all guidelines issued by your local government and health department when considering time and activities outside, and only do so if it is safe for your family and others.
4. Learn How to Tie a Turban
Now is a great time for Sikh children to learn how to tie a turban, or practice their turban-tying skills if they already know how!
(Or buy knit fabric and use this to adapt it for younger girls)
Coloring is a classic and favorite childhood pastime, and can take on more meaning by turning the coloring session into a discussion opportunity.
For example, use a coloring page about the Kirpaan to explain the concept and meaning of the 5Ks to your child. Use a Baisakhi coloring page to tell the story of Baisakhi to your children. Use a coloring page about Kaur (princess) to discuss the concept of Kaur with your children – what does it mean when we say that the home of a Kaur (princess) is Anandpur Sahib when we sing this line in Song of the Khalsa? What does being a Kaur mean to Mom as she goes about her daily life at home and in the world?
The coloring and discussion possibilities are endless! Print these coloring pages and many more at the sites below:
6. Sikh Coalition Kid’s Corner
The Sikh Coalition Kid’s Corner is an online learning series featuring diverse and inclusive books, art, and music. During this unprecedented time, they hope Kid’s Corner will bring kids, parents, and teachers from across the country together for diverse learning.
7. Learn the Gurmukhi Alphabet
This is a great time to teach children the Gurmukhi alphabet. This is a fun and educational activity that will provide your children the foundation for a lifetime relationship with the Guru – through the experience of Gurbani, Simran, reading Banis and experiencing the depth of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib in Gurmukhi. This is a gift that can keep on giving throughout their lives.
8. Make a Nishaan Sahib (Sikh Flag)
This is a nice and easy craft activity for a rainy day. This also provides a wonderful learning opportunity to discuss the importance and meaning of the Nishaan Sahib (Sikh flag).
“A super easy to make Nishaan Sahib activity/craft. Before starting this activity I’ve told children the importance of Nishaan Sahib: the word NISHAAN means symbol, it shows where the Gurdwara is, it’s tall so it is easily noticeable and tells people that there is Khalsa and the Guru Ji in the neighborhood. We have discussed the colors and said that sometimes Nishaan Sahib could be also blue. The tall flagpole is covered in cloth and every Vaisakhi it is changed with a fresh one. We’ve decorated one wall in our Kiddie Sangat room with a Nishaan Sahib forest. Kids were really excited to make the tallest possible Nishaan Sahib.” – Kiddie Sangat
9. Play Educational Sikh Computer Games
Screen time takes on a whole new meaning with educational computer games from Little Sikhs! Kids can learn the Punjabi numbers, discover the 5 Ks, learn about Vaisakhi, and more.
10. Fly a Kite
A wonderful activity for a windy day! Just be sure to find an outdoor space wide open and empty enough that your family can safely maintain social distancing. If you are feeling ambitious, you can even make your own Lion Kite and then fly it.
11. Cook Dinner Together and Listen to Rehraas Sahib
Quarantine evenings can be tough. A good transitional activity to shift the energy between daytime and the onset of the evening is to read or listen to Rehraas Sahib. If your children enjoy cooking, or haven’t had the chance to try it, this is a wonderful time to show kids some cooking techniques and make dinner together. Try out some cozy new recipes that are great for health and immunity. Stuck on recipe ideas? Our recipes for health and coziness roundup can provide inspiration!
12. Create a New Bedtime Routine
This time of quarantine and more time in the home can be a good time to create a special new bedtime routine. Anxiety levels are up for many children and parents around the world during these times, and it can be hard to unhook from our thoughts and create a cozy space before going to sleep. One idea is to turn down the lights, have a cup of chamomile or mint tea, read the bani Kirtan Sohila together or a nice bedtime story, then play or sing a sweet lullaby to your children.