You have read about Holi, you have seen the photos, but you aren’t sure if you (or your child) are ready to deal with a public celebration? Have your own house party instead! Celebrating Holi with kids at home is a simple and fun afternoon activity.
If you want to celebrate with the rest of India, Holi will be celebrated on March 6th this year (2015), otherwise you can choose the date that works best for you. We have hosted a Holi party every year that we have been back in the US. My son starts asking about it as soon as Christmas is over! Last year we even did it at my son’s preschool which was a huge hit.
Below are the essential ingredients for an awesome at home Holi party. Remember to begin preparing early as you will need to order most everything online.
We have purchased holi colors online for the past 3 years with great success. There are several other options on Amazon as well, just read the fine print and make sure it is non-toxic, non-metallic colors safe for children. You can also purchase the colors used at the Festival of Colors event from their website. Put each color in it’s own bowl (or plate) and set out for the kids to easily access. We have stainless steel bowls/plates that we use to hold the colors, but any bowls or plates will work.
In India, Holi is celebrated with powder and water. Depending on where you live, water may not be feasible. We tend to skip it only because it creates an even bigger mess. But if you live in a warm climate and are ready for an all out Indian style Holi celebration, get your water guns/animals and water balloons ready! The best way to do this is to put some color into a bucket of water and let the kids refill their own water guns as needed. This way the water is already colored so they don’t need to throw the powders at the same time. (Clean Up Tip: If it’s warm enough, a great way to have fun and clean up at the same time is to set up a sprinkler and let the kids run through it before changing clothes or heading inside.) When playing with water and color, some kids might feel more comfortable wearing goggles to keep it out of their eyes.
In India, no festival is complete without rangoli designs on the ground in or around your home. To make it easy for those of us without years of practice, you can buy these awesome Rangoli Stencils. You can trace it with sidewalk chalk or use the colored powder to make the designs. For preschoolers, it is best to tape the stencil on the ground and let them color it in with chalk/color. With these stencils you will have to repeat this process 3 more times until the entire symbol is complete. Another option is to draw large rangoli patterns and let the kids color them in with chalk or powder.
For a small party with slightly older children, you can let them create their own take home Rangoli. These sand art rangoli are great fun, but do require a bit of manual dexterity to get the colors on the areas you want!
The first rule of thumb is to wear as much white as you can. The second rule is to wear old clothes or things you are ok getting ruined. If you use the non-toxic colors without water, the color usually comes off pretty easily, but once water is added, the darker colors (blues, bright pink, green) can stain. Most of our Holi clothes have been used over and over for the last few years without any stains, however I have had a few undergarments not make it out unscathed, keep that in mind while getting dressed.
For toddlers and preschoolers, consider putting a large white sheet out on the ground (see photo above) and have the children throw the powder (and/or water) on the sheet rather than on one another. They love doing this and it keeps it from getting into their eyes. Another option to protect children’s eyes is to have them wear googles or sunglasses.
In India the traditional drink at Holi is bhang, but that is made with a cannabis paste, so I don’t think you will want to serve that at your celebration! Instead, make another Indian favorite – mango lassi. It is easy to make with frozen mango, yogurt, a splash of milk and a pinch of cardamom powder (to taste). If you really want to get into the spirit serve samosas and Indian snacks as well.
It’s not a proper Holi party without Indian music. Check out Punjabi Bhangra or Bollywood Hits playlists on Spotify or Pandora. If you want a specific album, check out the movie soundtrack Rang de Basanti. We prefer a collection of old bhangra, new bhangra and some of our favorite Bollywood hits. If you need some help putting together a playlist, send me a message and I will send you ours from Spotify.
If you want to learn a bit more about the history of Holi and why it’s celebrated, check out these books. They are children’s books, but I still find myself skipping certain sentences while reading it as it may not be totally appropriate for smaller children.
That’s all you need for an awesome DIY Holi Party. Don’t forget to say “Happy Holi” as you (gently!) throw color on everyone!