6 Tips for a Successful Holi with Little Kids

It was a busy weekend at our house! First, I’ve been getting over a 3 month cold/cough/fever that resulted in beginning a massive antibiotic dose. The meds pretty much wiped me of energy. Second, we got over a week of solo parenting (though neighborette saved my butt one night by cleaning my kitchen). If she believes in heaven, there’s a very special place for her!

Third and fourth, we had plenty of celebrations! We celebrated Holi and Våffeldagen – a smörgåsbord of Indian-Swedish festivities.

Holi is the super fun holiday that celebrates spring equinox and the victory of good over evil.


Våffeldagen celebrates waffles. No joke. Swedes take their food and their puns seriously. Hop over to my post about how våffeldagen got its name along with a recipe!

Back to Holi, with little kids abound, we opted not to attend one of the larger Indian community events. Lots of people, lots of color throwing, it can easily become overwhelming and scary for toddlers and babies.

Instead, we invited our neighbors over and turned our backyard into funfetti of colors. I was planning on making my own colors but didn’t have time, so I bought them from Jai Jai Hooray. The colors are vibrant, non-toxic and made in the USA.

Tips and Rules for a Successful Holi with Little Kids
1. Wear light/white colored clothes – Holi colors show up best on white. It’s important that you wear clothes that are OK to take some staining. I washed our clothes twice in laundry (and pre-soaked them) and they have a slight pink hue to them.

Whatever you do, AIR DRY the clothes. Using the dryer is the best way to set a stain in; if you want the chance to scrub out the stain, air dry the clothes. Also, the sun is a natural bleacher. Once the sunny weather I’ll be line drying them and probably running the clothes again in the laundry.

2. No throwing powder at the eyes. Never fun to get stuff in your eyes especially when you are little.

3. Keep a box of wet wipes out. Wet wipes to the rescue! Got powder in your mouth or eyes? Use one to get it out.

4. Give each child a bowl and a color. Bamboo bowls work great and are easy to hold. Let each child choose a color and fill them up halfway only. You know they will want refills!

We used 14 Jai Jai Hooray packets for 4 adults and 4 children. Gave us more than an hour of coloring, plus “painting” the ground. Winning!

5. If someone doesn’t want color on their hair or face, respect them. Little children are especially emotional and events like Holi can ramp up their feelings. Help a little one out and listen to them.

6. Babies and toddlers may do their own thing and that is A-OK! Our 17 month old was happily chilling with her color bowl as everyone ran around yelling and screaming. All she wanted to do was feel the powder. She eventually joined us and was seriously into the rubbing colors on people in her own way.

Holi is a winning combo for many different learning elements: fine and gross motor skills, colors, listening to rules, open ended play, and cooperative play.

We had so much at our Holi, we’re going to do another one when the weather warms and we can pull out the kiddie pool and water balloons!

PS – If you haven’t downloaded my free Holi printables, make sure you do it!

Swedish Waffle Day {Våffeldagen} & A Recipe

Happy våffeldagen!

Which is to say, happy waffle day!

Yes, true story. March 25th is Our Lady’s Day. This is when the angel Gabriel announces the forthcoming birth of Jesus. In Swedish this is known as “vårfrudagen”. And vårfru sounds a lot like våffel. As a result, some Swedes decided they should eat waffles that day.

Cleary, there is a relationship between Gabriel and waffles. No not really. Swedes do some interesting things for Christian holidays because they are still a pagan nation.

I adapted my waffle recipe from the Chef’s Choice book since it came with the waffle maker. These waffles are thinner than Belgian waffles, crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. Classic Swedish waffles also are heart shaped – my husband will even stress out that if it isn’t heart shaped, it isn’t Swedish. Hehehe.

Swedish waffle recipe

2 cupes whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4C melted butter
1.5 cups milk (may need more)
2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all until there are no lumps. The batter should be thick but pourable. You may need more than the 1.5 cup milk, I used almost 2 cups.

To make our waffles more colorful since we were celebrating Holi, we added food coloring and sprinkles. You need a LOT of sprinkles to make them show up on the outside of the waffle. And you need a good amount of food coloring to get the swirly feature. Next time I’ll divide my batter into a few colors and add coloring (or maybe natural food powders).

Top off your waffles with fresh whipped cream, berries, and jam (homemade blackberry jam was our jam).

Finish with a dollop of a very happy baby!

10 Fun Holi Projects to do with Kids

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming. Pollen is attacking us (I can’t be certain I will survive this season of allergies) and kids everywhere are waiting for the Easter Bunny.

But there is something more exciting than the Easter Bunny. And that’s Holi! होली!

Photograph: Steven Gerner, Flickr, wikipedia

Holi is the celebration of the end of winter and the beginning of spring – the beginning of new things to come. Like many other Hindu holidays, Holi is also the celebration of good over evil. On the eve of Holi, known as Holika Dahan, we lit bonfires. The bonfire represents the demon goddess Holika who is burned with the help of God Vishnu. By lighting a bonfire and making prayers, we cleanse our own souls of the internal demons battling inside.

On the next day, Holi, we celebrate by throwing powdered colors (gulal) in the forms of water guns (pichkaris), balloons, or by hands. It’s a way for little children and adults to have fun and be little again.

In some communities, it’s a day to unwind by doing bhaang, a marijuana drink or getting high. Seriously!

Either way, Holi is loads of fun and is celebrated in many different ways across India. Both Hindus, and non-Hindus, mainly Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists take part in the fun.

On all good holidays, Holi is full of food as well. Lots of sweets and goodies.

To celebrate Holi with little kids, I’ve put together a list of fun projects and books to enjoy with them.


Holi Cookies

Love, Laugh, Mirch – has super cute splatter sugar cookies your kids will love to make.

Sketchy Desi made colored sugared cookes with crystallized sugar over on brown girl mag.

Download and Printables
The Playful Indian – has two sheets to print out for the kids. The color by numbers is great for older kids, but no matter, all ages can enjoying coloring in.

I created a few printables on my Holi downloads page. It’s the first time I’m making them, so be nice!

Arts and Craftsy Mom made a few printables along with other craft suggestions for the younger kids.

What better way to celebrate Holi than with splatter paint!

Make Your Own Holi Powder
Essentially you can make a type of sidewalk paint that can wash off from your garden and yard.

You have two ways of making sidewalk paint:

1. Cornstarch and food coloring – You’ll need a few large containers of cornstarch and food coloring. Mix a few drops of coloring into 2 cups of cornstarch. If you mix this with water, you get “paint” which the kids can do on the sidewalk or driveway.
Fair warning, this mixture may not come out easily from concrete pavers because of their porous surface. Test it out first before letting the kids go wild.

2. Smashed Chalk – Grab a few crayola chalk boxes (I recommend at least 4 color boxes), smash them up, and the let the kids go wild. Since these chalks have already been tested on just about every surface a small child can find, they will wash out easily.

To make it more, give you kids small mallets and let them smash the chalk. Then move the powder to bowls. To make it easy to transfer, lay down paper on the ground (do it outside!), then let the kids smash the chalk on the paper. You can then lift the paper and easily transfer to a bowl.

Again, if you add water to the chalk powder, you get “paint”, a second win for the little ones to go wild.

Books
Let’s Celebrate Holi! Book 3 of the series, Let’s Celebrate Holi is a fun introduction to the holiday.

Festival of Colors – Created by mother/son duo Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal.

Amma Tell Me About Holi! – Also available in Hindi, this illustrious book is another good read for young children. The rhyming is a bit forced, and sometimes awkward in places, so you may need to find your own substitutions.

Holi Hai!

Top 10 (unisex!) Eid Gifts For Toddlers That Won’t Break the Bank

Eid, marking the end of the Ramadan, is coming up in a couple weeks and I thought I’d share some favorite Eid gifts to give to children.

My friend, Sidra, at Jasmine and Marigold, compiled this lovely list of gifts. She has an adorable collection of Indian desi onesies and tee for babies and toddlers. She also sells dulhan tribe swag (super awesome if you want the bride tribe, desi style!)

I’ll let her take it from here. Thanks Sidra for sharing!

As a mother to a two-and-a-half year old, I have started shopping for my daughter’s Eid gifts – I’ll get her two or three nice presents to keep the excitement of Eid alive that morning. I also have many nieces and newphews under the age of five to shop for as well. So I came up with a list of toys that won’t break the bank, and won’t overwhelm the parents with “too many toys” syndrome.

Everything here is under $30 and as low as $3! For the close cousins, I’m going to give actual gifts for the kids, but I’ll admit that for distant friends I’m giving money and will use any selection of pretty Eidy envelopes available on the internet to gift them, while including placing a few $5 bills, balloons, and allergy safe candies in our J+M pillow boxes.

Here are my favorite Eid gifts for babies and toddlers:

Alif baa taa – Arabic alphabet learning book – Who doesn’t love books for gifts? A great way to learn your Arabic alphabet, and to get them a head start on reading Arabic letters. Not your moulana’s Arabic book, that’s for sure.

IKEA stacking cups – at $2.97, you cannot go wrong with this set! It’ll keep little ones busy for hours…. OK, minutes…several minutes at least!

Wooden puzzles, like an animal Melissa and Doug set on Amazon or a triple puzzle kit. Wooden puzzle work great from 18 months-4 years, you just have to get more complex puzzles as they get older.

Fisher Price Basketball hoop – a great toy to establish hand-eye coordination, and with summer coming up, we anticipate spending loads of time outdoors.

Magformers – an amazing way to introduce STEM to young children — this is at the top of our wish list

Arabic feeding set by Lila & Tiny – a kids gotta eat, and this beautiful set helps teach Arabic in a modern style (you can purchase this from With a Spin in the USA, helping to avoid hefty UK shipping fees).

Kids Doctor kit – making learning fun! With so many doctors in the family, what’s with inspiring one more?

Hena Khan books – I love her books. The illustrations are beautiful. A couple books you can introduce now because well, they’re about Ramadan and Muslim holidays, Night of the Moon, It’s Ramadan, Curious George, the others are shapes (Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets) and colors (Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns). Who knew a shapes book could be gorgeous?!

Bubble machine – what child doesn’t love bubbles? And what parent enjoys blowing them all afternoon long? An automatic bubble machine will keep the outdoor fun going long after mommy and daddy sit down for a cup of tea.

Eid Mu-baaa-rak onesie – For the youngest ones, this onesie (shameless plug) is a favorite.

What do you have planned for Eid gifts?