Hands-On Diwali Centers for Kindergarten

When students enter kindergarten, their world expands a lot all at once!  They are navigating a larger school, seeing more children each day, and meeting many new adults.  Students will become more aware of differences between themselves and others, including how they celebrate holidays. You can continue this important discussion in your classroom through engaging activities! These Hands-on Diwali Centers for Kindergarten are a great addition to your holiday plans. They are perfect for helping your students learn more about other cultures. Plus, they increase representation in your classroom activities for your students who celebrate Diwali.

Hands-On Diwali Centers

What is Diwali?

Diwali is a five-day celebration that originated in India.  It is now celebrated by over a billion people of different faiths and in many regions of the world. Even though the reasons for celebrating the festival can vary based on religion or location, the central theme is the same: Good (light) overcoming evil (darkness).

Diwali is also known as the festival of lights because people will decorate with lights, candles, lanterns, and oil lamps (diyas).  People who observe Diwali may also decorate the floors of their homes with beautiful patterns made from colorful sand, an art form known as rangoli. Families enjoy fireworks, gifts, and feasts together during the period of celebration.

Diwali Centers for Kindergarten

This bright and colorful holiday can be included in your learning tasks during literacy and math centers. Your students who celebrate Diwali will love to see their culture represented in these engaging learning activities.  

Kindergarten Literacy Centers for Diwali

In the Bright Lights Sight Words center, students will play a fun matching game to practice reading and writing sight words.  This center comes with colorful diya cards containing common kindergarten sight words. Students can place the cards face down on the table and then select two cards, reading the word on each one. If they find a match, they can keep those cards and try again.  Otherwise, the next person takes a turn.  

Your students can practice writing the sight words on a recording sheet as they sort them by the number of letters.  The recording sheet also increases student accountability for this activity.

A Diwali themed sight word activity
A Diwali themed rhyming activity

The kindergartners in your class will also enjoy the Exploding Rhymes center! Students will use their rhyming skills and knowledge of short vowel sounds to complete this activity. The spinner mat has colorful Diwali fireworks that each contain a picture. These pictures rhyme with the short vowel CVC words on the spinner.   After spinning a word, the student will read the word and identify a picture on the mat that rhymes.  They can then place a marker on the firework. This continues until all of the pictures have been covered. 

Once students have finished the game, they can complete the recording sheet by coloring the picture that rhymes with the word in the first column. This can also serve as a helpful informal assessment!  

Kindergarten Math Centers for Diwali

Your kindergartners can learn more about the Diwali celebration as they practice number sense!  In the Diwali Counting activity, students will be given a variety of cards containing numbers, tally marks, and groups of Diwali items.

Students can start by putting the number cards in order on the table.  Then, they can match each card with its corresponding tally marks and items.  After matching all of the cards, students can practice writing numbers and making tally marks on the recording sheet.

A Diwali counting activity
A lantern themed skip counting activity

You can then use the Lantern Leaping activity to help your students practice skip counting by two, five, or ten. Students will be given colorful lantern cards that contain numbers to put in the correct skip-counting order. The lanterns also use an AB color pattern, which adds an element of self-correction to support students who are working during independent math centers.

The recording sheet can also help students put the numbers in the correct order.  They can look at the numbers on the recording sheet and match them to the cards.  After putting the cards in order, students can trace the numbers for some extra fine motor practice! For students who are ready for more of a challenge, you can use the recording sheets that only have some of the numbers shown.

Introducing Diwali Centers to Your Class

As with any new center activity that you introduce to your students, you will want to walk your students through each learning activity before they try them independently.  The difference with these holiday centers is that you can also discuss some Diwali traditions or vocabulary as you introduce each activity. You could also read a picture book to provide additional context.

If there are students in your classroom who celebrate Diwali, they might like to help you identify and explain some of the items featured in these activities. This is a great way to celebrate the diversity in your classroom and build community! It also provides an opportunity for your students to practice their communication skills as they share more about their family traditions with their classmates.

Printable Holiday Centers

The Diwali centers pictured above are included in a set of December Holiday Centers for Kindergarten.  I created this resource to help young students learn more about some of the holidays celebrated by their peers, friends, and neighbors. Your students will love learning about Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, and Christmas while completing these literacy and math activities. 

These centers are easy to prep!  Just print, cut, and laminate for durability. You’ll be able to use these activities to bring some holiday fun to your classroom each year! Each activity comes with a kid-friendly picture direction card and reflection sheet, which makes these centers perfect for independent work.  You can also add them to your small group lessons or morning work.

Just click below to take a closer look at everything included in this holiday resource!

Save These Diwali Centers for Kindergarten

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Kindergarten Diwali Centers