Holi for Kids: Colorful activities to celebrate!

Child celebrating Holi

After what feels like a very, very long winter, spring is finally just around the corner. It’s the season of colorful flowers and sunny days, and after being cooped up inside during the winter months, everyone’s ready to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. No wonder there are so many festivals around the world celebrating springtime!

Each culture celebrates the coming of spring in different ways. One of these celebrations is Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors and the Festival of Spring, a religious festival observed primarily in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Right after the full moon in March, the celebrations for Holi begin! This ancient Hindu tradition represents the end of winter and celebrates the triumph of good over evil. People celebrate by lighting big bonfires, dancing to traditional folk music, and throwing colorful paints and Holi powder called gulal at each other. Getting messy is all part of the fun!

Learning about Holi

There are several meanings behind Holi’s wildly colorful celebrations and activities. Among welcoming the new season, the festival also commemorates good harvests, fending off evil, new beginnings, and love. It’s a time to say goodbye to winter for the time being, and meet spring with open arms…and lots of color, too!

This year, Holi celebrations start on Friday, March 18. Holi celebrations often start with lighting bonfires on the first night, throwing grains and chickpeas into the flames. The next day, the colorful fun begins! People of all ages participate, gathering in the streets to throw powdered paint at each other. Some even fill water balloons or water guns with colored water to get in on the fun! During the festival, people sing, play musical instruments, dance, and share meals together with family and friends. Sweet treats like Ghujiya (a flaky pastry filled with dried fruits and coconut) and Lassi (a chilled, sweet yogurt drink) are especially popular during the festival.

Holi games for kids

Whether you’re learning about Holi for the first time or your family has been celebrating it for years, we’ve gathered some fun activities to help you and your little one to get into the spirit of this colorful festival at home. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to build some early learning skills, too!

Experiment with oil, water, and colored powder

This experiment with oil, water, and Holi colors will teach your kiddo how these materials react with each other, and how oil can protect their skin from being tinted by the colors. Put a bit of baby oil on one hand and water on the other. Then mix in some Holi color. (You can buy Holi powder online, or make your own with some flour and a bit of water and food coloring.) Wait a couple of minutes and ask your little one to wash their hands to see if the color washes away with water. Since oil doesn’t mix well with the colored powder, there will be a barrier between the skin and the color. This is a great activity for sensory play, so throw a washable table cloth on the kitchen table, and let your little one go to town!

Sensory water beads

Water beads have amazing textures for sensory activities. Plus in the spirit of Holi, they come in lots and lots of colors! If you are at home this year celebrating Holi, you can give water beads a try with your little one. Put a bunch in a large tub and let them soak the water. They will grow in size, and it’s always fun to watch. Then let your kid do their thing and play! Get those little hands into the tub to feel out the water beads and make it rain. Or, you can try turning it into a guessing game by asking them to get a handful of water beads and guess how many water beads of a certain color they have in their hand!

Celebrate Holi with kids: Holi coloring pages

Since Holi is all about color, getting creative with different arts and craft supplies is a perfect way to celebrate the festival with some fun activities. A quick google search will yield hundreds of coloring pages with Holi themes, which you can then print out and go to town with your kiddo! Grab some colored pens, pencils, markers, or even some washable paints for your little one to experiment with. While coloring, you can talk about the meaning behind Holi, how people celebrate in their own ways, and of course…include as much color as possible!

Holi crafts for kids – Making handprint art

Fun Holi crafts for kids and preschoolers

Any occasion that you can get your little ones’ hands busy with a creative activity is a recipe for fun. Through Holi festival-themed crafts and activities, you can get busy with fun activities that get your kiddo super excited for the festival to come. Get ready to use all the colors of the rainbow for these activities!

Colorful handprints

Fair warning…things are about to get messy! Grab some washable paints and a painting smock, and take finger painting to the next level with this Holi handprint art project. Have your child paint directly on their hand with different colors, then press their painted hand onto some blank paper. Ask your little one to see what happens when they rub their hands together to mix the colors, or how their artwork changes if they drag their hand down the page. It’s a super fun way for your little one to experiment with mixing colours!

Holi self-portraits

Ask your kiddo what they think they’d look like after participating in the colorful Holi celebrations, and then turn it into an art project! Have your little one draw a picture of themselves, then grab some paints and add in the color. It’s a great way to make a mixed-media work of art for your fridge! If your family is learning about Holi for the first time, search for images of people celebrating Holi online to get some inspiration, or even grab a book from the library to learn more.

DIY Holi t-shirt

We love a craft that turns into something you can wear again and again! A DIY Holi t-shirt is a perfect craft activity for you and your kiddo to bring the colorful magic of the festival to life. Plus what’s more fun than matching outfits? Grab some fabric paints and a plain t-shirt, and let your little one go to town on creating their own multi-colored design. You can provide them with a simple design to start out with, or let their imagination run wild and see what they come up with. The goal is to reflect the colorful atmosphere of Holi, so get as many colors as you can get your hands on and get crafting!

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