Activities And Games For Children Inspired By The Pastimes Of Krishna And Balarama

Today we celebrate a great event of the appearance of Lord Balarama on Earth! I want to share with you some activities that you can do with children for this or Janmashtami festival or as a part of your teaching at home or school. Until the age of 12 (or more), children like to play. Krishna and Balarama spent all Their childhood playing with Their friends while tending calves and cows in the forests of Vrindavana. Play is the natural way of learning and working for a young child. We can take advantage of this and engage our children in a play that supports their Krishna conscious development along with their physical, emotional, and social growth.

Pantomime games

Write on pieces of paper the pastimes of Krishna and Balarama shortly (eg. Krishna is dancing on the hoods of Kaliya, Balaram is killing a demon Denukasura) and mix them in a box. One child takes one of the papers from the box, reads it for himself, and plays like a pantomime. Others should guess which pastime it is.

If you have a group of children, they can play a pantomime in couples.

You can also let the children come up with the pastime on their own, without the papers.

Sorting games

Write the names of demons killed by Krishna and Balarama on separate pieces of paper. Put the pictures or the written names of Krishna and Balarama on the table. Children should take the pieces of paper one by one in turns and put them to where they belong (demons killed by Krishna belong to Krishna, and those killed by Balarama belong to Balarama).

Write a couple of whole sentences, cut them in half, and mix them up. Let the children connect the parts that belong to each other and form the sentence again. For example: Lord Balarama killed a demon Denukasura/in the forest of Talavana; Krishna lifted Govardhan hill/with the little finger of His left hand. 

To add more fun to the sorting games you can place the pieces of paper all over the room and let the kids first find them, then sort them out. You can ask the kids to hop on one leg or walk on tiptoes or heels while looking for the papers to add some physical challenge.

Movement game based on the story of how Lord Balaram killed a demon Denukasura

First, read or narrate the story to children and explain the rules of the game. As Krishna and Balarama played wrestling games with friends, let the children measure their strength in a friendly competition, such as arm wrestling, long jumping, rope jumping, squats, or push-ups. They can do it in couples or one group against the other. Those who lose in the competition should carry on their backs (for a certain distance) those who won, as in the story.

Of course, make sure that the competition goes smoothly in a friendly mood, without anger outbursts. You can note at the beginning that cowherd boys have never got angry while playing these games, but they were enjoying being a part of the pastimes of Krishna and Balarama, and we can try to practice it as well.

I hope you are going to enjoy playing these games with your children, or in the classroom.

Happy Balaram Purnima to all!

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