08 Nov Bahulashtami art and craft
I find the theme of holy lakes and rivers a great source of inspiration for doing art with kids. The element of water is always soothing and helpful for children – being it in the form of water-play, art, or a story. When presenting water through art, I prefer to do watercolor painting or crayon drawing because it gives a lot of space for experimenting with colors. What is the color of a lake or a river? It could be light blue, and it could be deep blue. It could be yellow like it is reflecting the sunshine or the moonlight. It could be green from the underwater plants. It could be reddish during the sunset. Water is volatile, always changing, always flexible, and ready to embrace the colors of her surroundings. Water purifies and pacifies, whether we bathe in her or create art of her. That`s why children like to play with water – it is their justified need.
We can celebrate Bahulashtami with little ones by giving them a chance to play with real water. Bring two plastic containers to be Radha and Shyama Kunda. Bring more plastic containers full of water to represent the holy rivers. We can write the names of the rivers on the container, we can put some color in the water, we can add glitter as well. Then tell the story to your toddler and give him some cup or big spoon to help the holy rivers to fill up Krishna`s and Radha`s lake. I am sure that your child is going to have half an hour or more fun with this service. Just make sure to cover the place with some waterproof cover, and consider giving your toddler a waterproof apron to wear.
Another activity you can do with young and older children is making a landscape of Radha Kunda. This is my favorite artistic activity for festivals – making a play scene for children, either for decoration or for a real play. It is a beautiful way of creating a visual impression of a story or a pastime we want to present. It is a kind of miniature world that children can relate to (and adults who haven`t lost the childhood spirit, too!). We can make it as an extension of our altar, as a kid`s altar, or as a decorative element in one corner of a room. It serves as a source of inspiration and remembrance of Krishna`s pastimes.
Start with collecting materials for the play scene. You can include all variety of loose parts like beads, buttons, pebbles, shells, wooden blocks, tiny branches, flowers, autumn fruits like acorns, chestnuts, walnuts. For creating a lake or a river, we always use silk or cotton cloth. Invite your child and let the imagination flow. Of course, children will like to add small dolls and animals to complete the scene. If you have no suitable dolls of Krishna and His associates for this purpose, you can always make them out of paper.
This year I have made a landscape of Radha Kunda out of felting wool, using needle felting technic. I discovered needle felting some years ago and fell in love with this craft. I have made Krishna, Balarama, and the gopis decoration dolls with this technic, as well as animals, trees, fruits, and landscapes, known as wool paintings. The technic itself is easy – you need just a felting needle, raw wool in different colors, and a sponge as a working surface. Then you need to prick the wool with a needle to get the form you want. Of course, it requires some practice because the form of your work goes through different stages and sometimes does not look much as it should be on the final stage. Felting landscapes are easier though, children can do it without special preparation. For this, you need a sheet of white felt and a stock of wool in different colors. The pieces of wool should be placed on top of the white felt sheet making a design you want and should be fixed by pricking it with a needle. My daughter enjoys doing this craft very much.
I hope this article will inspire you to make a beautiful Bahulashtami festival today with your kids!