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Rangoli Patterns for Kids

Making bright Rangoli designs with your child is great for their development and fun too! Find out how to make Rangoli patterns with a step-by-step recipe here.

Most kids can’t help getting a bit messy when they’re having fun. But did you know that this is often when they’re learning the most? Read on to find out why learning to make Rangoli patterns is great for your child.

This series of blog posts shares International Messy Play Activities from around the world that will help your child express themselves and develop self-confidence. Experiencing messy play activities from different countries is not only beneficial for child development but also enriches their understanding of other cultures.

There are seven blogs in the series that tell the story of messy play activities so make sure you take a look at them all!  

What is Rangoli?

Rangoli (sometimes known as Kolam) is an Indian tradition. They are beautiful decorative designs that are usually drawn on the floor near to the entrance of a home, don’t worry they’re not permanent!

These brightly-coloured images welcome guests when they visit your home or Hindu deities during festivals like Diwali. Some Rangoli patterns have been passed down through many generations over hundreds of years.

It’s impossible to create a beautiful Rangoli pattern without a little bit of mess, but the results are always well worth it and the patterns can be easily cleaned away after all the fun!  

Rangoli Designs for Kids

Our step-by-step recipe for Rangoli is the perfect activity for 5-11 year olds. It’s got all the ingredients you need for a day of fun, and learning with your little ones and goes to show that mess is just one of the ingredients in child development.

Through creating Rangoli Patterns, children are able to connect mathematics to the real world and also express their creativity. It allows them to share their feelings of excitement at seeing whoever might be visiting and it’s a great way of preparing children mentally for having someone new in the house.

Kid’s crafts like this also develop hand and eye co-ordination too, so there’s lots of learning to be done.  

How to Make Rangoli: Ingredients

The most important ingredient for this activity is a willingness to get a bit messy and a child with a vivid imagination. Make sure you encourage your little one by letting them know it’s okay if they end up with a bit of chalk or dust from the ground on their hands, faces and clothes and the mess is all part of the learning! Next you need:

  • Salt
  • White chalk
  • Ruler
  • Lentils of different colours
  • Petals (or other bright materials such as coloured sand, beads, glitter)

Rangoli patterns can be created with lots of different materials: coloured rice, dry flour, sand. Flower petals are particularly effective. The options can be as varied as your child’s imagination. Why not ask your child for ideas?  

The Recipe for Mess and Success with Rangoli

First, help your child to design their Rangoli pattern.

  • Look through books or on the internet with your kids for inspiration
  • Rangoli designs are usually geometric so you could explain what this means to your child and give them a quick maths lesson!
  • Be sure to show them traditional shapes and patterns. This may inspire them to create their own design
  • Older children can draw their own outline freehand. Let them practice first on paper
  • You can include younger children in this activity by drawing the outline of a simple design first and then encouraging them to colour it in

  Now it’s time to start drawing the design on the ground, in chalk of course!

  • Find a good spot on the ground to draw the Rangoli design. It doesn’t matter if the ground is a bit dusty. Remember getting messy is all part of the fun with this activity
  • Use the ruler and chalk to draw out a square grid of dots. The grid should be 15cm wide and 15cm high. Put dots up and down the grid at 3cm intervals. If your child is old enough let them do this themselves – it’s another good bit of maths practice for them
  • For a more intricate design put the dots closer together
  • Time to get chalky! Now draw the design in white chalk on the grid. Again, this is something that older children should be encouraged to do themselves

  The fun (and the mess) really starts when you fill the design in.

  • Now add salt. Use salt to cover the outlines you’ve drawn in chalk
  • Finally, use the coloured materials you’ve chosen with your child (lentils, petals, beads and so on) to fill in the rest of the design

You’ll know the Rangoli is complete when you’ve got a bright, beautiful drawing on the ground and a messy child with a great eye for detail and new understanding of pattern-making.

Even though Rangoli requires a bit of mess, don’t worry too much if your child gets some pollen stains on their cotton t-shirt when they are picking petals and flowers. A normal wash should usually remove these. If not, then rub the marks with methylated spirits (not on acetate or triacetate fabrics) then sponge with lukewarm water and Persil and wash as normal. Just check the label for care details of the stained garment before cleaning the stain. There are lots more stain removal tips here.  

How did you get on making Rangoli patterns for kids?

What are your child’s favourite Rangoli designs? Share your story with us here in a comment.