On January 31 we’ve celebrated Guru Har Rai Ji’s prakash utsav. (See our Sikh Calendar for Gurpurab dates around the year.)
It’s always easy to talk to kids about Guru Ji’s birthday – it’s something they can relate to. Normally I would try to find a story about Guru Ji’s childhood – again, something kids easily identify with. But with Guru Har Rai Ji there are not so many popular stories, so I decided to go with the animal theme.
The story I’ve told them was based on this sakhi from Sikhnet. Particularly this part:
He also hunted animals… Actually, he would hunt but he never killed an animal. Instead he would capture them, then give them medicine and heal them. Isn’t that a kind thing to do?
The animals were kept in the Guru’s beautiful gardens so they could also be part of the Sangat. When the time was right, the Guru would release the animals back to the wild. Like all souls, the animals were blessed to be near the Guru and his divine presence.
The Guru also had many fruit trees planted in the gardens. So the Guru’s court had fruit trees, animals of all kinds, and beautiful flowers and plants.
I find with kids I need to keep the stories really brief and really simple, otherwise their attention starts wandering and the focus gets lost.
The story I’ve told was based around craft model we were going to make – a lion. We’ve talked about sad lion who met Guru Ji and how Guru Ji brought him into his beautiful garden with many wonderful plants and flowers; and then Guru Ji took care of the lion (link to The Guru’s song – “our 7-th Guru is Guru Har Rai Ji” with the stroking movement); lion became well and happy and Guru Ji let him go back to his home.
Then we made the lion puppets.
For the lion puppet you will need:
- toilet paper roll
- orange and yellow/cream paper
- glue stick
- lion face templates (happy face, happy face page, sad face)
- colouring pencils/crayons/felt tips
- pipe cleaner
- little piece of blu tack
- Cut a strip of orange paper to cover the paper roll.
- Glue one end of the orange strip to the roll.
- Glue the other end.
- Cut out an oval shape for lion’s tummy. You can add a cute belly button detail with a pen.
- Using a pen or pencil make holes for front and back paws and for the tail at the back.
- Cut pipe cleaner into3 equal-ish parts and put them in through the holes.
- Colour the lion faces, add the details and glue the happy face on.
- Put a little piece of blu tack at the back of the sad face.
- Attach the sad face on top of the happy one.
Kids really loved this activity. I mostly gave them only the happy face to make. You can have the sad face as extension activity for older kids.
I imagine you can make variety of animals using the same idea.
The original lion template found on Pintrest.