Drawing a rangoli (or kolam) outside the house is an early morning routine many of us engage in. Rangoli is an ancient and traditional Indian art form that embodies beauty and auspiciousness. Rangoli art consists of decoration and patterns made with chalk or rangoli coloured powder and can be embellished with sand, rice, candles or flower petals. It is a safe, beautiful and expressive tool that transcends age, language, and cultural barriers and is a powerful and therapeutic art form that is quiet and meditative in process. It allows us to find a temporary disconnect with the incessant hubbub that surrounds our daily lives.
Some cultures believe that drawing rangoli brings good luck and wards off evil spirits while some believe that this humble ritual helps to keep courtyards clean. Think deeper and you will realise that rangoli’s are temporary– they are washed away and redrawn every day. Thus they reflect the unpredictability of life. Whatever way you draw the rangoli, you always get another chance to draw another rangoli the next day!! Rangoli art thus serves as a metaphor for the impermanence of life.
Why should children learn how to draw Rangoli?
Why not use this art with children? We teach children drawing, doodling, painting, and zentangles. This Pongal (Sankranthi) introduce your children to the drawing Rangoli and help retain this timeless tradition. There are several reasons why children should learn to draw rangolis which will help you realise that their purpose may not be just ornamental! Creating rangoli is a great way to engage your child. Your child will learn and appreciate the simplicity and genius behind these age-old designs and enjoy it too! Here is a list of skills that can be taught to your children through this single art form – drawing and application of Rangoli
Rangoli – Vital Skills children can learn
Culture and diversity
Some rangoli designs are inspired by nature, some are abstract, some geometric while still others are theme or festival based. A morning stroll on the streets of South India can show the diversity of rangoli patterns. Encourage your children to talk to friends from different states and ask them the significance of rangoli. This is also a great way to learn about other cultures. It is believed that the materials used in the rangoli powder kept small insects from entering homes. Some also say that the rice flour used in the rangoli equates to sharing food with small creatures.
To draw a rangoli one needs to master the art of holding the powder in sort of a pincer grip and letting it drop in a uniform straight line. This can be a fun way to develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, improve focus etc.
- Fine motor skills – Learning to draw rangoli can help toddlers enhance their fine motor skills. This can aid children in writing skills.
- Finger dexterity – The design patterns of rangoli requires children to use 2 or more fingers. This helps to enhance their finger dexterity.
- Stimulates brain cells and strengthen nerves – The drawing of rangoli patterns requires the use of index finger and thumb together. These two together are used in many ‘mudras’ are believed to stimulate brain cells and activate critical nerves.
Rangoli, being an art form helps children develop many abilities and skills that benefit them in the long-run. You can introduce many vital life-skills to your children while drawing rangoli patterns.
- Problem-solving– Use the dot rangoli pattern and encourage your children to draw simple figures by connecting the dots. Start with simple ones like lamps, diamonds, flowers etc. You can challenge them with more complicated designs too!
- Planning and Resourcefulness – Encourage your children to draw out their own patterns and choose the colors to fill in and execute the design too. You can also encourage them to use tools available (like sieves, pipes etc) or let them use unusual things to make patterns on the rangoli.
- Concentration and Perseverance – Children learn concentration and perseverance when trying to learn to draw rangoli patterns of increasing complexity.
- Creativity and Expression of Ideas – Rangoli drawing help children express their ideas and thoughts when allowed to create their own patterns.
- Collaboration and Team Work – Involve children in group rangoli activity that require them to come up with ideas, delegate and coordinate to execute the final design. Great way to learn to work together and learn other skills like communication, negotiation and more!
Rangoli designs are created by drawing freehand or joining dots in linear or cyclic strokes. You can introduce children to different mathematical concepts and show children that math is not just a boring subject and how it can be applied to art and design.
- Counting – You can teach counting using dots while drawing rangoli. Start from simple designs that have 4 dots and move to complex ones that have 100 dots. Encourage them to count when placing each dot. You can also teach backward counting.
- Sequencing –Rangoli designs come in different number sequences. You can use the same dot patterns to teach odd numbers, even numbers, and sequencing too.
- Squares, and Cubes – You can also teach your child the concept of squares and cubes by exploring different patterns. Draw 2×2 dots and encourage them to come up with more complex ones. Eventually, you can start sharing concepts around Fibonacci numbers and other complex mathematical mysteries.
- Geometry – By joining dots, children will learn and understand the relationship between numbers and shapes. Not just simple geometric concepts like point, lines, shapes, but even angles to complex geometric theories can be taught, using Rangoli designs. While drawing geometric figures, you can explain concepts like symmetry, angles, properties of parallel lines, different types of triangles and more.
- Size and 3D – You can show how multiple rhombus shapes put together can give a 3D effect to a rangoli and how different sizes of the same shape can make beautiful designs. This could also be used as an exercise to teach size estimation.
Most rangoli art was learnt by looking at the designs that family or neighbours drew on their courtyards. You can get children to try and re-visualize design patterns that they have seen and make it a fun memory game. Extend the rangoli session to get your children to help clean the area and make it part of the rangoli drawing activity. You can also get children together and hold rangoli competitions.
Teach your child an ancient and unique art form today. The ground is your canvas and there are no limits to the imagination!
We loved RangoliWorld.org for some awesome rangoli resources.