Diwali Diyas – Teacher Resources

How will you ‘light up’ your school hall this October? 

With Diwali on the horizon our professional choreographers are getting ready to visit schools across the country with our brand new Diwali dance workshop, created for primary schools and based on the Hindu epic The Ramayana.

We’ve also created a free teaching resource which you can read here or download from our Diwali Dance Workshop page to print off and use in your classroom.

Diwali School Dance Workshop

Create a class Diwali Diya

A Diwali Diya is a small oil lamp often bought as gifts for Diwali or Hindu weddings. Diyas means row of lamps or light and so why not create your very own class diya with this simple activity!

Based on a simple name game, through developments this activity will create a continuous, collective wave of movement – like lamps continuously being lit and going out again.

Focus points/learning objectives: class focus, sense of working together, patience, turn taking, non-verbal communication, movement exploration. 

Diwali Diya Step 1

Get class into a circle, sat down.

There are only two, very simple rules for this activity to work:

  1. When it is your turn you say your name first, and then choose someone else’s name in the circle to say.

  2. Stand up when it is your turn (and remain standing).

Step 2

Teacher/Leader should go first, standing up, saying their own name first and then choosing someone else’s name.

E.g. Miss Thomas – James

Step 3

James then stands up to repeat the process James – Sarah

Sarah then stands up to repeat the process: Sarah – Olivia

Olivia then stands up to repeat the process: Olivia – Charlie

Repeat this process until the whole class is standing up. The last child completes the process by bringing the name back to the person who started: Sam – Miss Thomas.

Step 4

Ask children to look at the person whose name they said to ensure they can remember.

Repeat the whole process – with the same order of names – once or twice to ensure children can remember the sequence of names. This is now Sequence 1.

Step 5

Having solidified this initial sequence of names, ask the class to reverse the sequence! Where with Sequence 1 children were required to stand when it was their turn, ask them to sit down when it is their turn for Sequence 2.

The teacher/leader will start as usual but work backwards:

Miss Thomas – Sam

Charlie – Olivia

Olivia – Sarah

Sarah – James

And finally, James – Miss Thomas

This is now Sequence 2.

Step 6

Combine the two sequences!

(To check children can remember the two different names they are responsible for saying you can ask the class to look at the person whose name they said – Sequence 1 – then look at the person who said their names – Sequence 2.)

As always, teacher/leader to start. Work through Sequence 1, remembering to stand up when it is your turn, and then immediately work through Sequence 2, remembering to sit down when it is your turn!

Using our example, Miss Thomas should receive Sequence 1 from Sam and then immediately send it back to Sam starting Sequence 2.

The outcome at this point is that you should have worked through the whole class twice, with everyone standing up and then everyone sitting down.

Step 7

Now try it without speaking!

The class are now familiar with both sequences and so ought to remember when it is their turn to stand up and sit down.

Work through the sequences without saying any names. This should create a smooth ebb and flow of children standing and sitting until the whole class is seated again. 

Step 8

Practice this a few times until the flow of the movement is completely smooth.

Set the movement to some traditional Indian/Hindu music.

Step 9

Ask the children to think about the word LIGHT. How can they express the word light with a movement? Ask for a few examples. You can get them to all do their own move, or decide on one movement. Practice the sequence adding the movement in. 

Step 10

Add a long piece of fabric that the children can hold onto as they stand and sit. A fiery orange or a bright yellow would work really well in creating your class Diwali Diyas!

Handy Hints!

  • Delivering, practicing and performing this activity in full should take no more than 15 minutes. Though it can be useful to break it into two parts.

  • Delivering steps 1 – 6 in one session, then developing the activity with steps 7 – 10 the next session might be beneficial when trying this out for the first time! (Be sure to note down the sequence of names though, so you do not have to repeat, only remind the children of, the order.)

  • Once perfected, this can be a great warm up activity into any Diwali session or lesson as new sequences of names can be created every time. Bringing the activity up to Step 7 where there is no speaking can be completed in only 5 minutes with those who know how to play!