Diwali (duh·vaa·lee) is a beloved Hindu holiday—and celebrates the triumph of light over darkness with family, food, and fun festivities! Popular traditions include mesmerizing gold sparklers (which create an oh-la-la moment under the night sky!) and colorful rangoli designs, a beautiful Indian art form that uses powdered color. Bring the spirit of Diwali to your classroom this year with hand-selected Diwali books by Scholastic editors and a fun, educational activity. 

Start by teaching your students about Diwali by using books such as Binny’s Diwali, a sweet story about Binny embracing her culture and sharing her family’s Diwali traditions with her classmates. There’s also Rookie Read-About Holidays: Diwali, a non-fiction book with colorful pictures and fascinating facts about Diwali. 

Next, you can try an easy classroom activity to bring Diwali to life for your students by creating a Diya, an oil lamp made out of clay! Your class can participate in this fun, hands-on activity and learn all about special Diwali traditions. 

Students will need: 

  • Chart paper and markers or interactive whiteboard
  • Self-hardening clay or store-bought clay Diyas 
  • Tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tea candles (battery operated), one per child


1. Prepare and decorate the Diyas—they can either be made with self-hardening clay or be store-bought. If your class chooses to create Diyas from clay; follow these instructions: 

  • Ask students to use the ball of self-hardening clay to shape a small bowl (big enough to hold a tea candle). 
  • Ask students to use their index finger and thumb to pinch one end of the Diya to create a small point at the front of it. 
  • Allow the clay to harden. 
  • Once the clay has finished drying, students can paint the Diya with the tempera paint (Diwali designs usually include lots of colors and intricate floral patterns).

2. Arrange the finished Diyas together in the front of the classroom, and use battery-operated candles to light them up. Take a moment to admire the beauty of your student’s creation and marvel over the main theme of Diwali—the triumph of light. 

3. Recap the lesson about Diwali by asking students what they learned and record the findings on the chart paper or whiteboard. 

4. As a group, write a letter to parents explaining about Diwali and the Diya. 

5. Send the finished Diyas home with the letter. 

Shop these beloved Diwali children’s books and other books about Indian culture, like Holi, below! You can find all books and activities at The Teacher Store.

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