In this post, you will be introduced to 12 skills and concepts (4 in each segment). Your children can learn those skills through a single art form – drawing and application of Rangoli. In most Indian homes, drawing Rangoli across the front yard is a mandatory daily chore. In modern times, it is either executed by the housewife or the domestic helper, but not so much by ‘children’!
Rangoli or Kolam, as it is popularly known in southern India is developed with scientific principles that both protects the hygiene of the house and stimulates the nervous system of the artist.
This art form primarily focuses on developing 3 broad skill sets – math skills, art skills and physical skills. As a bonus, this art form also offers tranquility, enabling peace of mind – a prerequisite for spiritual skills. Here is a list of skills that can be taught to your children while teaching Rangoli.
Why should children learn how to draw Rangoli?
Skill set 1: Mathematical skills
Rangoli or Kolam designs are used by joining dots and creating either linear strokes or cyclic strokes. You will be introduced to different mathematical concepts which are listed below by degree of advancement. For each concept, you will see a figure that explains how you can introduce the respective concept.
- Counting – Begin by placing dots. Choose a simple design that has four or five dots and then move onto complex designs with over 100 dots. Don’t hesitate to use the white powder though you are teaching it to a toddler. In the subsequent sections, you will know why you need to encourage your toddler to use the powder instead of a chalk. Counting as a concept, using Rangoli / Kolam, can be introduced to children from 2 years of age. Every morning you can increase the number of dots and hence, continue to teach counting.
- Number sequencing – Kolam and Rangoli designs come in different number sequences. For instance, a simple design with odd sequencing can start with 7 dots in the middle and move up to 3 or 1 dot(s) and in case of even sequencing it begins with 7 dots and could end with 6 to 1 dot(s). This exercise would help you teach your child odd and even numbers and number sequencing.
You can also teach your child the concept of squares, cubes and triangular numbers. By exploring different patterns you can start sharing concepts around Fibonacci numbers and other complex mathematical mysteries.
By joining dots on the outline, you will see that it creates a SQUARE. This also helps them understand the relationship between numbers and shapes.
- Progressions – This is an advanced version of number sequencing. Kolam designs help you easily decipher the concept of arithmetic and geometric progressions.
Here is how you can present an arithmetic and geometric sequence.
- Geometry – From simple geometric concepts like point, lines, shapes and angles to complex geometric theories can be taught, using Kolam designs. While drawing geometric figures, you can explain concepts like obtuse and acute angles, right angle, properties of parallel lines, different types of triangles and more.
Skill set 2: Artistic skills
Being an art form by itself, Kolam helps your child develop many abilities and skills that benefits them in the long-run. Use the guide below to introduce the following skills, while drawing Rangoli and Kolam patterns.
- Problem solving & Creativity – Throw random challenges at your child. Give them random sequences like 5 x 7, 4 x 4, 8 x 13 and ask them to fit in a certain number of figures. The figures could be simple traditional patterns like diamonds, flowers, lotus, diyas (light), parrots, birds and so on. This list can expand as you add.
- Perseverance & Focus – During festive seasons, people fancy creating complex and large patterns. Encourage your child to prepare a pattern for an upcoming festival. Help them choose colours and rangoli effects to execute the final design. Tools like sieve, pipes and blowers are also used to enhance artistic effects in a design. Try the design in this video
- Non-verbal communication – When you let them create their own patterns, you will be surprised of what they intend to express. Non-verbal communication can be honed to the extent of personal expression.
Creating kolams is a great way to engage your child, if he/she has to accompany you to work, an irrelevant meeting or a busy domestic errand day.
- Collaboration – Festive season is again the best time for introducing collaboration. Involve your child in group rangoli activity. Group activities require teams that have to ideate, delegate and coordinate to deliver the final design. Since this is a morning chore, it also brings in the idea of celebration right from dawn.
Skill set 3: Physical skills
Kolam and Rangoli facilitate in building physical skills which range from fine motor skills to thigh and shoulder strength.
- Fine motor skills – Especially among toddlers, learning Rangoli would help them enhance their gross motor skills. This helps your toddler to pick writing skills much faster than in a normal scenario. The ease of learning how to write is a lot more for those who know how to use their fingers to pour the powder into beautiful patterns. When you teach your children how to draw lines of varied thickness using the powder, they tend to pick up fine motor skills.
- Finger dexterity – Kolam practice has design patterns which involves the artist to use more than two fingers. It could also mean using all five fingers to create four parallel lines at the same time. Here are a few examples. This helps your children enhance finger dexterity.
- Nerve strength stimulating brain cells – While creating Kolam designs you are required to use your index finger and thumb together. These two together are also used in many ‘mudras’ taught in yoga to stimulate brain cells and activate critical nerves.
- Thigh and shoulder strength – The sitting posture while drawing Rangoli or Kolam designs requires you to take the support of your thigh and maintain a certain shoulder posture for free flow of the powder.
Skill set 4: Spiritual skills
Sound consists of harmonics. Different frequencies and vibrations are generated at different harmonic measurements.
In the science of sound, it is proven that with certain vibrations, certain geometric patterns can be created. The vice versa also is true. Looking at certain geometric patterns continuously creates certain vibrations leading to certain state of mind.
If you notice, Kolam designs have distinct harmonic and geometric patterns. By drawing those patterns over and over again, soothing vibrations are facilitated in
the mind of the artist. Hence, introducing these patterns to your children would help them maintain a better state of mind.
References and Sources used to develop this learning yantra.