Kids learn best when they are having fun. I have found that my toddler is most excited to learn Gujarati when I associate the letters with fun activities or stories. That’s why each week we feature a Gujarati letter of the week, where we share activities and stories that are based on that letter. This week’s letter is ણ.
First, let's make a ધનુષ્ય બાણ (dhanushya bhaana, bow and arrow). We all have a stack of coat hangers in the back of our closet. Today is the day to put those hangers to some good use:
Find an old coat hanger that you don't use anymore.
Cut off the bottom bar of the coat hanger.
Cut off the hook of the coat hanger. You should be left with a V-shaped coat hanger now.
Make sure you either sand down any sharp edges with a knife or cover any sharp edges with masking tape so your kid doesn't get hurt.
Color the coat hanger using paint, markers, or scrapes of paper. This will be your bow, so make sure it looks good!
Use a knife to cut a small notch into each edge of the remaining coat hanger. Take some string and tie it around the notch on one end. Then, making sure the string is taut, tie it around the notch on the remaining end.
Now that the bow is done, time to move on to the arrows!
Find some construction paper. Roll pieces of paper into a long cylinder. Once you have made a cylinder, tape the ends of the paper so that the cylinder holds taut.
Tape a triangle-shaped piece of paper onto one end of the cylinder.
Tape some leaves onto the other end of the cylinder.
** You can be creative with the arrows. If you don't want to use paper, then you can use skewers or even wooden sticks from your backyard!
**Check out this youtube video for a video run-down of the above process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br2VSZtu1vg
Now, its time to slither onto a different activity. Let's make a ફેણ (phena, hood of serpent)!
Its origami time! Sometimes origami can be really challenging, but not this time.
Check out this youtube video that provides step-by-step instructions on how to make a ફેણ:
Let's play જમણી / ડાભી (jamani/ daabhi, right/left)!
We have played different variations of this game on VedInk before, but this is essentially like "Simon Says".
Start off by shouting "જમણી" (jamani, right) or "ડાભી" (daabhi, left). Have your kid raise their right hand when you say જમણી and their left hand when you say ડાભી.
Once your kid has gotten the hang of that, its time to level up! Instead of just shouting out જમણી or ડાભી, shout out a body part as well. For example, say જમણી કોણી (jamani koni, right elbow) or ડાભી ઘૂંટણ (daabhi ghutana, left knee) . Have your kid point to whichever body part you shout out. Make sure they point to the right side!
** This game is a really simple way to help your kid learn about directions and the names for the different body parts.
Now it's time for a scavenger hunt!
We have run our minds enough. Now its time to actually run during this scavenger hunt for words with ણ!
વટાણા (vataanaa, peas)
વેલણ (velana, rolling pin)
માખણ (maakhana, butter)
લસણ (lasana, garlic)
રીંગણ (ringana, eggplant)
ઢાકણું (dhaakanu, lid)
ગરણી (garani, sieve)
બરણી (bharani, jar)
સુરણ (surana, yam)
Scavenger Hunt instructions:
Write down the above words on a piece of paper.
Read the first word on the list and have your kid search the kitchen for that item. Once he/she brings you that item, repeat the same process with the next word.
Once your kid has found all of the words, re-read the words on the list one more time. This round, each time you read a word, have your kid put that item back in its rightful place.
My kid LOVES stories. I have found that relating Gujarati letters to specific stories helps her associate the letter with more words and helps her practice saying the letter out loud. For the letter ણ, share the following stories:
Arjun's study (અર્જુનનો અભ્યાસ, Arjunno abhyaas)
Lord Krishna and the butter (માખણ, makhana)
You can read these stories (and more) under the “Gujarati stories” tab on our website.
**While the first story doesn't have ણ in its title, it talks about Arjun's ધનુષ્ય બાણ (dhanushya bhaana, bow and arrow), so don't worry!
Character and Quality Corner:
While learning letters is super important, learning character is even more important. So why not do both simultaneously? Associating letters with characters and qualities helps pique my kid’s interest in great historical figures while also allowing her to practice saying the letter out loud. Here are a few of my favorite characters and qualities associated with the letter ણ.
દ્રોણ (Drona) . Drona was the teacher of the Pandavas and Kauravas.
કર્ણ (Karna) . Karna was Duryodhan's best friend. Even though he was on the wrong side of history, there is still a lot we can learn from him. The biggest thing we can learn is loyalty. Once Karna decided to become Duryodhan's friend, he never stopped.
** If you want us to go into more detail about these characters, let us know in the "comments" section of this blog!
I couldn't think of an actual quality that had the letter ણ. If you know of one, leave us a comment down below. However, you can take this time to talk about the festival ઉત્તરાયણ (Uttarayan) and the qualities that this festival teaches us.
The best way to learn another language is to hear as many words as possible. The letter ણ is a little challenging as there are no words that start with ણ (at least to my knowledge). However, here are a list of words that contain ણ.
વેણી (veni, braid)
હરણ (harana, deer)
બાણ (bhaana, arrow)
ફેણ (phena, hood of serpent)
સાવરણી (saavarani, broom)
ત્રણ (trana, three)
વીણા (veena, Laxmi’s instrument)
ભણવાનું (bhanavaanu, to study)
ગણિત (ganita, mathematics)
લપસણી (lapsani, slide)
** Once we learn about the letter "ન", come back to this page. Then you can help your kid understand the difference between "ણ" and "ન" by comparing these words to words with "ન"!