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 ધ.
First up is ધ for ધૂમકેતુ (dhoomketu, comet).
Who says you have to wait for a meteor shower to see a comet? With this activity you can make a meteor shower happen right in your living room!
Find a stick. You can use an actual stick from your backyard or use a ruler/pencil/straw/popsicle stick/etc.
Cut 5-7 pieces of ribbon in different lengths. To make your comet more shiny, try to use ribbon that is made out of shiny/sparkly material.
Tie or tape the pieces of ribbon to one end of your stick.
Take some pieces of tin foil and wrap them around the same end of your stick that the ribbons were tied to. Make sure you hold the ribbons out so that they do not get covered by the tin foil. Use 3-4 pieces of tin foil so that you create a large ball at the end of the stick.
Now that you have your comet, help it "fly" by holding it above your head and running around the house!
** Once we made the comets, we raced around the house to see whose comet was faster!
*** Check out this blog that helps lay out the above instructions alongside photos: https://spaceplace.nasa.gov/comet-stick/en/ Next up is ધ for ધ્વજ (dvaja, flag)!
This activity doesn't require much explanation, but it does require some serious national pride! Grab some construction paper and markers and make a flag to represent your nation(s)! We made both an Indian and American flag. I also took this time to talk to my kid about different things we have learned from both nations so that she can be proud to be an Indian-American!
Let's get our hands dirty and put the ધ in ધૂળ (dhul, dirt).
Find a steel plate. (You can also use a piece of tupperware, but just make sure that it has raised edges so you don't make a mess)!
Take some dirt from your backyard. Place the dirt on your plate-- make sure you cover the entire bottom of the plate with a thin layer of dirt.
Practice writing letters and words! Start with ધ and then move onto the other letters we have learned already.
**You can also draw pictures in the dirt. Use the word list at the bottom of this blog for some suggestions of words that revolve around the letter ધ!
Now its time to put the ધ in ધબકારા (dhabkaaraa, heartbeat) by making a homemade stethoscope.
There are lots of blogs online that show you how to do this and you can get as complex as you want. However, the easiest way to do this is to use a toilet paper roll.
Grab a toilet paper roll. Decorate the sides of the roll with markers or glitter. Make sure you don't block either end of the roll.
Have your kid put his/her ear to your chest and ask if they can hear your heartbeat.
Now, grab your makeshift stethoscope. Place one end of the toilet paper roll on your kids ear and the other end on your chest. Ask if they can hear your heartbeat louder now.
Now its time to put our scientist caps on and see how to make our heartbeats faster and slower.
Have your kid run around and do some ધમાલ (dhamaal, mischief) . Then, listen to the heartbeat again and see if ધમાલ makes heartbeats faster or slower!
Then, have your kid slow down (ધીમું, dheemu). Listen to the heartbeat again and see if slowing down makes heartbeats faster or slower!
**If your kid is older then you can brainstorm ideas for how to make the stethoscope even better. For example, would making the stethoscope longer or wider make the heartbeat louder?
***Depending on the age of your kid, you can also take this time to teach them about our circulatory system and how the heart works. Make sure you use the Gujarati words for the parts of the circulatory system.
ધમની (dhamani, aorta)
નસ (nas, veins)
શીરા (shiraa, vena cava)
Now lets work our hands and minds with this next activity. Let's put the ધ in ધણ (dhana, herd)!
For this activity you will need 10 cows. You can either draw simple ones on paper and then cut them out or you can use stuffed animals/figurines. Use these cows to teach your kid about addition and subtraction. By using the paper cows, even young children (like my three year old) can find math easy!
Below are some examples of simple math problems you can ask.
There are five cows in the herd. Two more come along and want to join. How many cows are there now?
There are nine cows in the herd. One goes to eat some grass in another farm. Now how many cows are left?
Last but not least, lets put the ધ in ધ્યાન (dhyana, concentration)!
It is never too early to teach your kid the importance of concentration and meditation. Now, my kid does not like to sit in one spot for too long, but that is all the more reason to bring some meditation into her life!
Check out this awesome article that highlights 3 ways to make meditation more accessible to your kid: https://chopra.com/articles/3-kid-friendly-meditations-your-children-will-love
Storytime: 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 ધ share the story of ધ્રુવ (Dhruv). You can read this stories (and more) under the “Gujarati stories” tab on our website.
Character/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.
ધીરજ (dheeraj, patience)
ધ્યેય (dheya, goal)
ધ્યાન (dhyaan, concentration)
** You can practice most of these qualities by teaching your kid meditation. See the activity section for some simple ways to bring meditation into your home!
**Check out the main site for some worksheets and stories about Dhanteras and the other days of Diwali!
The best way to learn a new letter is to sing it! This week, check out the song ધોળું ધોળું સસલું (dhodu dhodu saslu, white white rabbit). If you haven't heard it yet, that is okay. Here is a Youtube video that can help you with the words/tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SD1Vi4XE4Y
Word Salad: The best way to learn another language is to hear as many words as possible. Here are just a few extra words to practice during the week that start with ધ!
ધ for ધર્મ (dharma, duty)
ધ for ધ્યેય (dheya, goal)
ધ for ધ્યાન (dhyaana, concentration)
ધ for ધન (dhan, wealth)
ધ for ધરતી (dharti, earth)
ધ for ધાણા ( dhaanaa, coriander)
ધ for ધાણાજીરું (dhaanaajeeru, coriander/cumin powder)
ધ for ધણ (dhana, herd)
ધ for ધૂળ (dhul, dirt)
ધ for ધારા (dhaaraa, stream)
ધ for ધ્રુજ (dhruj, shivering/trembling)
ધ for ધુમાડો (dhumaado, smoke)
ધ for ધોતિયું (dhotiyu)
ધ for ધમણ (dhamana, blower)
ધ for ધબકારા (dhabkaaraa, heartbeat)
ધ for ધમની (dhamani, aorta)
ધ for ધાવણ (dhaavana, breastfeeding)
ધ for ધોધ (dhodha, waterfall)
ધ for ધાક (dhaak, fear/awe)
ધ for ધવલ (dhaval, white)
ધ for ધતુરો (dhaturo, wrightii flower)
ધ for ધીમું (dhimu, slow down)
ધ for ધારવું (dhaaravu, assume)
ધ for ધાપ (dhaap, bluff)
ધ for ધાબળો (dhabhalo, blanket)
ધ for ધોકો (dhoko, beater)
ધ for ધમાલ (dhamaal, mischief)
ધ for ધૂન (dhoon, tune)
ધ for ધારક (dhaarak, person who plans)
ધ for ધારણ (dhaarana, assumption)
ધ for ધૂમકેતુ (dhoomketu, comet)
ધ for ધોવાણ (dhovaana, erosion)
ધ for ધોવાનું (dhovaanu, washing)
ધ for ધુમાડો (dhoomaadu, smoke)
ધ for ધગશ (dhagasha, ardour)
ધ for ધમકી (dhamaki, threat)
ધ for ધાર (dhaar, edge)
ધ for ધણી (dhani, lord/husband )