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 ય!
First up is ય for યંત્ર (yantra, machine).
Let's make one of my favorite machines-- a laptop! Check out the photo to the right for the final product. It looks complicated, but it is actually really simple!
Find two rectangular cardboard pieces that are similar in size. If you do not have any cardboard pieces lying around, then you can cut up an old box to make 2 rectangular pieces.
Tape the two pieces together on one edge. This will allow you to open and close the two pieces as if they were a book (or a laptop)!
Wrap this entire contraption in aluminum foil to give the illusion of a machine made out of metal. Alternatively, you can just paint or color the cardboard pieces whichever color you would like your laptop to be.
4. On a white piece of paper, make a grid. Then help your child write out the Gujarati alphabet each square of the grid. This will be good practice to review all of the letters we have already learned. Glue this paper onto one of the cardboard pieces. This will be your "keyboard"!
5. For the "screen" of your laptop, you can either glue another piece of white paper, or you can tape/glue a thin piece of whiteboard as we did. That way, you can write on your "screen" with a dry erase marker and change what the "screen says"
*** After making this, we played a game where I would name a letter and my kid would have to "type" it on her keyboard. In this way, she got to practice letter recognition. Depending on the age of your kid, you can have them "type" longer words as well!
Laptops are cool, but let's learn about a different યંત્ર (yantra, machine).
The world is full of machines, so you can take this time to talk about different types of simple machines, like levers, inclined planes, wheel and axles, etc. In fact, you can find many of these machines in your friendly neighborhood playground!. There, you see levers (in the form of seesaws and swings), inclined planes (in the form of slides), and wheel and axles (in the form of a roundabout). Unfortunately, our playgrounds are still closed, so we made a diorama of a playground to show our kids these different machines in work. You can make a similar diorama, or you can learn about playgrounds in real life depending on how covid is doing in your hometown.
**Check out this awesome blog that breaks down simple machines in a really easy way so your preschooler will be able to understand them:
Let's put the ય into યાધ (yaad, memory), with a memory game. There are lots of different ways to play this, but this is what we did!
Grab some common items/toys from around the house as well as a plate.
Place three items on your plate and allow your kid to look at the items in order to memorize them for 10-30 seconds. Then cover the plate with a towel and have your kid tell you what was under the towel.
Slowly add more items onto the plate to make the game more difficult!
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 ય share the story of યમ રાજા અને નચિકેત (Lord Yama and Nachiketa). You can read this stories (and more) under the “Gujarati stories” tab on our website.
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.
યશસ્વી (yashashvi, successful)
***You can also use this week to explain some basic Indian philosophy to your kid. Indian philosophy is based on the 4 Vedas, one of which starts with ય! The 4 Vedas are યજુર (Yajur), અથર્વ (Atharva), સોમ (Som), and રીગ (Rig).
The best way to learn a letter is to sing it! For the letter ય, we did not have any Gujarati songs, but you can check out the Hindi song, "યશોમતી મૈયા સે/Yashomati maiya se":
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 ય!
ય for યમુના (Yamuna)
ય for યજ્ઞ (yagna, sacrifice)
ય for યોજના (yojanaa, plan)
ય for યાત્રા (yaatra, travel)
ય for યાત્રી (yaatri, traveler)
ય for યોગા (yoga)
ય for યુદ્ધ (yudha, war)
ય for યાધ (yaad, memory)
ય for યુવતી (yuvati, young lady)
ય for યુવાન (yuvaan, youth)
Question of the Week: Take a break from learning about મ and stretch your mind with the question of the week!
Q: How is a rainbow made?
A: When it rains, the white light from the sun passes through rain drops. These rain drops act like very tiny prisms, which just means that the white light bends