How to share Indian culture with kids through play
One of the most amazing parts of being an Indian is the incredibly vast, storied, and diverse culture we are all a part of! From foods and languages to clothes and crafts, there are countless tales and traditions to pass along to our children.
But why is it important to share our culture with the next generation? And what's the best way to introduce young children to the wonderful stories of India? Read on to find out!
Why teach your child about their culture?
1. Strengthens their identity - Knowing about the history of their country, state, and people can help your child build their sense of self. It will also help them feel a deep sense of belonging from a young age.
2. Fosters curiosity - Every culture is filled with delicious foods, fun folktales, and inspiring historical stories. Getting to know about these will pique your child’s curiosity about the world around them!
3. Helps appreciate differences - The more your little one learns about the differences across Indian culture, the more they will be able to respect and understand their friends, classmates, and neighbours. This will also help them see what makes every culture so interesting!
4. Hones emotional intelligence - Being able to understand the history and context of others will help your child empathize better and form friendships easily.
5. Preserves our cultural heritage - Teaching our kids about Indian foods, stories, crafts, and traditions is the best way to keep them alive and relevant!
The role of toys in Indian culture
Toys have been a part of Indian culture for centuries! Not only do we have unique ways of making toys, but many of our childhood classic toys (even the ones manufactured abroad!) have origins that can be traced back to India.
Karnataka’s famous Channapatna dolls, Andhra Pradesh’s Kondapalli toys, and Tamil Nadu’s bobblehead Thanjavur dolls are all perfect to play with and showcase the culture of the land they are made in. Be it the clothing of these dolls, the natural materials they are made with, or the toymaking handicraft that is passed across generations, these toys are distinctly Indian!
Want to know more about the master craftspeople who make shumee toys? Read this blog to find out!
And it’s not just dolls. In India, we have our own versions of the popular spin top, such as the lattu and the bambaram. Wooden carts, horses, and blocks, terracotta animals, and handmade ragdolls are some other age-old toys that celebrate Indian culture through craft, storytelling, and play!
Now that we’ve taken a look at India’s rich history of toymaking, the questions that comes to mind would be – How can you access these toys made in far off corners of the country? And will they feel relevant for today’s children?
Enter shumee toys!
Learning about India through play
At shumee, we’ve been working with Indian artisans who are masters of traditional toymaking. Most of our toys take traditional designs and rework them with contemporary elements. We also have an wide range of toys which are created to effortlessly introduce your little one to India and our culture. Let’s look at some all-time favourites!
1. Wooden Classic Toys
The first toy we made at shumee was our Rainbow Wooden Stacker. This colourful remake of the classic Indian stacker was an instant hit with parents and children!
Another set of Indian toys we’ve given a makeover to are the humble blocks. From Alphabet Blocks to Chalk-o-Blocks to Baby’s First Pattern Blocks, we have a whole range of bright and versatile wooden blocks for children at different ages and stages of their development!
Shumee was started by a mom who wanted her sons to play with safe, simple, and open-ended toys. Read about our journey from one rainbow stacker to hundreds of wooden toys!
2. Funky Spin Tops
There are few things as fun as twirling a top and watching it spin, spin, spin! From colourful hand-carved tops to gorgeous animal tops, we have an inspired range of spin tops to choose from. These are perfect to bring to a playdate, compete with siblings, or to keep fidgety hands busy!
3. Indiascape toys
Of course we all want our children to know about each state in our country, their capitals, and their specific culture. But how can we get young children interested in all of this? Our Indiascape cards, puzzle, and activity book is a super easy solution to this conundrum!
Fix together an illustrated Indian map, test your memory, or enjoy a game of Snap – your child can learn all about each state and its heritage from this specially designed range of themed games and activities.
4. Indian Mythology range
The peg dolls are our nod to India’s immense lineage of wooden doll making. They can be used as storytelling props, pretend play figurines, or even festival decor. These handmade and hand-painted dolls also make great keepsake gifts!
5. Thirsty Crow Board Game
Remember the Panchatantra story of the thirsty crow? Not only was it an awesome lesson in resourcefulness, but retelling it is sure to fill you up with nostalgia!
Our Thirsty Crow Board Game is inspired by this lovely folktale. Take on the role of thirsty crows, collect your pebbles, and play your way across the board to reach the matka of water – an easy family game night staple!
6. Handcrafted Stamps
Printmaking has always been a thriving Indian craft used for making clothes, home decor, and more. You can now give your child a chance to experience making their own prints with shumee’s hand-carved wooden stamps and organic paints.
From Peppa Pig to forest animals to dinosaurs, you can pick from a wide selection of stamp designs. These are great to make cards, decorate gift wrapping, or to just get creative with!
7. Wooden Balancing Yogis
There’s nothing more Indian than the mindful practice of yoga and if you’re looking to teach your child about it, our Balancing Yogis are a must-have. This game combines balance, concentration, and competition with mindfulness and exercise! Who's ready to play?
Are there any games or activities you've grown up with that you've enjoyed sharing with your child? Comment below and let us know!