Tamil New Year (Puthandu) themed activities for kids( with free printable)

Tamil new year or Tamil Puthandu is right around the corner. Puthandu means “New Year” and it marks the first day of the year on the Tamil calendar. This day falls on 14th of April. Tamil people in India and Tamilians across the world celebrate Puthandu as an important festival.  Many other states in India celebrate 14th April as a regional new year. The celebrations vary state by state. In West Bengal, it is known as Pahela Baishakh, in Kerala as Vishu, in Assam as Bihu and as Vaisakhi in Punjab. In this post, I will share details about Tamil New Year (Puthandu) themed activities for kids.

Studying about different cultures is an important concept under the Montessori umbrella. These activities are a great opportunity to explore with your child about different cultures and tradition. If you are interested in other festival/holiday celebrations in India you may like to check out this previous video on Pongal and post on India Republic Day activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

Language/Vocabulary tray

Puthandu is a celebration of blessings of the past year and wishes for prosperity and happiness in the coming year. The cultural celebration includes people spending most of the time with their family and cooking mouth-watering dishes. On this day, a tray is arranged with rice, pulses, gold/silver coins, coconut, fruits (mango, banana, jackfruit) and beetle leaves. A mirror is placed in the background of the items, such a way that they are reflected in the mirror. Looking at this tray on the new year is considered to be very auspicious. This tray and its reflection on the mirror is called “kanni parthal” which signifies abundance. The set up signifies that items organized are doubled by the reflection, meaning doubling happiness and wealth.


In the language tray what I have done is set up items like a mirror, beetle leaf, fruits like banana etc. and we would first learn about names of each object using Montessori 3 period lesson and then play I spy game as my son is showing interest in letter sounds these days.We would talk about the significance of each item included in the tray and enrich our vocabulary with terms relevant to Tamil Puthandu.

Sensorial Tray (Gustatory Sense)

People of Tamil origin are very fond of food and cook a variety of dishes. The festival occasion includes cooking of dishes that spread across all six tastes namely sweet, sour, bitter, salty, pungent and astringent. Eating all six flavors in the major meal of the day signifies good health and implies that life has all flavors. We should manage the bitterness of the life and balance it with sweet things.

To explain this concept I have made this printable having different food items which can be used with kids to do a classification based on taste.While eating food we often talk about the different flavors and taste of food items. As part of the sensorial activity, we will have a tray containing various food items with different tastes. The sensorial activity makes it more relevant to Tamil new year because the festival involves cooking of various dishes. This sensorial activity involves identification of the food items and classifying them to their respective taste category.You can include items like a salty cracker, a sweet blueberry, a piece of sour lemon etc.

Sensorial play with Rangoli powder

Rangoli is a very important part of Tamil culture. Especially, during festivals, women adorn the front of their houses with beautiful Rangoli designs to exhibit their love for this art form. In this shelf work, we are going to have some Rangoli powder for an open-ended play like scooping and making a sensorial jar by filling Rangoli powder using a funnel.

Another activity is Rangoli craft work, for which you can make some rangoli designs on paper and the child needs to apply some glue on the same and fill rangoli powder on top. Dusting off the excess powder gives the desired design. Check out our earlier video on Diwali, where my son is doing similar craft work with Rangoli.


Visual Skills Activity

Visual differentiation activities help a child to identify subtle differences in images and identify similarity and differences. These skills can be related to “attention to detail” skill required in real life. Bharatanatyam is the important dance form of TamilNadu. It has various mudras. I have made this free printable on a simple matchup work of these mudras that are great to enhance visual skills. We would also talk about Bharatanatyam as a dance form and look at some pictures related to it.

 Math /Counting Activity

In Tamil Puthandu cooking, Raw mango is used as an important ingredient for many dishes. As part of math activity, we would be counting the number of raw mangoes and match it with the right number. Based on availability, we can use any items such as raw mangoes or stones or pom-poms for the math activity.You can grab the free printable for this math activity here.

 TamilNadu (State identification)

This is a simple activity to identify where the state TamilNadu is located on the map of India. A  map of  India puzzle showing different states is the best hands-on way to introduce this concept to a toddler. Some facts for discussion may include, India is a country consisting of 29 states. Tamil Nadu is one of the states which is predominantly occupied by Tamil people. Chennai is the capital of TamilNadu, and that’s the city where his grandparents live:).  These are some facts I plan to share with my son.Grab a copy of free printable highlighting TamilNadu state in the map of India here.

I am really looking forward to the actual Tamil Puthandu day after setting up this shelf work for my son. Hoping we can explore together as a family and understand our culture better with this simple work. Let me know what your plans for this Tamil New Year in comments are below.

Wish you a very happy and prosperous Tamil New Year!




  • Srividya May 10, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Very nice detailed informations congrats

  • Vishwanathan Sundarrajan April 12, 2018 at 7:04 am

    Inspiring 👌👌👍🇮🇳

    • srividya April 14, 2018 at 8:58 pm

      Thank you for your feedback

  • Vishwanathan Sundarrajan April 12, 2018 at 7:02 am

    👌👌very good


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