What you will need:
- Rangoli pattern templates. Depending on your child’s level of vision, you could enlarge these, highlight the lines in bold or even follow the pattern with string to make it tactile
- Plastic trays or baking trays
- Baking paper
- A selection of brightly coloured food colouring
- Scents that complement or represent each colour - essential oils, spices or herbs for example
For each colour you will also need:
- Two cups of uncooked plain rice
- One tablespoon of white vinegar
- A sealable sandwich bag
How to make radiant rangoli patterns:
- Put both cups of rice into a sealable sandwich bag.
- Add a tablespoon of vinegar, a few drops of one of the food colourings and a scent of your child’s choice. Remember that essential oils can be very strong - a little will go a long way.
- Encourage your child to tightly seal the sandwich bag and squash the rice inside so that it mixes with the vinegar, food colouring and scent. Your child may need help to make sure the rice is evenly coated.
- Guide your child to pour the rice in a thin layer onto a tray lined with baking paper. Allow to dry for an hour or two.
- Repeat the first four steps for each colour you want to use in the rangoli.
- Allow your child to explore the rangoli pattern template and talk about where the colours should go. Carefully sprinkle the different coloured rice between the lines to create beautiful patterns that can be enjoyed through sight, touch and scent.
- Once your child has completed their Rangoli, allow them to place it somewhere for everyone to enjoy.
General tips for making the most of craft activities with children with vision impairment:
Always check that any materials you use are non-toxic. No matter how careful you are, art supplies can end up in places they’re not supposed to – in the mouth or eyes, for example.
Dress your child in old clothes or provide an apron to wear while creating their masterpieces. Cover the table with newspaper or find a surface that can get messy. It’s harder to have fun if you’re constantly worried about drops, spills or stains.
Be imaginative when it comes to art supplies. Try to find objects that have interesting textures or scents. Use herbs and spices, such as cloves or cardamom pods which appeal to different senses.
Use descriptive language: as they touch glue, tell them that it is sticky, tacky, gummy and so on. Give your child a range of words they can use to describe things around them. A well-developed vocabulary is important for all children, but for a child who learns about their environment through touch, it’ll help them build a more complete and interesting understanding of the world as they grow.
Your child may need help finding art supplies and putting things together but try to step back once in a while and let them explore, locate and create things themselves. Art can be a great exploration motivator!