Growing up, our extended family was known for our Holi parties. We had tons of yummy food (fresh made on site!), water balloons, music, dancing and even a dunk dank and cotton candy machine some years! As we got older, the Indian radio stations, temples and various organizations started throwing their own Holi parties, so eventually we stopped consistently throwing one.
However, with Bubba, I wanted to continue the tradition. The big, public parties are just too much for me – Bubba and I hate huge crowds, parking, not having open space to run around and play – so last year, we coordinated with a few friends to start a little kid-friendly Holi party. Since most of our friends have kiddos 7 and under, here are our tips for throwing a great Holi party for little ones and what we're planning to do this year!
You can’t have Holi without colors! Gone are the days of powder that stained your clothes, skin and hair for days! Thanks to these completely non-toxic and kid friendly colors from Holi Hooray, we can enjoy beautiful colors safely and clean up easily afterward! They recommend wiping powder off dry first before trying to use water.
Since the young ones will often just dump packets, we generally make zip lock bags to split the color up. This year, I’m going to try find little cotton bags to be a bit more environmentally friendly; another option is paper cups.
Venue & Decor
A park or large backyard is perfect! You want a large open outdoor space with easy access to restrooms. Allot a mess-free space for food, strollers and guests who would rather not play (you never know how your kid is going to react – they can love getting dirty one minute, and the next the whole world has changed!). Since the party is outdoors, you don't really need decor - a welcome sign with some colorful balloons is plenty (if anything)!
Remind guests to bring a change of clothes, towels and to mention the dress code if you have one - we traditionally dress in white for Holi (or funsy matching t-shirts!). Also, if you’re planning on inviting guests who aren’t familiar with Holi (we’re inviting Bubba’s class to join!), let guests know what to expect and not to bring gifts. We also told people ahead of time that we wouldn’t be doing water play so they’d leave the water guns at home!
While it is very common to have water balloons and water guns (pichkaaris!) at Holi, for kids Bubba’s age (most of our guests will be 2-7 years old), we’re nixing the water play for our party. Some kids have a hard enough time with getting messy with colors and parents appreciate the easier clean up. When most of our kiddos are older, we’ll definitely bring back the water play!
While throwing color at each other is of course fun on its own, we’re going to do a few structured games in addition / in conjunction with our color play:
- Color Balls - super excited about this one! We fill up cut up panty hose with about 1.5 TBSP of powder to make little balls. These are soft and as they get tossed around, they slowly let powder out. Perfect for a ball toss, scavenger hunt or dodgeball fight!
- Color fight – Get your momma / papa! Turn the kids against their parents and have the ultimate color fight!
- Red Light, Green Light - play red light, green light while chasing each other around. We add a few colors for more fun:
- Red: Stop!
- Yellow: Go Slow!
- Green: Run!
- Blue: Go Crazy! (we love this one - run around flailing your arms and legs)
- Pink: Go backwards
- Purple: Crawl!
- Dance party!
- If X, Do Y! If you have yellow on you, act like a monkey!
Food & Drinks
You can go as simple or complex with food as you'd like! I prefer simple so we're going with dhokla, kathi rolls with paneer or sweet potato and veggie slider sandwiches. We may also do bowls of colorful fruit and candy to add some vibrance to our food table. For drinks, we'll do a fresh mint and masala lemonade!
Music and Dancing!
Can’t have Holi without a little Rang Barse! We got this Bluetooth speaker to be able to project the music in the park. Check out these Spotify Holi Hai Playlists: Holi Hai 2019 and Holi Haiii!
- Bubble machine – since we do quite a few outdoor picnics and parties, we have this bubble machine which is always a hit for the kids.
- Photo backdrop – Holi is beautiful with all the colors literally flying around everywhere. Since we have this photo drop stand, we’re going to hang a plain white backdrop and let the kiddos ‘decorate’ it with color and families can take fun pictures throwing colors up in the air.
- Read a book on Holi as a start up or wind down activity! Check out:
- Baby wipes – it’s helpful to keep baby wipes by the food so people can quickly wipe their hands off before grabbing a bite.
Whether you’re having a huge party in the park or a small family celebration at home, we hope these tips help you have a vibrant, memorable and colorful Holi!