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Salt Dough Diya

Diya lamps are traditionally used for cultural festivals during Diwali. Hindus, globally celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, and these Diya candle holders or oil lamps are spread throughout the home. These salt lamps are very easy to make and the kids will have loads of fun making them and then decorating them.

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Create a beautiful work of art to celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights!

Diya lamps are used during Diwali. For many people, Diwali honors the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. The lights and lamps are said to help this goddess find her way into people’s homes to bring them prosperity for the year to come! These Diya lamps are sure to brighten up any room and can really spark the conversation around this Hindu holiday.

📚Get inspired: “Amma, Tell Me About Diwali!” by Bhakti Mathur is a great resource to start the conversation about Diwali for young children.

❗ New word alert! The word Diwali (or Deepavali as it’s sometimes called) means “row of lights” in an Ancient language of India, called Sanskrit. During this festival, people decorate their homes with lights and oil lamps, called diyas.

🎆Did you know? It’s not just about lights — Diwali is a time to have fun with friends and family! People exchange gifts and sweets, enjoy delicious feasts, watch firework displays and wear new clothes. It’s a time to clean and decorate your home, too.


For this activity you will need:

1 cup salt

2 cups flour

1 cup water

Large bowl for mixing

Baking Tray

Tin foil

Paint of different colors

Colorful beads and sparkles 


Tealight candle (optional)

Learning Outcomes






Constructing 3D objects


Step 1:

Start by making your salt dough lamp base by mixing the first 3 ingredients together. Once a dough is formed, roll small balls of the dough to form a firm ball. 

Step 2:

Next, push the ball down gently to flatten the bottom to prevent it from rolling. Now, take your thumbs and push into the ball to form a rim around the dough ball. 

Step 3:

Once you’re happy with the shape of your Diya, place it in a hot oven (350℉) for 15-20 minutes until hard. Remove from oven and set in a safe place to cool down.

Step 4: 

Once cooled, it’s time to paint and decorate! When the Diya is dry from the paint you can add a tea light candle (real or battery-operated) and enjoy your new lamp!

⬆️ For older preschoolers: This would be a great time to introduce fire safety to younger ones, especially if you’re using a real candle. Make sure to supervise when lighting a match and having a lit candle around your home!

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Younger toddlers will love the “helping” aspect of this activity - mixing the dough, forming the dough balls, washing the paint brushes - all great practice for their self-help skills!

Playful Questions

What are other types of light we can explore? (electricity, fire, the sun etc.)

Do you have any traditions at home that you do every year?

Do you have any lamps at home that look similar to this?

Can you tell me about the design you used for your lamp?

Is there another way we could build the lamp to hold the tealight?

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