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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Olsen

STEAM Activity: Play Dough Diya

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Happy Diwali STEM Sparkers! Jack's school is hosting a Diwali Festival next weekend, with my acquaintance Kriti (we meet at a SWE event many years ago, but she knows Jack's music teacher) and her dance company Kriti Dance leading some of the festivities. Here at STEM Spark, we think it's awesome when other share their holidays with us at STEM Spark, and we're excited to participate in this Diwali Festival next weekend.

Diwali is celebrated by Indians, and is "the festival of lights and is one of the most celebrated festivals of the year. As per the Hindu epic Ramayana, it is a day when Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman returned to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in forests" (India Today). As part of of the festival of lights, there are clay lamps called diya. We put a little bit of a spin on the diya, using play dough to make ours. Below is what you'll need to make your own diya.

You'll Need

Baking Sheet


LED Candle or Wick

Optional: Paint and Glitter or Food Dye and Edible Glitter


1) Make the play dough (instructions found here).

2) Shape the dough into a diya (the best you can; art is subjective so no worries if it's not perfect). Note that I used gel food dye and edible shimmer dust to make the diya safe for kids who like to put diya lamps in their mouth. But if you have older kids, you can use regular craft paint and craft glitter after baking the diya.

3) Place diya on baking sheet and bake the diya for about 30 minutes at 350 degree Fernheit (basically make sure all moisture is out of the diya), and the put diya on display.

Again for safety purposes, I put a LED candle in our diya. However, if you have a wick and oil, you can use those for the diya lamp. I thought this how a candle works article was fascinating, and I think a wick and oil lamp works similarly. So happy STEM-ing and happy Diwali everyone!

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