Kids have a pure mind and they are very much impressionable. They are intent listeners and many times they pick up while the elders are conversing. In this age of modernism, the strife underwent by our forefathers in freedom struggle and swaraj is less known or understood by the kids. Exposing the child straight away to the Dandi march or the talking about the Jalian wala incident would not be appropriate. School do a marvelous job in including History at the right stage and also celebrating national days.
As one sings lullabies, film songs and vernacular nursery rhymes to kids, do make it a point to hum the Jana Gana mana tune. Dress the toddler in the tricolour of our flag. Show them the Indian currency and the picture of Mahatma Gandhi. As kids familiarize themselves take them to view the army march on the national day parade. Show them cannons and also artillery. Photos of these are easy available if one is not able to visit the site.
The facts about India can be taught by the explaining the different colours in a National flag. Show the charka and also the picture of the Ashoka Pillar. Teach them to dance like a peacock and tell them this is our National Bird. Roar like a Tiger and tell them that this is the National animal. Make it a point to stand and respect when the National anthem is being played. Movie halls insist on playing the anthem prior to the movie and this is a great opportunity to inculcate respect for our motherland.
As you play antakshari, sing a few songs of patriotic nature. Show them the Indian map and for older kids tell them that India is a peninsula. Teach them the seas, lands and boundaries. Keep a monthly timetable to express the varied cultures in each state. For e.g. this month you could teach them about Marathi culture and each day can be devoted to a topic viz, cuisine, song, dance or attire. These make perfect pastimes where you can gently make the child aware.
Celebrating each festival irrespective of religion is the best way to raise a secular citizen. Do make a sevaiyya for Id, decorate a Christmas tree or learn to play garba raas for Navratri. Invite the kids to teach them capital of states and union territories. Award them trinkets for correct answers. On holiday visits take them to the museums, architecture and then talk to them about great warriors, kings, cultures, foreign invasion and the significance of 15th August as the Indian Independence Day.