By Madhava Smullen 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for parents and kids, as they try to find engagement while staying at home. Here are eleven tried-and-true Krishna conscious activities, as shared by devotee parents themselves!

1. Holding a Backyard Ratha Yatra for Lord Jagannatha

“Mata, what does Jagannatha like to eat the most?” asked my 7-year old Murari. My quick response was “Kaja!” That’s when we decided that we will make kajas and offer to Jagannatha for the first time ever. Another quick thought zoomed into our minds – “Why don’t we have our own Ratha Yatra this year as our Ratha Yatra in San Antonio, Texas is canceled due to COVID? Both Murari and my toddler Vibhavari, 2 years old, had a gala time decorating the cart. They were excited to help pass the tape and scissors and flower petals. We offered the Lord’s favorite Kaja, sang and danced while pulling the Ratha outside our home. It’s one of the fun activities we did during the pandemic! – Nityakishori Dasi

2. Bathing and Dressing Your Deities

My 6-year-old daughter, Ambika, loves to bathe and dress our small Laddhu-Gopal deity. She feels very motherly towards Him, and is always concerned with whether He needs a change of clothes, fresh water or a flower. She polishes him with a Tilak/lemon juice mixture, bathes Him in water, and picks out new outfits and jewelry. My 2-year-old son Nakula wants to get involved as well, so I help him bathe our Nrsimha and Prahlad deities. It’s a very simple, peaceful and grounding activity that keeps them connected to Krsna. – Manjari Smullen

3. Cooking for Krishna

Ever since my boys were 4 and 2, more than a decade ago, they were my companions in the kitchen. Their “TV time” consisted primarily of reruns of Kuma’s Cooking Show. They began even instructing me – “Mommy, you’re not supposed to cut the cauliflower like that. Kurma Prabhu says take it apart with your fingers – don’t cut it all the way through!”

While I was at school, I depended on them for meals once a week to save some of my time for work. During COVID, they’ve begun cooking twice weekly. Ekadasis are the responsibility of Vraja Kishor, 18, with mashed potatoes, broccoli, tomato carrot soup, and sabudana khichadi. Nitai, 16, has mastered stuffed shells and tacos. 

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