Introducing kids to different cultures can sometimes be a bit of a daunting process. It begs the question of where do I start? And the mountain of ‘what-ifs’ start to pile up. When it comes to children, you can never go wrong with making things fun. African games are a great way to teach kids about Africa without overwhelming them with information.
When learning is fun it sets the stage for children to engage, take risks, and retain information because they now associate this game as a fun memory. The experience becomes enjoyable, especially when a connection is made to the child’s life, interests, and experiences.
Here are a few African games that we think will be fun for the kids ...
Playing the Drums
Children love sounds, but that love stretches even more when they’re the ones creating it. Drums are a great way for both of you to make sounds together. African drums have always been and continue to be the heartbeat of so many African communities. For generations this instrument has been used to commemorate celebrations. It has also been used to signify a looming war. The African drum is the cornerstone of Africa’s history and culture.
Balancing Items on Your Head
Balancing items on your head is an art. You can make it fun by taking turns to see who can balance a plastic bowl on their head the longest while walking! For centuries African people have been carrying items on their head as they work or travel. It’s absolutely astonishing how they balance these sometimes very heavy items with some much grace and poise.
African-Themed Activity Book
An African-themed book is a great way for the child to learn while still having fun. They are filled with so many interactive activities such as word searches, puzzles, colouring, mazes and so much more. Our very own Ekiuwa Aire has created Activity books based on her books Idia and Benin Kingdom and Njinga of Ndongo and Matamba.
Puzzles are a great way to teach children about African landscapes and the native animals to the continent. Also, it makes for a great bonding activity. Some of the benefits of puzzles include concentration, problem solving skills, hand & eye coordination, and topic-specific knowledge.
Singing Aloud and Dancing
Both singing and dancing are etched into the fabric of African culture. It’s a social activity. African singers are known for using a vast array of sounds in their music such as whispers, hums, grunts, and more. Traditional African songs often take a more collaborative approach and require cooperation between the singers. African dancing is all about the rhythmic body movements - it tells a story. Here’s some videos I’ve come across that will help you and the little one learn more about African singing and dance. Have fun with it, make it into a game to see who can remember the most dance moves or songs.
- Teaching Kids - African Dance in 5 Mins!
- Drumming Workshop for Kids: Learn African Dance Steps to "A Lion Has a Tail"