At this point it is seeming that this lockdown is never going to end. Especially for us here in Canada. As a parent, relative, teacher, caregiver, you’re probably running out of activities to do with the children as well. African crafts can be a great way to immerse your little ones into the rich culture and history of Africa.
We promise this won’t inundate them with too much information. Don’t forget that there are many benefits of arts & crafts for children such as boosting self-esteem, promoting innovation and creativity, developing fine motor skills, improving hand and eye coordination, and encouraging self expression - just to name a few.
To help you along we’ve compiled a list of some fun African crafts that you can do with kids.
1. African Masks
African masks are such an important part of African culture especially in the Sub-Saharan region. The masks are an important part of African tribal culture and are often used during rituals and ceremonies to signify an important occasion like seeking council in times of war and peace, good harvest, spiritual awareness, and more. With a paper plate, paint, paint brush, scissors, newspapers, glue, and paper - kids can make their own!
First Palette has put together a great guide on how kids can create their own how masks here.
2. Calabash Bowls
A calabash is the hard shell of a fruit from the Calabash tree. It is also known as long melon, bottle gourd, New Guinea bean, and Tasmania bean. Once the fruit is dry and hollow it is used for sharing and serving food, containers, musical instruments such as the flute, harp and rattle just to name a few. There’s a few ways to make a DIY calabash from home. Here’s a simple way we found on Crayola’s website.
3. African Shields
African shields have been used by warriors some of the uses have been as a means of protection during combat and cattle raids. The significance of the shields is yielded in how it is decorated; this shows the rank and status of the carrier. Kids can create their own make believe shields with this DIY African shield from Art Club Blog.
There are 54 countries in the continent of Africa and with each country there is a distinct flag. You can encourage kids to choose a country in Africa to explore. To make it fun you can either print out a template or get them to draw the flag of their choosing, as best they can. With these activities they can learn about colour theory and gain more knowledge about African countries. Here are some templates from Free Printable Flags to get you started.
5. African Rainstick
If you’ve ever heard the sound of a rainstick a child you know how soothing that sound can be. A rainstick is a hollow musical instrument traditionally made of wood. Rainsticks originate from Africa, but they have been used in regions all over the world. Here’s a short video by Antoinette Emily that takes you through steps on how to make one.
6. Vision Necklace
Try making a vision necklace where every colour on the necklace represents something. Look on the colour wheel and design a necklace that represents who you are and what you hope to be.
Credit: Reflective Pages