Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration that takes one week in the United States and is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st. The purpose of the celebrations is to honor African American culture in the U.S. At the end of the celebrations, a karamu (party) is held, marked by many gifts and massive feasts.
Its founder, Maulana Karenga, had the idea that they were trying to come up with an alternative Christmas celebration unique to African Americans. Compared to other celebrations in the U.S, the holiday is relatively new. The celebration has some core principles that include: Unity, Self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, and creativity. Each age set has its activities. In this article, we shall discuss the 15 awesome Kwanzaa activities that kids can engage in.
15. Make Kwanzaa Flag Celebration
Each African country has a unique colorful flag you can teach your kid to make. The exercise helps in connecting the children to African heritage. They help the child choose a black nation to identify with and teach the kid about the geography of the African nations. Making the Kwanzaa flag only requires the presence of a pencil, markers, and white cardstock, preferably cut into 8.5 square inches. You make it by folding the cardstock into half, using the pencil to sketch a flag of choice then coloring the flag with markers of your choice. To make it more meaningful, you can embed a message of love on each flag.
14. Learn and Draw Kwanzaa Symbols
There are primary symbols of the Kwanzaa, which kids can engage in drawing them. As they draw, it helps impound the imagery meaning of the Kwanzaa celebrations. There are seven symbols, each symbolizing a specific principle. They include the seven candles (Mishumaa saba), the candle holder (Kinara), Unity cup (Kikombe cha Umoja), placement (mkeka), corn(mahindi), gifts (Zawadi), and crops (mazao). By letting your kid draw/learn the symbols, you are helping them understand and experience the cultural value of the celebration firsthand. These symbols are also available in the Kwanzaa videos and books.
13. Make a Kwanzaa Candle Stick Craft
Kids like making crafts where they have room to add their innovative features. The Kwanzaa Stick Craft is made from acrylic paint and simple materials. To make the craft, one would require a ruler, pencil, brush paints (5 Pack), acrylic paint jars, 24 assorted colors, and two pieces of white cardstock. The Craft Project Ideas gives a detailed nine step-procedure on how to make the Candle Stick Craft. One should make it before the celebrations start because it is suitable for acting as an interior decoration.
12. Kwanzaa Coloring Page
Your child can draw all the unique items used during the Kwanzaa celebrations on one page. It is the most uncomplicated activity to undertake. They only need to carry a memory of the activity they have seen and put it on paper. If they forget very fast, you can assist them by taking photos of each occurrence, and then by referring to the digital images, they can now draw all of them on the page.
To make it more attractive, guide your kid in selecting the appropriate color. At the center of the paper, you can have a special message written on it. Some of the items you can draw are the unity cup, gifts (Zawadi), ears of corn, Mishumaa saba, Mkeka (Kwanzaa mat), and Mazao (fruits), among others. It is advisable that the kid only chooses one item. Your kid only needs a pencil, drawing paper, and appropriate colors.
11. Make a Paper Plate Kwanzaa Kinara (Candle holder) & Mishumaa Saba (7 candles)
As it is named, it consists of seven candles: one black candle represents the people and unity, usually placed at the center of the Kinara. Then three red candles represent the struggle of the African Americans, and then there are three more green candles that symbolize the future and hope that comes from the struggle. The candles are stuck on a plate in perfect order and placed on vendors or places where people have assembled to celebrate Kwanzaa. To make them, you only need to have craft sticks and a paper plate on which you put them. It is a simple exercise that only involves putting the candles in the required order. Parents must be close when the kids are lighting them to ensure that they do not inflict any heat injuries on them,
10. Watching an Educational Kwanzaa Video
Those who are not interested in reading about Kwanzaa culture can engage their kids by watching Kwanzaa videos. They give a detailed account of the Kwanzaa culture by helping kids to understand the symbols, values, and significance of the prominent African-Americans. The video also explains to the viewers how to celebrate Kwanzaa. The Video on YouTube carries a heavy pictorial explanation of each Kwanzaa celebration. It is coated with the African dialect, which makes it more exciting and entertaining to watch. It carries itself with the benefit of reaching a large audience in a given time compared to books and storytelling.
9. Make a Kwanzaa Gift Pouch
Like any other celebration, you need a holiday pouch to hold your money, gift cards, or any tiny treasure for yourself or someone whom you treasure. It is appropriate for kids in elementary schools, but the ones in preschools can be guided by their parents. To make a Kwanzaa gift pouch, you will need a permanent fabric adhesive, dimensional fabric paint, gold metallics, needle, thread, felt squares (black, green, and red), scissors, sewing pins, and paper towels. The Free Kids Crafts gives a detailed six-step for making this fine art. It also helps remind people of the importance of the celebrations by using the dominant colors.
8. Make a Kwanzaa Necklace Craft
Kids are great lovers of crafts that they can wear on their bodies. For kids in both preschool and elementary levels, the Kwanzaa Necklace Craft is one of the perfect wears they can make for themselves. It can be done at home or incorporated into the schooling craft curriculum. Its making is simple because it uses readily available materials such as pencils, recycled paper towel rolls, recycled toilet paper rolls, craft knives, and paper straws. It also helps kids become environmentally conscious by using recycled material. The simple procedure for making these necklaces is carefully explained in Crafting a Fun Life.
7. Make a Paper Chain Craft
There is gifting and feasting when the Kwanzaa celebrations are coming to an end. As you wait for this to happen, you can use red, green, and black construction paper to make a paper chain craft. It forms one of the most colorful gits your kid can make and give to your visiting family members. To make it more attractive, you can use a mixture of the celebration’s flag colors other than the ones mentioned above. Besides making a good gift, it also helps in teaching kids the cultural value of the ceremony. For you to make them, you should require the construction papers, scissors, glue stick, magazines, and black marker, and then follow the four-step procedure detailed in the Free Kids Crafts.
6. Make a Kinara with Construction Paper
Each principle of the Kwanzaa principles can easily be embedded in a Kinara Construction paper. They are paper candles used to reinforce learning of the purposes of the celebration. You can easily guide young elementary children to make one using Crayola construction paper, Crayola scissors, cotton balls, Crayola markers, and c Crayola no-run school glue. The procedure of making a Kinara Construction paper is a simple four steps which have been detailed in the Crayola.com.
5. Read a Favorite Kwanzaa Story
The Kwanzaa celebration is made of stories of the past African culture. Different authors have brought the collection of these stories into different books. They are helpful in the sense that they are simple and can be read by kids in elementary schools. Parents not conversant with the celebration will give them a good storyline for their young ones. The books can be read by a single kid or by a group of children seated outdoors, and each may choose to read a part of the books loudly to the others. Some books are The Mitten, The Little Red Riding Hood, The Midnight Fair, and A first book of the Sea, among others.
4. Sing A Kwanzaa Song
A Kwanzaa song is an excellent way of teaching the children about the traditional colors of the celebrations and the ritual involved every seven days. Studies have proven that songs are one of the most effective ways of teaching, and when they are incorporated into the celebrations, they help the children teach their memories. Songs help break monotony during the celebrations. They also allow kids to interact freely with their colleagues as they dance. Your kid can get the famous Kiboomers Preschool Songs and Nursery Rhymes for Holidays on YouTube.
3. Make a Harambee Greeting Card
One of the essential parts of the Kwanzaa celebrations is unity and interaction. For these principles to stand, people must talk to each other. There is the belief that greetings are the way of initiating conversations among African Americans. The Harambee Greeting Card teaches children a traditional Kwanzaa greeting, Habari Gani. One can cut sections of each card into pieces, and they are turned into beautiful cards for gifting.
2. Make a Kid-Friendly Egg Carton Kinara
During Kwanzaa celebrations, seven candles are held uniquely, each representing one of each pillar of the Kwanzaa traditions. The cables are arranged uniquely, each with a different color representing the Bendera (African flag). To minimize the danger of kids getting burnt when making them, you can use yellow paper cutting to represent the flame part of the flag.
1. Play Kwanzaa Bingo
This is one of the most uncomplicated games in which you can get your elementary kids to get engaged. To make the game more entertaining, pick your group and play by observing your crowd and marking that the space you see has a corresponding item. The game helps teach kids how to emulate patterns. Kwanzaa Bingo Cards and Markers include 18 game cards, 18 perforated marker sheets, a perforated call sheet, and game instructions. One can buy the cards online, or you can guide your kid in making them.
What are the Benefits of Kwanzaa Celebrations?
Kwanzaa celebrations serve as a reminder to the great American population, especially the African American population, that there was a series of struggles before they got where they are. Like many other celebrations, the Kwanzaa celebrations are appropriate for teaching children their connection to history, how to appreciate their ancestors, and more importantly, it gives families an opportunity to meet and celebrate together.
Next time you’re in the US during the time of celebrations, take advantage of it. Take your kids to interact with others and learn about the African American culture. Those in the tourism industry should take advantage of these celebrations and export them to other parts of the world as has happened with the other celebrations. It also allows families to bond as they share a feast and, in addition, honor their ancestors.