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Project of the Month ~ Kwanzaa Crafts for Children

(FeatureSource) Extend the holiday season for your children by introducing them to the African-American cultural celebration of Kwanzaa. This seven-day holiday is based on the traditional African winter harvest festival and begins the day after Christmas. Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate life, heritage and values. Here are a few crafts ideas from Trish Kuffner, author of "The Busy Book" series (Meadowbrook Press, $9.95; www.meadowbrookpress.com), to help your child learn more about this holiday's customs.

Pasta Necklace from The Toddler's Busy Book

This project offers a creative way to teach your child about the traditional colors of Kwanzaa. Black represents the people, red symbolizes their struggle and green stands for hope. Paint ziti noodles with black, red and green tempura paint. Allow to dry. Spray with clear acrylic spray if you like. Give your child a shoelace (or a piece of ribbon, yarn, or thin elastic cord) with a piece of masking tape wrapped around one end. Show him how to thread it through the noodles to make a colorful necklace.

Napkin Rings from The Arts and Crafts Busy Book

Ears of corn are another important symbol of Kwanzaa used to represent children and hope for the future. Cut an empty paper towel roll into 1-inch sections. In separate containers, mix black, red and green paint with white glue. Have your child paint each section and roll them in popcorn kernels. Once they are dry, insert a napkin and set the table for a Kwanzaa feast.

Woven Mat from The Preschooler's Busy Book

It is custom to place the traditional Kwanzaa symbols on a woven mat. To make one for your table, fold a piece of black construction paper in half to make a frame for the mat. Show your child how to cut from the folded edge to within one inch of the opposite side Make an even number of cuts about one inch apart across the entire width of the paper; unfold. Cut 1-inch strips of red and green construction paper the length of the frame's width or slightly longer. Show your child how to weave the red and green strips over and under the cuts in the frame. Use glue or a stapler to secure the strips in place along the edge of the frame.

Each book in Trish Kuffner's "Busy Book" series (Meadowbrook Press) contains 365 arts and crafts projects to stimulate a child's creativity.

Author: FeatureSource Staff

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