Did you know that April 21st marks World Creativity and Innovation Day? This United Nations-declared holiday falls just six days after Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday and one day prior to International Mother Earth Day. As the name suggests, it recognizes what UNESCO has declared the true “wealth of nations” in the 21st century — human creativity and innovation.
There’s no better way to celebrate this event with your kids than by creating international crafts inspired by cultures found all over the globe. Check out these five around the world crafts that pay tribute to diverse peoples and cultures.
1. Celebrate Children’s Day with Koinobori Flags
The Japanese celebrate Children’s Day (a.k.a. the Feast of Banners) every May 5th. A celebration of the happiness personified by children, the holiday also honors and expresses gratitude towards mothers. Families traditionally eat mochi rice cakes wrapped in kashiwa (oak) leaves and chimaki, sweet rice paste wrapped in iris or bamboo leaves.
One of the most emblematic parts of the festival remains the koinobori flags (resembling carp windsocks) that fly throughout the day. In Japanese mythology, the carp symbolizes strength and courage because of its mythic ability to swim up waterfalls. Find out more about this holiday’s origins as Boys’ Day and learn how to make your own koinobori flags.
2. Get Rhythm with Aboriginal Bilma
What are bilma? Aboriginal rhythm sticks from Australia. When beaten together at ceremonies, these clapsticks keep rhythm during voice chants. You and your kids can make your own bilma complete with distinctive dot-patterned Aboriginal artwork.
To get started, you’ll need circular pieces of wood (like drumsticks) that measure between six and eight inches in length. You’ll also need sandpaper, craft paint, Q-tips (to create the dots), textured fabric paint (for intricate designs), and clear lacquer. Before you know it, you and your kids will be banging out your own fun rhythms. Get detailed instructions for assembling your own Aboriginal bilma and let the creativity and innovation begin!
3. Learn About the Spirits of the Land
In the Native American Hopi culture, Kachina Dolls were given to children during the Spring Bean planting ceremony. These dolls taught children about the different spirits of the land and blessed their homes. Over the years, children could collect upwards of 400 different dolls including those representing the spirits of the butterfly, sun, rain, bumblebee, and more.
Still gifted to Hopi girls today, Kachina dolls remain a vital aspect of the Hopi culture. While many culturally significant items such as masks are not permitted outside of the nation, these dolls can be freely shared with others. This makes them a great craft for you and your kids. Get the full instructions.
4. Create Your Own DIY Lucky Dragons
A symbol of China, the dragon features prominently in Chinese New Year celebrations. In fact, the iconic Chinese Dragon Dance is believed to bring good luck to people. The longer the dragon, the more prosperity the community will enjoy. So, why not bring a little of that luck into your own house by making miniature Chinese paper dragons?
Better yet, you’ve probably got most of these supplies sitting around your house. You’ll need construction paper, feathers, sequins, glue, popsicle sticks, and kid-friendly scissors. A little cutting, folding, and gluing later, you’ll have auspicious dragons to decorate your home. Find out more about how to make your own.
5. Invite Spring Showers with a Mapuche-Inspired Rain Stick
Today, rain sticks are found throughout South and Central America as well as the American Southwest. But researchers believe they originated with the Mapuches, an indigenous group native to southern Chile and Argentina including Patagonia. Rain sticks feature long, hollow tubes partially filled with beans or small pebbles. The inside of each tube is filled with thorns or small pins. When the pebbles or beans pass over this inner texturing, it creates a sound like falling water.
Kids love playing with rain sticks, and their soothing sounds please parents, too. Fortunately, you can make your own affordable versions using simple materials found around the house such as gift wrap tubes, packing tape, and pinto beans. Read on for a full breakdown of this fun, engaging craft.
Around the World Crafts for Multicultural Kids
From Japanese-style koinobori flags to Australian Aboriginal bilma, these five global crafts for kids will help you and your kids celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day in multicultural fashion. Which of these around the world crafts will your family make first?
At Our Whole Village, we craft transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for curious families just like yours.