On May 21st, did you know that the world celebrates World Day for Cultural Diversity? When you consider the fact that three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts include a cultural dimension, observing this United Nations-declared holiday comes with special urgency. It challenges us to think of cultural diversity as a driving force for development rather than a flashpoint for conflict. It urges us to explore and celebrate the rich vibrancy of the world’s many cultures.
But how do we teach our kids to be more tolerant of other people, foods, languages, dress, and religious beliefs that may differ from our own? Multicultural crafts can help. Let’s dive into five projects you and your kids will have a blast making. What’s more, they pay tribute to the wonderful differences that make our world so unique and special.
1. Craft Colorful Ghanaian Kente Cloth
Kente cloth dates back nearly 400 years to the Ashanti people of Ghana. According to African legend, the elaborate patterns for the cloth were the idea of two brothers, Kurugu and Ameyaw. One day, they stumbled across a spider weaving an intricate web, and they marveled at its pattern. They returned home and attempted to recreate the pattern in the web by using black and white fibers from a raffia tree. The result? The brothers created the first kente cloth.
Today’s kente cloth is prized for its colorful, elaborate patterns. Once worn only by kings and chiefs, people from all walks of life now wear it to celebrate their African heritage. Learn more about the history and symbolism of kente cloth and get detailed instructions for how to craft your own kid-friendly version.
2. Invite Sweet Dreams with Guatemala Worry Dolls
This is a great craft for kids who fear the dark or have trouble falling to sleep at night, and it’ll teach them about the rich cultural heritage of Guatemala to boot! Known as las muñecas quitapenas in Spanish, worry dolls typically measure no more than a ½ inch to two inches in height. Made from wire and wool, they’re decorated with traditional Mayan fabric dresses.
But the real magic of the dolls comes with sundown. It’s then that Guatemalan children tell their nighttime concerns to their worry dolls before placing them under their pillows. When they go to sleep, legend has it the dolls keep their worries at bay. This craft version is much larger than the original dolls, which means they’re easier for little hands to create and keep. Here’s how to make these precious little ladies.
3. Create a Suspended Chinese Gong
Gongs are percussive instruments used throughout Asia, from the Philippines to Java. Although the word gong has linguistic roots in Java, one of the major manufacturing sites for gongs in the ancient world was China. Today, Chinese gongs get used during important ceremonies and remain a well-recognized facet of local culture.
With a few simple materials including a metal roasting pan, pipe cleaners, and cardboard tubing from wrapping paper, you and your kids can craft your own version of a suspended gong. Get ready for serious fun as you decorate your musical instrument with paint, stickers, glitter and more. Read the full breakdown here, and then let the fun begin!
4. Get Rhythm with Latin American Maracas
Maracas are Latin American percussion instruments similar to rattles. A crucial rhythm-keeper in Caribbean and Latin music, they originated with tribes such as the Tupinamba Indians of Brazil. But other Indian nations used them, too. In fact, ancient maracas have been discovered at pre-Columbian sites from the Andes to present-day Florida.
The original instruments were fashioned using naturally occurring materials such as gourds, pebbles, and feathers. But your kids can craft their own with recycled materials such as toilet paper rolls, water bottles, paper clips, and small erasers. This makes them a great international craft with an eco-friendly edge. Get the full instructions here.
5. Promoting Peace with Tibetan Prayer Flags
Found throughout the Himalayas, Tibetan prayer flags are colorful rectangular pieces of cloth hung along trails and peaks to promote peace. Traditionally, they come in sets of five colors. Arranged from right to left, they represent the five elements and the Five Pure Lights:
Tibetan prayer flags usually carry sacred words or mantras for wisdom, strength, fortune, compassion, or peace. A fundamental part of Buddhism in Tibet, the flags bless the air carrying messages of goodwill all over the world. Check out our kid-friendly craft version with Buddhist prayer flags template. Then, start spreading Tibet’s message of hope, peace, and goodwill, too.
Raise a Global Citizen at Home with Multicultural Crafts
From Tibetan prayer flags for kids to Ghanaian kente cloth, these five multicultural crafts will help you celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity. Which of these global crafts for kids will your family make first?
And once you’ve completed these fun projects, don’t forget to check out our around the world crafts for kids for more ways to explore the globe while getting creative.
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.