Thailand, formerly known as Siam and located along the southeast coast of Asia, is a constitutional monarchy with a predominantly Buddhist population. From the endangered native elephants to the ancient annual festivals, the country's rich heritage provides many inspirations for kids' crafts. Craft projects inspired by Thailand will help a child appreciate and learn more about the faraway country and its culture.
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Elephant Mask Craft
Asian elephants, which have smaller ears than their African counterparts, are a popular symbol for Thailand and its many Buddhist residents. More than just natural wonders in the country, they're also used for transportation and labour. Elephants also represent divine power to the Thai culture and peaceful strength to the Buddhist faith. Kids cut holes for eyes in a paper plate and secure string to each side. To create the face of the elephant, the children colour the mask grey and cut out a trunk and ears from grey construction paper. When the masks are finished, the children can wear them and put on an "elephant parade."
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Floating Lotus Craft
Loy Krathong, or the Floating Lotus festival, is an unofficial Thai holiday celebrated towards the end of the year. People make floating bowls with natural materials and decorations and place candles in the middle of each bowl before setting it afloat on the waterway. Various fortunetelling superstitions surround the lotus bowls and candlelight. For example, the longer the candle stays lit, the better your luck in the coming year. Each child decorates a styrofoam disk with plastic leaves, flowers and assorted decorations to create their own floating lotus. A secure candle sticks from the middle of the decorated disk. When the kids are finished, they can display the decorations or float them in a bathtub.
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Buddhist Mandala Craft
A Buddhist mandala is a colourful, circular design used mainly for meditation. The dominant religion in Thailand, Buddhism may be a religion kids are not familiar with. Take time to explain the main principles of Buddhism, who Buddha was and the use of mandalas to kids before starting the craft. A true mandala is temporary and usually consists of coloured sand. To adapt it to a kid-friendly craft, give each child a piece of white paper with the black outline of a large circle. Have each child use markers, crayons and coloured pencils to create an intricate, geometric design in the circle. Remind kids that they need to create a small, solid centre in the circle and that they can add decorations outside the circle.
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National Flower Craft
The national flower of Thailand is the Ratchaphruek, or "Golden Shower" flower. The delicate flower consists of five small oval yellow petals. Several of the flowers sprout along a single long and thin stem, forming a teardrop shape. The long stems grow from the delicate branches of the "Golden Shower" tree. From a piece of yellow construction paper, the kids cut out the basic flower shape and secure it to a 2-inch long, green chenille stem. Each child can create seven to nine flowers and secure them to a 12-inch long, green chenille stem. The resulting craft resembles a flower-filled Ratchaphruek branch.