One of the best ways to learn about another culture is by making crafts. From decorations to games to traditional arts, crafts can be fun and educational. These types of activities encourage further discussion and learning opportunities.
As a supplement to the information presented by the media, crafts from Africa are a great way to learn about the culture. Nigerian culture is rich in history.
Make Nigerian Christmas Palm Leaves
Palm leaves are used by Nigerians to decorate their homes during the holidays. The palm leaves are a symbol of peace. To make a traditional Nigerian palm leaf decoration, you need green and red construction paper and pipe cleaners. You also need a marker, glue and scissors.
Fold the green piece of construction paper in half. Draw a half oval onto the paper with the fold side down. Hold the fold side and cut along the drawing. Still holding the fold side, cut the opposite edge of the paper every 1/4 inch to make a fringe. Unfold the paper. Glue the pipe cleaner in the fold to make the stem. Paste the leaves onto the red construction paper. Use the marker to add "Eku Odun Ebi Jesu!"---the words for Merry Christmas in Yoruba, Nigeria's language.
Make and Play the Ayo Game
Ayo is a traditional two-player Nigerian board game. Make your own Ayo board using an empty egg carton or a dozen little containers. You need 12 cups to play the game. You also need two larger containers to hold your winnings, also known as "the bank." You can decorate your game board or containers to personalise the game. Game boards can also be made of wood with the cups carved out. In that case, there is a large cup for the bank at each end of the piece of wood and twelve smaller cups in between. Finally, you need 48 small seeds, beads, stones, marbles, beans or other round objects.
Sit at each end of the board. Put four seeds into each of the 12 cups. Each player has six cups that are on his respective end of the game board. The starting player chooses a cup and takes all the seeds from that cup. The player then plants one seed in each cup going counter clockwise around the board. If the last seed is put into the opponent's cup, that player takes all of the seeds from that cup and adds them to the bank. The game continues with the next player choosing a cup and repeating the process until game play stops. The player with the most seeds in the bank wins the game.
Make Adire Cloth
Adire cloth is the traditional cloth Nigerians use for clothing. The pattern on the cloth is created in the same manner as tie-dye. Traditionally, the patterns are white and the fabric is dyed using indigo to create a dark blue colour. The pattern is created using a paste that is applied before the dyeing process begins.
Make a paste from a half cup of flour, a half cup of water and a teaspoon of alum. For best pattern making results, put the paste into a plastic squeeze bottle. You can recycle a mustard bottle for this purpose.
Take a large piece of white cotton cloth and use the paste to divide it into squares. Make designs in the squares. Traditionally the designs are geometric patterns or items from nature.
Mix a batch of navy blue dye according to the package directions. While wearing rubber gloves, dip the cotton cloth into the dye for a moment. Remove excess liquid by placing the cloth between newspapers or paper towels. Let the cloth dry completely. Remove the paste from the cloth using your fingernails.
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