During a study of Africa, bring the continent's culture to life by teaching kids about traditional games and crafts. Fun games help to introduce them to the lifestyle and tradition of the continent. Paper crafts that mimic an authentic African mask and cloth artisans' work help kids understand African culture.
Tradition and poverty force many African kids to work or look after younger family members. Homemade, simple games make up the majority of African kids' games. In Kudoda, a game from Zimbabwe, kids sit in a circle around a bowl containing 20 marbles or small stones. Players take turns tossing a marble in the air while taking as many marbles as possible from the bowl. Players must catch the tossed marble without spilling the bowl. An empty bowl signifies the end of the game. The player with the most marbles wins the game.
Da Ga Game
This active, outdoor game from Ghana and named after the boa constrictor, requires no supplies. A group of 10 to 20 children stands around a circle marked with a stick, spray paint or chalk on the ground. One child steps inside the circle as the head of the snake and tries to tag the players outside the circle. Kids around the outside of the circle dance around it, trying to avoid the snake's touch but must stay within inches of the marked circle. Any child outside the circle who is touched by the snake must join hands with the snake and become part of it. Together, the two hold hands and move around the circle to tag others. Play continues with tagged kids joining the snake until only one person remains outside the circle and wins.
Weaving affords children a simple and versatile African craft traditionally created in the form of specialised cloth called kente and in kufi caps. Colourful strips of sturdy paper, crisscrossed together in an "X" formation and then stapled to a paper hat brim, fashion a suitable kid's kufi cap craft. After drawing geometric shapes and lines on colourful strips of paper, kids weave the paper together and form large pieces of woven paper that mimics kente cloth.
Traditional African mask makers create symmetrical, ornate wooden forms for use in ceremonies and rituals. Kids can recreate a decorative version using a large oval of sturdy paper. Let them use markers, oil pastels, chalk and scissors to make creative human or animal facial features on the oval. Features such as horns or ears created from additional paper and glued on the mask oval provide additional dimension. By cutting half-inch slits in the top and bottom of the oval and then overlapping and securing them with tape, a three-dimensional effect can be achieved. Attached to a piece of cardboard, the mask creates a dimensional wall hanging.