South America is a continent full of ancient cultures, beautiful landscapes and vibrant people. When teaching geography, you can supplement your curriculum by introducing crafts and activities that showcase some of South America's cultural and geographical treasures. You'll likely already have many of the supplies for these projects at home and the rest you can buy inexpensively at a craft supply store.
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Quetzal Bird Craft
The Quetzal is a colourful South American bird, native to the Amazon rainforest, that children will love creating out of simple craft materials. Each child needs: one toilet paper tube; green, brown and red construction paper; craft glue; googly eyes; tempera paint and a paintbrush.
The toilet paper tube will be the body of the bird. Paint the tube a bright green. Once the paint is dry, glue an oval of red construction paper to the toilet paper roll. This will be the abdomen of the bird. Cut a circle out of green construction paper and cut around the edge to make it jagged. This will be the bird's head. Glue two googly eyes to the green head circle. Glue an orange triangle to the green head circle. This will be the bird's beak. Glue the green head circle to the body. Cut two large obtuse triangles out of brown construction paper. Glue the triangles to the back of the toilet paper roll opposite of the red oval. These will be the Quetzal's wings.
Day of the Dead Mask
The Day of the Dead is a Latin American holiday that honours ancestors and loved ones who have passed on. Day of the Dead celebrations, such as parades, are festooned with skulls and skeletons. To help teach children about this important holiday, show them how to make their own Day of the Dead masks.
To make a typical skeleton mask, draw two circles onto a paper plate, one larger than the other. The larger circle will be the top of the skull and should be around 4 inches in diameter. The smaller circle will be the mouth and should be around 2 inches in diameter. Colour the area outside of the circles with markers or crayons. Inside the larger circle, draw two eye holes and two nostril holes. In the smaller circle, draw teeth. Cut out the eye and nose holes with scissors. Punch a hole on either side of the paper plate and string a piece of yarn or twine through the holes in order to wear the mask.
Chilean people have used rainsticks for thousands of years during rituals and celebrations. When turned from side to side, a rainstick makes a sound that resembles rain falling on the ground. Children can recreate a Chilean rainstick with a paper towel tube, dried beans, markers, crayons, aluminium foil, two rubber bands and waxed paper. Crunch up a 12-inch piece of aluminium foil and stick it inside the paper tube. Place a piece of waxed paper on one end and secure it with a rubber band. Pour 1/2 cup of dried beans inside the tube and cap the other end with waxed paper and a rubber band. Colour the outside of the rainstick and turn it from side to side to hear the sound.
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