The many symbols associated with Kenya lend themselves to a variety of craft projects suitable for children of all ages. The bright colours of the Kenyan flag are easily translated to arts and crafts, and Kenya’s famous wild animals are versatile symbols that appeal to children. Also look to the traditional crafts of Kenya’s diverse ethnic groups for inspiration.
Kenyan Flag Box
With a basic wooden box and some paint, children can create a Kenyan flag box with just a little adult supervision. The paintable wooden boxes sold in craft stores are ideal, but any plain wooden box will work. You need black, red, green and white paints. Teach the children what the colours mean symbolically and why they were chosen to represent Kenya: green symbolises the land, black represents the people of Kenya, red symbolises blood shed in the struggle for independence and white means peace. They could paint each side of the box a different colour or paint stripes in the correct order (black at the top, red in the middle and green at the bottom, with narrow white bands in between). The Kenyan flag features a shield and crossed spears in the centre. Older children can copy this emblem onto their box and paint it; younger ones can cut a picture of the shield and glue it onto the box.
Sunset Safari Artwork
Kenya is a popular safari destination that is home to many animals that children may be familiar with. For a simple but effective picture of a safari scene, children can paint a “sunset” backdrop, then glue on animal silhouettes cut from black construction paper. The animals will appear to be shadowed by the setting sun. Animal silhouettes are easy for children to make as they are just outlines without any detail. They can draw the animal shapes freehand, or trace around photos or pictures from books, copy the outline onto black paper and cut out the shapes. Elephants, giraffes, rhinos, ostriches, monkeys and lions are all appropriate, and a baobab tree silhouette adds to the scene. To make the sunset background, take a piece of paper and dampen it all over with water and a paintbrush. Choose either a red or blue sunset, and start at the top with a horizontal stripe of a darker shade. Make adjacent horizontal stripes using increasingly lighter shades. Because the paper is wet, the different shades will blend together where they meet. When the paint is dry, arrange the animal shapes on the background and glue them in place.
The Maasai people are a traditional ethnic group of Kenya. They are known for their elaborate and colourful beadwork. Study some pictures of Maasai people and you will see examples of beaded necklaces and other adornments, each with its own symbolic meaning. Maasai beadwork ranges from simple to highly detailed, but there are general characteristics common to all skill levels, such as the use of multiple bold colours, geometric patterns and the common use of many tiny beads. Purchase a bag of brightly coloured plastic beads, take a needle and thread and create your own version of Maasai beadwork. Smaller children should use larger beads and a plastic needle to make the work easier and safer. Make a necklace, bracelet or anklet, or make multiple strands of slightly different lengths and wear them all at once for a layered look.