South America is the fourth-largest continent on Earth. Home to 12 countries, the continent is rich with history and culture. This provides a range of ideas and influences for kids’ arts and crafts projects. Each country has its own celebrations, traditions, arts and way of life. Kids will enjoy learning the history, culture and colours of these nations through art.
Carnival is a huge event in Brazil that happens yearly. Kids can learn about the event’s history and costumes by making their own masks. To make the mask, trace the outline of a face on paper, and cut it out. Poke a hole on both sides of the mask by the ears, and tie a string through the holes to hold the mask to the head. Yarn or thick cotton will work. Then decorate the mask. Materials don’t have to be extravagant. Use craft-store supplies such as sequins, glitter, paper and feathers. According to the Busy Bee Kids Crafts website, feathers are interspersed throughout Carnival to pay homage to Brazil’s African ancestry. Put them all around or only on the top of the mask.
The music of maracas can be heard throughout many South American countries. Let kids feel the music by creating their own. You’ll need old plastic or tin containers such as soda cans, small plastic bottles or nut cans. You can also use paper cups by taping them together. Disney Family Fun suggests you partly fill the container "with anything from beans or rice to a walnut or bells.” Be sure to leave a spot for the handle. Ice-pop sticks or wooden sticks from the craft store will work. It’s best if you make the hole in the container for the kids to insert the stick. Decorate the outside with construction paper, coloured paper or pages from colouring books. Kids can also bring in pictures from home.
Teach the history of South American countries by having children learn about their flags. Kids can pick one country or a few, then research the flag and try to duplicate it. Give them construction and copy paper, along with crayons, coloured pencils and markers. Have the kids try to match their version to the real flag as closely as possible. They can also give a presentation on the country. Afterward, hang the flags around the room, or give the kids ice-pop sticks so that they can wave their flags.