Jamaica is an island nation rich in history and culture. From white, sandy beaches to the complex religious and philosophical beliefs of Rastafari, there is much to learn about this exceptional island. Teaching children about the beauty, history and culture of this island nation can be fun when you include a few hands-on activities.
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Jamaican Flag Crafts
The Jamaican flag's colours are gold, black and green. The gold part of the design is a diagonal cross that creates four triangles, two green and two black. According to the Jamaica Information Service, the gold colour represents the sun and the wealth of natural resources Jamaica possesses, the green represents agricultural wealth and hope, and the black represents the strength and determination of Jamaica's people.
There are several children's crafts to help them learn about the Jamaican flag. Dye pasta to match the colours of the flag and have the children glue the pasta on to a template of the flag, or try a 3-D tissue paper craft. Cut 1 inch squares of black, green and gold tissue paper. Have the children take one square at a time and wrap it around the eraser end of the pencil, then dip the tissue paper covered eraser in glue and place it on a template of the flag in the appropriate area.
Another option is to print out pictures of the Jamaican flag, and cut each one into a puzzle for the children to put back together.
The swallowtail hummingbird, also known as the doctor bird, is the national bird of Jamaica, so hummingbird crafts can also be used to teach children about the culture of Jamaica.
Try having children make hummingbird feeders from milk cartons or making hummingbirds from toilet paper rolls by colouring or painting the toilet paper roll and making wings from tracings of their hands. Add cut-outs for the tails and beaks. For older children, try teaching them how to fold origami hummingbirds.
Rastafari is both a religious belief and a philosophical way of life and is often associated with Jamaica. It is closely associated with the poorer population of Jamaica in particular, as it developed in Kingston, Jamaica, slums in the early 20th century.
The colours red, gold, green and black are all significant to Rastafarian practice. The colour red represents the church and the blood of those martyred in the fight for black freedom. Gold represents the natural wealth of Africa, and green stands for the agricultural wealth and beauty of Ethiopia, much like the colour symbolism of the flag of Jamaica.
Black is often included in Rastafarian symbols to represent the African people. Children can create beaded necklaces using pony beads or other large beads in red, gold, green and black, or make craft foam bracelets wrapped with embroidery thread in these colours.
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