Peru has a long, colourful, rich history that dates back thousands of years. Children will learn about the history and culture of this South American nation while making Peruvian crafts, and since they are quite colourful, these crafts are appealing for even younger children.
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Peruvian bead necklaces
Beads from Peru are often made using natural materials like clay, stone, and nuts. They are sometimes quite large and coloured with Inca colours and patterns. Use polymer clay, which air-dries within 24 hours, o form the beads. The beads are rolled into balls, tubes, or any other shape. Make holes for threading beads with a skewer before the clay dries. Once the beads are dry, they are painted in bright colours. Acrylic paint works well on polymer clay. Tempera paint and watercolours are other good options. Get a variety that is fast-drying and non-toxic. It should only take a few minutes for the paint to dry. Show your children pictures of Inca art to give them some creative inspiration. When the beads are finished, string them on thread. Make the thread long enough to slip over your child's head and tie the ends together.
/Assist younger children in making polymer clay beads or buy some Peruvian beads. These beads come in a variety of sizes, usually about 2.5 cm (1 inch) long, and have large holes, making them easy for little fingers to handle. The beads are strung by the children in any pattern they want, and then you can help them tie the finished necklace.
The Incas used golden masks for ceremonies and religious activities. Make masks with your children using cardboard (from recycled boxes) and gold foil or gold paint (as long as the cardboard is not waxed). Tempera paint works well with cardboard and even comes in a washable variety. Trace a mask the size of your child's face on the cardboard and draw spots for eye holes. For younger children, you should do the cutting. Your child can then glue the foil on the mask (or paint the cardboard). Add gold tassels, beads, sequins, and strips of fabric to make the mask individual. Look at pictures of Inca masks to get inspiration.
Peru is known for the wool and yarn from the alpacas they keep dyed in bright colours. Children can then use the yarn to make different bracelets. Cut the yarn into equal pieces about 30 cm (1 foot) long. Use Kool-Aid to dye the yarn. Put the yarn in a microwave safe dish and add Kool-Aid (no sugar) and enough water to cover. Cook the yarn at two-minute intervals. As the yarn absorbs the colour, the water will become clearer. When the yarn has cooled, wash and dry it. To help the yarn dry, blot it with a towel or paper towel. Hang it to dry in a well-ventilated area for 30 to 60 minutes. Your child then braids the pieces of yarn together to make friendship bracelets for her friends.
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