3 Crafty Kwanzaa Activities for Kids

April Peveteaux
Big Kid

kwanzaa activities for kidsThe holidays don't stop on December 26! In fact that's the first day of Kwanzaa so get your kids involved in the winter holiday that lasts for seven days, until January 1. But first, you may need to explain to the kids what Kwanzaa is all about since it's a fairly new holiday, started by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 for Africans and African-Americans to celebrate family, community, and culture.

If you celebrate Christmas, explain to your kids that Kwanzaa is a sectarian holiday, so there's no conflict of interest. The word Kwanzaa means "first fruits" in Swahili, which is a nod to harvest. And the seven days of Kwanzaa symbolize the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

But what the kids really need to know is you're celebrating your heritage, your family, and your community. Let the crafts begin!

Make Your Own Kinara

Like most of these winter holidays, candles are involved. The kinara holds seven candles for seven days and the seven principles, and your kiddo can make his own following these very simple steps:

You will need:

6 small cardboard tubes
1 long cardboard tube
Paint in green, red, and black
Yellow tissue paper
PVA (white) glue


Paint 3 of the small tubes in red and the other 3 in green. Paint the long tube black.

When the tubes are dry, glue them side by side so they form a line, the three green ones on one side, the three red on the other, and the black in the center.

Crumple up a sheet of yellow tissue paper and push into the top of each tube so that it looks like flames.

kwanzaa activities for kidsAfrican Drum

This will double as your evening's entertainment as you walk your kids through making their own drum out of a coffee can. It's super easy, and they'll love banging it around way past January 1.

You will need:

Empty coffee can
Glue dots, low temp glue gun, or tacky glue
Vinyl tape
Safari animal stickers
Construction paper
Colored vinyl tape


Cut a piece of yellow construction paper to fit the can. Decorate with vinyl tape and safari animal stickers.

kwanzaa activities for kidsHandprint Wreath

Placing your little one's hands in a circle and decorating with the traditional colors of Kwanzaa = super cuteness.

There are two ways to do this craft. One is to trace the child's hand onto paper and cut out the prints. The second is to make paint handprints on the paper and cut those out.

Make 12 handprints (4 of each color).

Cut out the prints and glue to form a wreath.

One idea is to write the name of a family member or important person on each of the handprints -- if you choose this, you may need more or less than 12 handprints. As you write the names, you can talk about the person. If you have photos, you can also glue a small head shot of each person in the center of the handprint.

Are you celebrating Kwanzaa?


Images (top to bottom): Activity Village, Making Friends, DLTK-Holidays

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