This time of year is full of all types of celebrations. Kwanzaa is one of the many that kids and families can learn about and take part in. If you’re not familiar with it or need some inspiration on how to celebrate, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s get started!
What is Kwanzaa?
Kwanzaa takes place from December 26-January 1st each year. It’s a weeklong celebration held in the United States to honor African heritage.
Compared to other holidays that have been around for centuries, this one is fairly new. It was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Africana Studies at California State University. He created it in response to the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965. The goal was to bring the African-American community together.
There are seven guiding principles that Kwanzaa is based on, each representing the seven values of African culture. They are:
Umoja- This means unity in Swahili
Kujichagulia or self-determination
Ujima which refers to uplifting your community
Ujamaa which refers to cooperative economics
Nia or purpose
Kuumba which is creativity
Imani or faith
Candles are lit during each day of Kwanzaa with gifts being exchanged at the end. On the sixth day, which is New Year’s Eve, a feast is held. It’s referred to as the Karamu. Decorations include red, green, and black. Usually, before and after the feast an informative and entertaining program is presented.
Kwanzaa Celebration Activities
There are many fun activities that kids can take part in to celebrate Kwanzaa. Many of them are good for children of all age groups.
Make a flag
Small children can make a flag using the colors associated with Kwanzaa which are red, green, black. You can use different colored construction paper or have kids paint the colors on a white piece of paper. Either way, it can be displayed for all to see when it’s done.
Make a paper Kinara
The Kinara is the candle holder that is used at Kwanzaa. Since little kids are too young to light actual candles, they can make a paper version.
Take 7 empty toilet paper rolls. Wrap three of them with red paper, three with green, and one with black. Kids can then make flames from yellow and orange tissue paper and glue them to the top of their “candles”. They can be displayed in a basket on a table. This way they can feel like they are lighting the candles too.
Make colorful beads
You can also make necklaces and bracelets for Kwanzaa using red, green, and black colors. This is a fun activity that kids will love to do.
Drumming is a part of the Kwanzaa celebration. Kids can drum on anything to get the beat. There are also shakers known as kosika and the rainstick. Any of these instruments can be fun for kids to play with as they learn about Kwanzaa and the African culture.
Kids can also learn Swahili during Kwanzaa. It’s a great time to do this. Choose specific words, tell your child their meaning, and have them repeat. Over time, they’ll get to know the language.
At Rock and Roll Daycare, we introduce our students to different cultures all year round using the Montessori Method. Children also have plenty of exposure to music through our Fiddlefox program. If you think this is an environment your child would enjoy and thrive in, contact us today at 857-259-5211 or visit us online.