Guatemala is one of the seven nations of Central America. The people of Guatemala have a rich tradition and culture dating to the Mayan civilization as far back as 300 A.D. Guatemalans are known for their colorful handwoven textiles, clothing and crafts. Children can explore the rich culture of Guatemala through hands-on crafts.
Legends of Guatemala claim that if a child tells her worries to dolls and puts them under her pillow, the dolls will take her worries away. To make a Guatemalan worry doll, cut the head off two kitchen matches and attach one to each side of a flat slotted clothespin using a glue gun to form the doll's arms. Using a glue gun, attach embroidery floss to the back of the neck of the doll, and wrap the floss around the neck and over the top of the matches to form shoulders. Continue wrapping the floss, going under the matchsticks until the bottom is reached. Cut the floss and secure the end with a glue gun. Wrap both arms with floss and secure with glue. Use a marker to draw a face and attach hair to the top with glue.
During the week of Easter, children and adults celebrate by throwing colorful, hollow eggs. Make a small hole in the end of the shell of raw egg and remove the contents. Rinse and store upside down until dry. Fill the eggs with glitter, stickers, confetti or other small treats. Glue a small piece of tissue paper over the hole. Children can smash the eggs open to receive the treat.
Quetzal Bird Craft
The quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala. The feathers of the bird were viewed as symbols of wealth and status by the Aztec and Mayan people. Children can make a quetzal with a toilet paper roll. Color a toilet paper roll to be the body of the bird. Draw, color and cut out a bird face and wings, and attach them to the toilet paper roll. Attach feathers purchased at a craft store to the back for tail feathers.
Mayan Pottery Figures
The Mayan people made pottery figures for use in ceremonies. The figures were small and very detailed, and sometimes rattled or whistled. Children can make their own Mayan figures by molding clay. Once the clay has dried, the children can paint their clay figures.