Sudan, the largest country in Africa and having more than 300 tribes, embodies diversity when it comes to art. Its souks or markets are lined with colorful handicrafts: anything from beads made of glass to printed bright cotton wraps. African handcrafted materials are not only enjoyable for kids to make, but they will also help them learn and appreciate significant contributions of a rich culture such as that of Sudan.
These richly colored cloths with interesting patterns were known to have been introduced in western Sudan. The colors red, blue, green, black and gold represent different things like life and blood, innocence, Mother Africa or Mother Earth, people and unity, and strength and fortune. Kids can choose a high quality paper for their version of the Kente cloth on paper. Design geometric patterns of diamonds, triangles and squares on the paper strips. Then paint patterns with the colors that symbolize the African culture. Once the paint is dry, outline the shapes with a black marker, so it is very important to keep the colors clean to keep the borders well-defined. Kids can then display their version of the Kente cloth on a bulletin board along with information about its origin.
African Sand Paper Art
The product of some very simple crafts can turn out to be unique pieces. An example is sand paper art where all that kids will need are a piece of coarse sand paper and ordinary crayons for their own petroglyph (cave drawing). This kind of craft is meant to look elemental because that’s how cave drawings looked like, so choose the most basic drawings. Kids can choose to draw animals like a giraffe, lion, elephant and rhino. All they need to do is to press their crayons hard on the sand paper to make that petroglyphic impression.
Coffee Can Drum
All around the world, drums are used in different cultures for ceremonies and various tribal and even modern practices. The hundreds of tribes in Sudan also use drums during their festivities. Here is an easy yet interesting way to create a drum. Kids can simply reach out for materials at home like an empty coffee can with plastic lid, construction paper, glue, scissors, sticks that they can just pick up from their backyard, string, beads and other scrap materials they might want to use to decorate their drum. The first thing to do is cover the can with construction paper then decorate it or draw animal designs on it. The lid will serve as the drum head, and with the drumstick they got from their own backyard, kids are ready to drum away.
African Paper Plate Mask
Masks are one of the most versatile and fun things to create. To create a paper plate mask, kids need newspaper, a hole punch, beads, white glue, poster paint, paintbrush, colored pasta, eight pipe cleaners, craft knife and a paper plate. Punch eight holes on the top half of the paper plate then draw and cut out a pair of eye holes. Using strips of newspapers, create a nose and mouth by twisting them then attach them to the paper plate using glue. When the glue is dry, paint the mask with brown poster paint and decorate it with common African designs. String colored pasta and beads through each pipe cleaner and seal the end by folding down the tip. Attach the pipe cleaners to the eight holes on top of the plate. With this masterpiece, the kids are ready to parade in their African mask.
Based in North Carolina, Samuel Delarosa has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work as has been published in “Roots and Wings,” a Filipino magazine circulated in Europe. Writing is his passion and he dedicates his time to this pursuit by writing on various topics online. Delarosa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the University of the East.