Multicultural Art Projects for Kids

5 Crafts to Celebrate Culture

Teaching kids how to explore and appreciate other cultures is our privilege and responsibility as adults and teachers! Read on to learn about 5 art projects you can do with your students to help them discover other cultures!

The following art projects are designed to get kids thinking about and participating in other cultures. These five crafts will introduce students to cultural art from Japan, Africa, Russia, the Middle East, and New Zealand. We've paired each activity with a printable map from the Super Teacher Worksheets geography collection, so you can use this art project in the context of a geography or social studies lesson, if you choose. And if you do any of these activities with your class, we'd love to hear how it went, so please drop us a line in the comment section below!

Japanese Koinobori ~ Carp Windsock 

This traditional Japanese windsock or kite resembles a carp and is used as a decoration during the months of April and May to celebrate Children's Day. People put up these colorful windsocks outside of their houses to flutter in the breeze. The carp symbolizes courage and strength because carp have to use all their power and energy to swim upstream. Your students will have fun making this colorful craft! 

All you'll need to make a koinobori windsock is a toilet paper tube, construction paper, tissue paper, string, scissorsglue, tape, and a black marker.  

To make this project: 

1) Use scissors to cut out half-moon shapes from construction paper. You can use one color of construction paper or several different colors. These will be the "fish scales."

2) Glue the fish scales onto the tube of toilet paper. 

3) Cut out two circles from white construction paper for the eyes. Glue them onto either side of the tube. Add a pupil in the center of each with a black marker. 

4) Cut strips of tissue paper and glue them to the inside of one end of the tube, allowing them to hang freely as streamers. 

5) Fasten a piece of string to the opposite end of the toilet paper tube with tape. This will be for hanging the windsock.

Whether you'd prefer to hang your student's koinobori windsocks in your classroom or allow your students to take them home to display, we think your whole class will love this project!

You can use the above activity with this Map of Asia from Super Teacher Worksheets so your students can learn where Japan is located in their world. 


African Necklaces ~ Maasai Tribal Jewelry

These elaborate and beautiful necklaces from the Maasai tribe in Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania symbolize important values in their culture. Blue represents energy and the sky. Red represents bravery, strength, and unity. Green represents good health and land. White represents purity. Orange and yellow represent hospitality. And black represents the people. Men, women, and children wear these lovely beaded necklaces. They can tell a lot about a person's social standing, marital status, and age. Your students can decide which colors they'd like to use to make a colorful necklace!

All that's needed for this project is scissors, markers, and paper plates.

To make this project:

1) Decorate the outer rim of a paper plate using markers. 

2) Cut out the circular interior of the paper plate with scissors. 

3) Snip away part of the paper plate rim for the necklace opening. 

Kids can wear their paper plate necklaces like a collar. We bet they'll love these colorful necklaces, and you'll enjoy the hassle-free clean-up!

Why not use this activity with the Super Teacher Worksheets Map of Africa? Your students can locate Kenya and Tanzania, where the Maasai people live. 


Russian Nesting Dolls ~ Matryoshka Dolls

These clever figurines, which are traditionally stacked one inside the other, and so on, are beautiful examples of Russian folk art. A traditional set of Matryoshka dolls would be hand-painted, showing the outermost nesting doll as a woman wearing a sarafan, a Russian peasant dress. The smaller figurines inside could be either girls or boys. Sometimes the very tiniest one would be pictured as a baby. Your students might like making a simpler version of these intricate dolls!

The only materials you'll need for this simple project are regular-sized paper cups, bathroom-sized paper cups, and a black marker

To make this project:

1)  Use a black marker to draw the top-half of a Russian nesting doll shape on a regular-sized paper cup, turned upside down. 

2) Draw the bottom-half of the Russian nesting doll shape on a second regular-sized paper cup, right side up. (You can refer to our picture, or simply use a Russian nesting doll image from the Internet as a guide.)

3) Repeat the first two steps with the smaller, bathroom-sized paper cups. 

Once finished, you can attach a small piece of tape to either side of the paper cups, to keep the tops and bottoms together. Now you can stack the nesting dolls inside each other! 

Try using the Russian nesting doll craft with this Map of Europe from Super Teacher. Your students may be surprised to learn what a big country Russia is! 


Middle Eastern Geometric Tiles 

Middle Eastern art is known for its intricate geometric patterns, often featuring patterns of circles and squares. The patterns commonly begin with a circle, which represents unity and diversity. Middle Eastern tilework decorates important buildings, such as religious shrines, mosques, and tombs. This art project will give students the opportunity to make Middle Eastern-inspired geometric patterns on their own piece of tile. 

For this project, you will need a tile (found at your local hardware store) and permanent markers

To make this project: 

Decorate a tile with geometric patterns using permanent markers. You can find examples of Middle Eastern geometric patterns on the Internet. Or you can make up one of your own. 

This is a super simple project! Depending on the size of the tile, your students can take it home to be used as a trivet or coaster, along with some felt pads for the bottom. 

This Super Teacher Worksheets Map of Asia includes a large portion of the Middle East, so you can use it as a reference point for your students. 


New Zealand Maori Tribal Necklaces

The Maori people are the native Polynesian people of New Zealand. Their culture is interwoven with rich mythology and symbolism. If you were to search the Internet for traditional Maori symbols, you would find many. Some stand for protection, others for love or friendship, and still others for good luck. Your students will love recreating some of these Maori symbols into necklaces!

All you'll need for this fun art project is modeling clay and string or yarn

To make this project: 

Mold the modeling clay into shapes resembling Maori symbols. You can print out some images of these symbols from the Internet for reference. Attach a loop of string or yarn to each symbol once the clay has had time to harden. Your students might like wearing their creations as necklaces or even using them as keychains!

Here's a great Map of Oceania from Super Teacher that might be helpful for you to use with this activity. 


We're pretty sure you and your students are going to have a blast with these multicultural art projects! If you're looking for more geography-related resources, check out the Super Teacher Worksheets Geography Page today!

 


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