our everyday life

Kenyan Crafts for Children to Make

by Kim Blakesley, studioD

Expose your child to the unusual crafts of the Kenyan people. You and your child will enjoy making an over-sized tribal mask, a colorful batik cloth, a small but noisy drum, and one-of-a-kind stringing beads. You can create each project with easy-to-find items at minimal cost, leaving you more time to devote to your little sweetie.

Tribal Mask

The tribal people of Kenya often wore tribal masks in many of their ceremonies. Make a replica tribal mask for your little one from corrugated cardboard. Cut a 2-feet tall by 2-feet wide simple leaf shape, four of the same shape for eyes, two for a nose and two for a mouth from a piece of corrugated cardboard. Place and glue the first layer of the eyes, mouth and nose on the mask. Repeat the process with the second layer. Allow the glue to dry completely. Paint the entire surface with brown non-toxic acrylic or tempera paint. Add dots around the eyes and lines by the nose with white paint.

Batik Cloth

A batik cloth from Kenya features bright colors. Make a replica from a piece of bleached muslin. Wash and dry the muslin to remove sizing, which is a sealer on the fabric that prevents the paint from adhering evenly to the fabric, before you begin. Place the muslin on a piece of wax paper. Draw a design on the fabric with washable blue gel glue. Allow the glue to dry completely. Place three tablespoons and a quarter size drop of acrylic paint on the center of a paper plate. Mix the water and paint together to form a fabric dye. Paint the fabric and let dry. Wash in cool water to remove the glue.

Tribal Drum

Two plastic, paper or foam cups create the shape of a Kenyan tribal drum. Turn one cup upside down so the bottom is on top. Place and glue the second cup on top of the first to create the drum shape. Cover the cups and opening with masking tape. Create the deep brown color of the Kenyan drum by rubbing brown shoe polish over the masking tape surface. Rub the shoe polish off. Add geometric shapes to the completed surface to finish.

Beaded Bracelet

One type of Kenyan beaded bracelet uses colorful tube beads. Make a tube bead Kenyan bracelet with a self-hardening or oven-baked clay. Roll a coil of clay 1-inch wide and 6-inches long. Cut the coil into 1/2-inch sections. Insert a small drinking straw through the center of each section to create the string hole. Allow the clay to harden or bake according to the instructions on the package. Provide your child with water color paints and let him go wild painting each bead a bright color. Add dots, stripes or geometric designs to each bead. String the beads on a heavy cord or string. Beads can be a choking hazard, so supervise this project at all times.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images