South Africa’s Heritage Weekend is here and is yet another special opportunity to create awareness and celebrate the rich diversity that makes up our nation and our world.
In the spirit of Heritage and raising inclusive families, I have put together some crafty activities to do with our little ones and any time.
I’ve also included some discussion points around each activity but feel free to mix and match them and grade them according to your child’s age and understanding.
I will be adding to this post as M and I do more of these together!
1. Mix it up - Paint and Prints
Hand-prints are always so fun and can be incorporated into practically any craft! It’s such an awesome and versatile activity to do with your little ones (and a great keepsake too).
For this idea, all you need is some paint, a canvas or card-stock and your little one inking their finger prints and handprint.
- As you ink each child’s print to the same canvas (and/or yours too), discuss how unique each print is and how uniquely special we each are in our design.
- You could also talk about the masterpiece you’re creating – and how we are each God’s Masterpiece.
- Scripture: Psalm 139:14 to bring out the fact that we have been thought out by God who created us so wonderfully – in our differences and similarities.
- Go through your favourite affirmations with your kids.
2. Toilet Roll Family
This one may be more suited for the older kids – I mean, I attempted this with M (19 months) and his favourite part was basically grabbing the hair off each figure! Hahaha 😀
For this activity, you’ll need toilet roll tubes (some of them come in different shades too!), colour wool, some craft paper and glue. (You could cut the tubes to different sizes too)
To put together:
- Glue or cellotape the wool as hair onto the top of the toilet roll tube.
- Dress your figure in desired craft paper clothing.
- Glue eyes on or draw them and draw the mouth as well
- Talk about points of difference and similarities in physical appearance, character, race, being differently-abled, assistive devices and cultures in a positive celebratory manner.
- For older kids, also include discussions around the positive contributions of various cultures, what’s something we love about our own culture or learn something new about a different culture.
- Talk about different ages – older and younger, smaller and bigger (different sized toilet roll tubes will come in handy here!) and how we all have something valuable to contribute no matter our age or difference.
- Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Let no one look down on [you because of] your youth, but be an example and set a pattern for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in [moral] purity.”
3. Reading Books
We have two favourite books set for this Heritage Weekend with M (19 months )
The first book is ‘First Cape Town Words’, which is a great way to get familiar with some names of cultural dishes, places and terms we use on a daily.
The second is ‘God’s Dream’ by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which illustrates a beautiful diversity, including children from different belief systems, race and cultures. These all make for great conversation starters – and for the younger toddlers, is a great way to start describing the pictures and create awareness around the word ‘diversity’. The book itself also brings across great lessons around forgiveness and sharing.
- Books are always a great way to expand vocab and encourage creative thinking.
- Bring in how we all have differences, but we are all part of the same Rainbow Nation – what does it mean to be a Rainbow Nation?
- What are some good qualities we can model and encourage in one another…
- For the older child, encourage empathy – Talk about various scenarios – for example, if you were in a situation where someone wasn’t sharing what would you do?
- Scripture: Matthew 7:12 – “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you…”
4. Sensory Shakers
Fill bottles with colour rice of choice or lentils – and add elements such as rainbows, parts of the body or little figures, even photos of family members (these can be printed or drawn).
- Shake and let your little one find the elements in the bottle and use the elements you’ve chosen as conversation starters, for example – an opportunity to lean about the different body parts, expand vocabulary or dive into the family tree.
- If you do not have bottles, you could do this in a sensory box as well, which is a great way to get increased tactile feedback when finding the items in the box.
- Scripture: Genesis 9:16 – “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
5. Sensory Hands
Get your little one involved in helping to fill some transparent gloves with sensory items, such as lentils, cotton wool, ribbon, etc and have them experience some tactile feedback, while learning about colours, counting and parts of the hand.
- Each finger could be an affirmation statement and an emphasis on how important we each are.
- An additional discussion point to be graded (according to age and understanding) is to talk about what kind of ways we use our hands to help, what other things we can do with our hands.
- For older kids, talk about talents, abilities and purpose – talk about how each one of us is designed for a specific purpose – we can help each other find our true calling and purpose by living ours, what do they feel they are good at or what their talents and abilities are.
- Scripture: Isaiah 49:16 – “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”
DIY some play dough in the colour of your choice – and the opportunities for play can be endless – not to mention the numerous benefits of playdough, makes this activity a win for all ages! 🙂
Quick and Easy Taste Safe Play dough Recipe:
- 1 Cup of Flour
- Slightly less than 1/4 cup Oil
- Add food colouring to some water and stir (you can dissolve some salt here too)
- Gradually add water mixture until desired consistency and knead through
For extra Sensory input – add a scented element such as vanilla essence (my personal favourite as it releases endorphins!), cinnamon or mint, essential oils, etc
- Depending on the colour(s) you’ve chosen to go with, you could incorporate talking about the beauty in different shades of skin colour, match the playdough to skin colour.
- If you’ve chosen the rainbow colours, relate back to South Africa as the Rainbow Nation, and how all part of the same human race.
- My 19 month old loves just naming the colours and kneading his fingers into the dough and we usually end up creating some imaginary figures. The point is for exposure. We want to celebrate our rich Cultural Diversity (and even just to the word diversity) opens our kids minds to an inclusive future.
Some General benefits of Playdough:
- A great fine-motor muscle strengthener
- Pressing, rolling and kneading playdough also has a great calming effect on the sensory system.
- It provides great Proprioceptive (body and position awareness) and tactile input to the muscles.
- It encourages imagination and creativity.
What are your favourite activities to celebrate diversity?