Kwanzaa Kinaras

During Kwanzaa, candles are placed in a special candleholder called the kinara.
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There are seven candles used, each representing one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
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Using blocks, craft sticks, and tea light candles, we constructed our own kinaras!
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We learned new words associated with the seven principles, and applied our understanding of their meanings throughout the week during circle time.
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 Every day we would hands and chant “umoja” as we discussed preschool-friendly words (friendly, caring, helping) associated with the Kwanzaa principles of unity, self-determination, and collective responsibility.
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We incorporated these principles through singing, games, chanting, and musical demonstrations for one another. These activities helped your little ones understand how different people might celebrate the holidays during the same time as they do, but in a different way.
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Kwanzaa Abundance Bowls

One of the traditions of Kwanzaa is to place fruit in a basket on the table to  symbolize a bountiful harvest.

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These centerpieces or “bowls” may also be adorned with candies, flowers, corn, and other symbols of abundance.

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Using plastic fruit and silk flowers, we constructed our very own centerpieces!

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Teaching young children about the benefits of fruits and flowers, and what they represent (abundance), instills gratitude for the things they may take for granted (food), and fosters a sense of piosity for the environment.

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The act of placing the items into the bowl encourages the application of physical properties (how much to allow the flower to stand straight, how much space to allot for all of them items), and handling different materials engages their senses and imaginations.

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Umoja Around the Rosie

The Kwanzaa holiday was created to introduce and reinforce seven principles which were viewed as core value systems for healthy and thriving families, stable and loving and caring relationships, effective parenting practices, school achievement, and non violent, safe and productive communities. Thus, the seven days of the Kwanzaa holiday is organized around the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Shared Wealth, Purpose, Creativity and Faith.

The Umoja (unity) principle instructs that each member of the family and by extension the community is constituted by a web of interpersonal relationships. The health and possibilities of the family and community, therefore, is dependent upon the quality of relationship within the family and community.This activity involved your little one playing a group game to reinforce the principle of Umoja.

Organized activities can be fun and contribute to children’s learning and development. But many traditional games, such as Musical Chairs and Duck, Duck, Goose focus on competition and eliminate children from the fun. In contrast, cooperative games help preschoolers learn to work together, follow directions, listen, and develop problem-solving and movement skills. For this activity, we played the Kwanzaa version of Ring Around the Rosie. We chanted the following words:

Umoja, Umoja

Let’s light the Kinara

Kwanzaa, Kwanzaa

We all fall down!

Your little ones delighted in this game, as they laughed and giggled with their friends. It added to the excitement of Kwanzaa week!

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Kwanzaa Place Mats

Weaving is such an excellent activity to try with preschoolers!  Weaving not only promotes fine motor skills, but helps children learn how to create patterns and work through problems they may encounter while weaving.

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It can also be a beautiful way for children to express themselves artistically. For this activity, we created Kwanzaa place mats using black, red, and green pieces of paper.

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Your little one weaved strips of paper through their place mat, to create a beautiful piece of functional Kwanzaa art!

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