This is the first year that I’m celebrating Kwanzaa, in a long time since I was younger! When I was young, I loved how my grandparents and aunt celebrated it every year! It is an amazing and meaningful holiday to help celebrate our culture! So it’s time to bring the tradition back and to help my son learn it’s meaning and principles. In doing this we read a book together that explains Kwanzaa’s principles and meanings! I also wanted to do some activities with him celebrating it! I remembered this easy but fun craft activity making the Mkeka mat out of construction paper. The Mkeka mat is a traditional straw or woven textile. It represents the base for the other six symbols of Kwanzaa, that nothing can be built without having a foundation upon with to rest.
I hope you all enjoy the activity!
Construction Paper Woven Mkeka Mat
-1 of each color of construction paper (black, red and green)
-Glue stick or glue
1. Once you gather all materials, take you black piece of construction paper and fold it in half.
2. While black sheet is still folded in half, cut slits to from folded half to close to the end of the sheet. Make several slits as much as your paper can allow. I did 8-9 slits, see below photo.
3. With the remaining sheets green and red cut into strips. As much as the paper allows. Vertical strips not horizontal.
4. With your first strip green or red, start to weave it into the black paper taking it over/under until you see a pattern. Once your first strip is complete I like to glue it on each end for security!
5. Weave as many strips as you can to the black sheet alternating colors green, black then red. Once complete, make sure all strips are glued at both ends, flip over and that’s it!