This year we have been studying world cultures focusing primarily on Africa. We started out with some basic facts about Africa and then moving on to Egypt including a study of Ancient Egypt. From there we studied the Islam and its history. We learned about the spread of Islam and moved on to a study the countries of northern Africa. We looked at some of the beautiful examples of Moroccan tile and the kids designed there own tiles one day while I was reading. I made a template and then the kids made designs and put the individual tiles together to see the overall design:
Not long after that, we moved on to west Africa. For the past couple of weeks we have studying the geography, art, music and history of west Africa. We’ve learned so much! It was a bit difficult trying to figure out how to share everything because we actually do a bit of everything each day… We almost always talk about the geography and move on to the art. I often read stories or some of the history while the kids are coloring. I’ve decided to focus just on the art projects in this post. I’ll save the details about our studies of the geography and history of Africa for another post.
We went to a couple different African art exhibits and looked at some of the African art there. The kids were blown away by the tall wooden masks we saw (below). There was a film at the exhibit we sat and watched for a while. The dancers would wear these masks and then bow down letting the top of the mask touch the ground! We were impressed by the strength it must take to control these tall 8 foot tall masks!
We looked through our photos and looked at other photos from online. A lot of the masks we saw were based on animals which is why DD decided she would make a lion mask (those two yellow masks). She was going to use bits of straw around the edge of her mask, but she hasn’t finished that part yet:
We’ve been listening to these CDs of African music. If I had to recommend just one, hands-down it would be African Playground (affiliate link). The kids adore that CD (above left). We listen to that daily right now!
We went to another African art exhibit in DC as well. Here’s a collage of some of those masks:
Our next art project was a bit more guided. We used the instructions from this lesson at Art Projects for Kids to help with the placement of the eyes and mouth.
We also did a number of really pretty African-themed art projects to raise money to buy livestock through Heifer International:
- The Kids’ Service Project: See all of their art projects here:
You might be interested in these related posts:
- West African History — Free Notebook Pages, African Picture Books — which includes these free pages
- Geography of Africa — The Countries and Physical Features
- West African Art Projects: Morrocan Tiles, African Masks, African Music
- Cooking with Kids: A Taste of Africa and the Middle East
- Learning about Islam — Free Worksheets and Resources for Kids
- These posts on Ancient Egypt
- Africa Unit — Basic Facts about Africa which includes the free pack I made below.