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I am very excited to be a part of the “Montessori for the Holidays” blog hop series being presented by members of the Montessori Blogger Network, so please take the opportunity and read the rest of this series.
The holiday season is rapidly approaching. For the past 2 years we have always driven to my sisters home and spent Christmas with her family. We always have a great time with good food, games, and just spending time with each other. This year, I have decided to bring Kwanzaa to the festivities.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African-American ancestry. It is filled with celebrating our ancestors through food, community service, gift sharing, history and family.
Kwanzaa begins on December 26th and ends on January 1st. Each day represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa which is commemorated with lighting a candle on the Kinara each of the 7 nights.
The Seven Principles are as follows:
- Umoja -Unity
- Kujichagulia -Self determination
- Ujima – Working together
- Ujamaa – Helping our neighborhood grow
- Nia – Purpose
- Kuumba – Creativity
- Imani – Faith
To help my son better understand Kwanzaa, I checked out a few books to read from our local library. Our favorite so far is My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz. The book is filled with beautiful colors and appeals to a toddlers and preschoolers’ understanding.
There are some key things a family needs in order to make this celebration a hit.
- A great family of participates.
- 7 Candles- Three red one black and 3 green.
- Kinara -Special candle holder for each candle that represent each of the 7 principles.
- Mekeda – Straw Mat
- Muhindi – 1 ear of corn that represents each child in the home.
- Kikombe – Unity Cup
- Mazao – Fruits and vegetables to remind the family of the end of harvest and beginning of planting season in Africa.
Here are some fun Montessori inspired activities to help your little one get into the celebratory spirit.
- Make your own Kinara using toilet and paper towel rolls.
- Threading green, red and black beads on black pipe cleaners.
- Make your own Mkeke straw mat using construction paper. I suggest laminating it for durability and dating it on a small corner.
- Homemade sensory play- doh and adding a few drops of frankincense essential oils.
- Play a game of Mancala or just use the stones to sort.
Since Kwanzaa celebrates the ancestry of African-Americans, I thought this would be agreat opportunity for me to use my Africa A-Z from Trillium Montessori study unit. I also ordered the Safari Toob African Village and used the figurine key from Living Montessori Now I will be setting up a matching tray for this activity.
We don’t watch a lot TV in our home, but because it is a special occasion I will be allowing Lil J to watch the new DVD series called Bino and Fino. This would give him a fun visual to help connect the dots. I am especially excited about this DVD series because it blends African history, science, math, language, geography, problem solving skills, culture and many other great concepts in a wonderful video.
We will also be making homemade gifts to exchange on the last day of Kwanzaa which is called Zawadi.
I am looking forward to starting this new tradition with my family. To read more about Kwanzaa please visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.
Thanks for reading, and remember to click the links below to read the rest of the blogs in this series!
Until next time!
Mama Montessori and Lil J