African Kente Cloth Painting
Children will learn about the meaning of the colors that are used in the traditional Kente Cloth, made and worn for ceremonial occasions by the people of Ghana. People all over the world wear clothing and accessories made from Kente Cloth to show respect for the African culture.
Cut a 5-inch wide and 30-inch-long strip of white poster board for each child to make a Kente Cloth Painting. Measure and draw lines onto the poster board so that it is divided into six, 5-inch squares. Pass these to the children and show them some picture-book examples of Kente Cloth. Your local children's librarian can help you find books to borrow containing photos.
Provide each child with five colors of paint. Explain that the different colors have symbolic meanings. Keep your explanation suited to the children's level of understanding. Give them black, blue, red, yellow and green paint. Explain that the black paint symbolizes the African people. Tell them blue is for innocence and red is for life. Explain that yellow is for fortune and that green is for Earth. Give them paint brushes and ask them to make a design in each square--using the colors and thinking about the meanings of each one.
Ideally, your class should be instructed to fill the squares with geometric shapes to represent Kente Cloth, but the skill-level of four- to five-year-old children may keep them from being able to accomplish this. Go ahead and challenge them to paint rectangles, circles and triangles--some children will do this very well. Don't stress about the paintings that are more swirled together. The paintings will all be beautiful and the lessons they learn about the tradition of Kente Cloth is the real goal.