Kwanzaa Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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This post is for letter “K” in the 2016 ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays series, click here to see all posts.

2016-tot-school4I love to teach different cultures and traditions around the winter holidays. Everyone celebrates the winter holidays in a different way. Some celebrate Christmas, others Hanukkah, and others celebrate Kwanzaa. When I taught preschool, I would spend a week on each of these winter holidays, but I think Kwanzaa was one of my favorite holidays to teach.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26-January 1, and it’s the celebration of the African Heritage. Every night a new candle is lite in the Kinara. There are 7 candles. One black candle is centered with 3 red and 3 green on each side of it.

Day 1- Light the black candle to represent unity

Day 2- Light a red candle to represent self-determination

Day 3- Light a green candle to represent responsibility

Day 4- Light a red candle while a gift is given to the whole family to share

Day 5- Light a green candle to represent purpose

Day 6- Light a red candle to represent creativity

Day 7- Light a green candle to represent good faith

During our week long celebration, we listen to African music, create our own African drums, and incorporate some African traditions/colors into our art projects. These are just three of the projects we do during our Kwanzaa theme. You can click here to download the whole one week Kwanzaa theme for preschoolers and toddlers.

Pattern Necklace

The Kwanzaa celebration uses red to represent struggles faced, green, to represent a prosperous future, and black to represent the richness of African skin. I love to dye penne pasta these three colors to leave out along with yarn for the children to make a pattern necklace.


-Penne Pasta


-Red, green, and black food coloring

-Rubbing Alcohol



1.The night before dye the noodles. In one baggie, add some penne pasta, black food coloring, and a splash of rubbing alcohol. Swish it around until the noodles are covered. Lay them out on a towel to dry overnight. Do the same with red and green food coloring.

2. Lay out an invitation similar to the picture below to encourage your child to make patterns by stringing the noodles onto yarn.

3.When finished, tie the yarn into a circle to create a necklace.


Hand Print Kinara


-Red, green, yellow, and black paint

-White paper


1.Have your child hold out both hands with their thumbs tucked under. One the left hand, paint the pointer finger black and the other three fingers red. On the right hand, paint the three fingers green. Do not paint the pinky finger on the right hand.

2. Have your child stamp them hands on the paper to create the Kinara.

3.They can now use yellow paint to make the flames.


Kwanzaa Shape Collage

African art is known for it’s bold shapes and colors. We are going to create a collage using red, green, and black shapes.


-Red, green, black construction paper




1.Prepare for the activity by cutting out several triangles, squares, rectangles, and circles from the red and green construction paper.

2. Lay out the shapes and glue along with a black piece of construction paper.

3. Encourage your child to create a unique design with the shapes and glue it to the black construction paper.


Kwanzaa Books

Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Medearis


Kwanzaa by Lisa M. Herrington


My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz


Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford


Take some time out of this holiday season to learn about and celebrate other holiday traditions. You can click here to download a full one week Kwanzaa theme for toddlers and preschoolers. The theme includes 2 tot trays, a sensory bin, and 6 activities.

About Amanda

Hey Beautiful Mama! I’m Amanda, and I’m the founder of Sicily’s Heart and Home where I teach mamas just like you how to teach your toddlers and preschoolers at home. Before becoming a stay at home mom, I was a teacher. I have taught all ages from infants to middle school. My heart lies within the classrooms of toddlers and fourth graders. I’ve taught in head start programs, preschools, and elementary schools before I decided to homeschool my children. Now, I’m here to help you teach your little one at home. Head on over to Sicily’s Heart and Home to see what we’ve been up to or follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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