During Kwanzaa, seven candles are held in a special candle holder called a Kinara; each candle represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa and each color corresponds to those in the Bendera (African flag). Until now, it has been difficult to involve little ones in this celebration because of the dangerous flames involved. Here’s how to create a clever flameless Kinara, and boost your child’s creativity and fine motor skills in the process!
- Cut the egg carton cups down the middle to create one row of cups. Cut the strip of 6 cups in half. Cut one single cup from the other row. You should now have two sets of three and one single cup.
- Trim the cups to remove any excess styrofoam or cardboard, making them neat and ensuring that they will sit flat on the table or counter.
- Use the glue gun to fit the single egg cup between the two single sets.
- Help your child use scissors to cut a small slit into the top of each cup.
- Invite your child to paint the cups brown, and let them dry thoroughly.
- Have your child paint the craft sticks (which will be used as candles for the Kinara). Paint one stick black, three green and three red. Be sure to paint both sides of the sticks. Allow them to dry thoroughly. Take this opportunity to explain the symbolism of the colors to your child; black represents the people, red represents their struggles, and green represents the future.
- Create some flames to attach to the craft sticks by having your child draw a simple flame shape onto the yellow construction paper. Draw a smaller flame shape onto the orange sheets; make sure it is small enough to fit onto the yellow sheet. Have your child cut them out and make 14 of each color.
- Glue the yellow flame onto the craft stick, with one on each side. Then, glue the orange flame to the yellow flame.
- Have your child insert the candles into the Kinara. The black candle goes into the middle; the green sticks are placed on one side and the red on the other.
Discuss: Lighting the Kinara candles is a significant honor that is bestowed on different people depending on each unique family. Sometimes the task is given to the youngest child, while other families reserve the honor for the eldest family member. If they wish, every family member in your home can take a turn “lighting” this kid-friendly Kinara!
Quiz: Why do we have a tradition of lighting lamps in our festivals?