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Kwanzaa Mkeka Mat Craft

With only construction paper and scissors, students can create striking weaved mats in celebration of the African-American holiday.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

Students get a lesson in weave-making with this simple Kwanzaa craft, made from materials you likely already have in your classroom.

What You Need: 

  • Black, red, and green 8 1/2- by 11-inch construction paper, one sheet of each color per student
  • Scissors

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What You Do:

  1. Before class, cut multiple strips from the red and green construction paper for your students. They should be about one inch wide and 11 inches long.
  2. In class, give students one piece of black construction paper and have them each fold it in half vertically.
  3. Have students turn the paper so the fold is closer to them and the open side faces away.
  4. Have students cut slits along the fold, moving from the fold towards the open end, yet stopping about inch from the edge. The cuts should be spaced about one inch apart.
  5. Have students unfold the black paper and turn it so the slits are vertical.
  6. Have students select a red or green strip of construction paper and slide one end of the strip underneath the left side of the black paper, then pull the strip up through the left-most slit.
  7. Direct the strip down through the next slit, and then up through the third slit, and continue to the end of the black paper. The pieces of paper should create squares in alternating colors.
  8. Next, students should pick a strip of the second color.
  9. Have students continue the weave by pushing the new strip down through the first slit and up through the second to alternate how they began.
  10. Repeat with alternating red and green strips until there is no more space in the black construction paper slits.

  • Part of Collection:
  • Subjects:
    Arts and Crafts, Paper Crafts, Kwanzaa, Winter Themes
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