1-2-3 Come Do Some Martin Luther King Day Crafts With Me
Today's blog is a bit long, but I wanted to feature my favorite MLK Day craftivities all in one place. I hope you enjoy them too.
The construction paper strip snowflakes, are a quick, easy and fun bulletin board for January! Use them as an "I have a dream..." writing prompt for Martin Luther King Day, of what students want to be when they grow up.
If you don't celebrate MLK Day, you could have children write what they enjoy about snow or winter; "sparkling" facts about themselves, or what things they want to do in the new year.
I used paper punch cut outs to practice patterning, but they also look fine plain, or decorated with stickers.
Cut the strips in a variety of colors to make a rainbow blizzard! A school photo in the middle adds that finishing touch.
Scatter them on a black background to make them really pop. Caption: Brrrrrr-illiant Work! or Writing is "snow" much fun! or in-keeping with MLK Day... "We are all unique, but we are also the same. Unity through diversity."
Because scrapbooking is so popular, I wanted to design an easy craftivity for MLK Day using the simple pinwheel design. If you don't celebrate MLK Day, these make wonderful Valentine's Day cards too.
I chose a black and white theme to symbolize diversity, but you could use whatever colors you like. Simply pre-cut 2 large black squares + a variety of light and dark contrasting scrapbook paper. Each student needs 4 light patterned pieces and 4 dark.
Using my photo tutorial, demonstrate how to glue the pieces down, so they look like a pinwheel.
It's really quite simple and easy, but looks complicated, with very cool results. I'd do this as a "monkey see-monkey do-what-I-do" whole group activity with little ones.
For older kiddos, add the white writing prompt "I have a dream" square to the back, or have students think of their own. If you need MLK writing prompt ideas, I have a list of 60 they can choose from.
For more pizzazz, students can choose another set of 4 different patterned-squares and glue them to the back, providing a border under their prompt. A school photo adds the finishing touch.
Punch a hole in the top point; make a yarn loop, and hang from the ceiling. Click on the link to view/download the MLK Pinwheel Writing Prompt Craftivity.
I have two more "danglers" to share with you today. Since I had no problem filling up my monthly bulletin board, I needed some other ways to hang up my students' craftivities. Because of this, I designed quite a few things that could "dangle" from the ceiling in the hallway.
Both of these files were done before I had all of the software programs and fonts I use now, but I think you'll find the hand-drawn patterns easy to follow.
A very simple dangler that my Y5's enjoyed making was the MLK Letter "I Have A Dream" one. It was a nice way to review these 3 letters and provided much-needed cutting practice to strengthen hand muscles and improve dexterity.
Turn it into a more in-depth writing prompt for older kiddos, by skipping the heart on the back, and giving them a longer writing prompt for them to record here. Click on the link to view/download the MLK Letter Dangler.
One of my personal favorites, was the "stained glass" dove of peace dangler.
I pre- cut strips of colored construction paper. For great fine motor, and scissor skill practice, my Y5's snipped them into squares and glued them in whatever pattern they wanted. More fine motor practice was achieved by having them accordion fold the dove's wings.
To incorporate a bit of poetry and cover this "genre" standard, I ran off the Langston Hughes poem. Click on the link to check out the background of this outstanding and prolific poet.
You could also turn this into a writing prompt and have the poem be the cover that flips open to reveal your students' thoughts about peace and how even a child can help achieve it. Click on the link to view/download the Martin Luther King Dove Of Peace Poem Dangler.
Finally, here is my brand new MLK craft. Since Dr.King's name is synonymous with peace, I wanted to design something centered around that theme. Since the popular peace symbol is somewhat controversial, I wanted to find something else more appropriate for children.
I thought of hearts and doves, but others were using those, and I wanted something more unique that would also encompass MLK's black heritage.
Were you ever looking for something, but not sure what you were looking for, but knew when you'd found it, that that would be just the thing? That's how I felt when I came across the mpatapo symbol. It was perfect to create a Martin Luther King craft around!
Mpatapo, simply pronounced m-pa-ta-po, is a West African Adinkra symbol. It is a knot of pacification-reconciliation that represents peaceful solutions.
Mpatapo symbolizes the bond that binds parties in a dispute to a peaceful and harmonious reconciliation; symbolizing peacemaking after strife. Names and meanings of the symbols are in Twi, which is the language of the Akan people.
Adinkra is a highly-valued hand-printed cotton cloth, which has traditional Akan symbols stamped upon it. Its origin is traced to the Asante (Ashanti) people of Ghana and the Gyaman people of Cote' d'lvoire (Ivory Coast).
The cloth can be traced back to the 17th century. Over time, the number of symbols used on the cloth grew. The word "adinkra" means goodbye, because originally clothes adorned with Adinkra symbols were only worn during ceremonies to honor the dead. The symbols worn on the mourner's clothing expressed the qualities attributed to the deceased.
The symbols are created by cutting a stamp out of the thick skin of a calabash gourd. The stamp is dipped in dye, made from tree bark, and then repeatedly pressed onto cloth to create patterns.
The African symbols are ubiquitous in Ghana, and are used extensively on fabrics and pottery. They have also become popular as logos, tattos, and in advertising. Because of tourism, the symbols can also be seen on T-shirts and jewelry.
They have a decorative function, but also represent objects that convey traditional African wisdom, as well as aspects of life and the environment.
The photo on the right shows some of the 53 Adinkra symbols recorded by Robert Sutherland Rattray in 1927. They are part of the Creative Commons on Wikipedia.
I feel that the mpatapo symbol, is a great representation of what Dr. Martin Luther King endeavored to do, with his peaceful marches, sit-ins and speeches, that sought nonviolent solutions for abolishing discrimination. This was it! This was what I was looking for. Click on the link to make an MLK mpatapo craft.
There's a writing prompt for K and older students to fill in and glue to the back, as well as an explanation square for younger students. I've included a sheet of Public Domain mini photo tiles of Dr. King as well. Students can choose one and glue it to the center of the mpatapo symbol if they want to.
To see an entire collection of Adinkra symbols and their meanings, click on the link. To find out more about the Ashanti tribe, click here, or this link for the African Guide. The research was fascinating for me; I hope you enjoy learning something new as well.
Well that's it for today. Thanks for visiting. I found a 3-ingredient recipe for play "snow" so I'm off to make some with my 2-year-old grandson. I LOVE doing crafty stuff with him, and at only 2, I'm surprised how much he enjoys it too.
Wishing you a fun-filled day, filled with memorable moments and lots of giggles.
"Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.