International Art Activities for Kids to Try at Home
There are many joys in being around kids, but their creativity can be one of the most mind-blowing. You might start your day laughing at the uses they find for their socks while getting dressed, goggle at the complicated plot they invent for a homemade comic book in the afternoon, and giggle in the evening when they turn their dinner plate into a talking monster.
But adults around the world are no creative slouches either. To celebrate International Creativity Month, check out some of our favorite art forms from around the world, then try your hand at making a DIY origami box with your kids.
Ghana – Adinkra Cloth
In Ghana, skilled artisans use a printing process dating to the 1800s to create beautiful textile art called Adinkra cloth. Drawing on a library of hundreds of symbols linked to the language of the Asante people, clothmakers carve intricate stamps from a calabash gourd, then dip the stamps in plant-based dye and decorate cloth, creating intricate motifs that represent ideas, personality traits, proverbs, and more.
To introduce your kids to printmaking at home, have them cut shapes from sponges, then dip the shapes in paint and stamp patterns on a piece of paper.
Mexico – Mosaic
Cultures throughout history have created mosaic, an art form in which small pieces of stone, glass, pottery, or other materials are glued onto a specially prepared surface with an adhesive. In Mexico, the art form grows out of a Central American tradition reaching back at least as far as the sixth century. Some of the most noteworthy mosaics of the 20th century were created on public buildings in Mexico, but modern mosaics are often smaller, decorating anything from private homes to park benches.
For an at-home introduction to mosaic, have your kids cut shapes from different colors of construction paper and glue them into a design on top of another sheet of paper. Younger kids may enjoy creating abstract patterns, while older kids can take on the challenge of making a recognizable image. Either way, cutting out lots of paper shapes (squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, and more) will give them plenty of options for creativity.
Japan – Origami
Japanese origami artists complete a series of intricate folds to create beautiful three-dimensional artwork out of paper. The practice has an important place in Japanese culture, with some types of origami used at traditional weddings or to accompany gifts. At its most complex, origami is practiced by serious artists who push the limits of what’s possible with paper, but it is also a popular form of decoration in Japan and enjoyed by people worldwide as a hobby.
For a great project that your kids can give away as a present or keep themselves to help organize their belongings, try our DIY origami desk organizer, which shows two different ways to make a box out of a single sheet of paper.