Whether you’re looking to teach others about African-American culture at a Black History Month celebration or you’re interested in enriching, educational party games and activities, our African American Party Activities Guide will lead the way! This party guide includes games, crafts and printable activities for Black History Month, Kwanzaa and Juneteeth that all children will enjoy.
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Black History Month
To learn where we are going, we must first look at where we’ve been. This statement holds true for everyone, but for African-American’s the statement has significant meaning. When teaching children about Black History Month the subjects of racism and segregation may be hard for younger children to understand. It’s best to start out by asking your children how much they already know. Correct their misconceptions and use your best judgment when talking about such mature issues.
For Black History Month, we have created four activities for the month of February. Complete one a week with your child or select a few that suits your child’s interests. Each activity below consists of a short biography for you to read with your child as well as an activity for your child to complete. Save each activity as it is completed and make a “Black History Book” together at the end of the month! Then, invite the whole family over for a celebration. Have your child give a presentation about what they have learned throughout the month. And remember, learning about Black History should be year-round! Always encourage your child to ask questions about their heritage and think about how they can become one of tomorrow’s leaders!
The Importance of Black History: Teach your child why Black History Month is so important and complete the activity, “What Freedom Means to Me” together.
A Real Superhero: Learn about Harriet Tubman’s strength and courage, and then complete the activity, “Helping Like Harriet.”
Everyone, Play Ball: Learn how Jackie Robinson became the first African-American major league baseball player. Then paint a paper weight to symbolize his strength and courage for our activity, “Baseball Rock Craft.”
Me and My Family:Children can fill out a printable booklet that will include information about their family’s history.
Kwanzaa is celebrated every year from December 26-January 1 and was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa is not a political or religious holiday. Instead, the holiday is celebrated by gathering family and friends in order to enjoy what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. The seven days of Kwanzaa symbolize unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
To celebrate Kwanzaa traditionally, your family may meet every night during the duration of the holiday with your community to exchange homemade gifts and play games. Here is a list of party games you can play to celebrate Kwanzaa this year.
- Earth, Air, Fire, Water: This game works best with a large group of children. Stand the children in a circle and hand one player a ball. This player must throw the ball to another person in the circle and call out either “earth, air, fire or water.” The player who catches the ball must name a land animal if “earth” was called, an animal that flies if “air” was called, remain silent if fire was called or an animal that lives in water if “water” was called. They have 10 seconds to name the animal. If they take too long to answer or name an animal that has already been called, they are out of the game. The game continues until one player is left.
- Mamba: Designate a playing area that’s big enough for a game of tag. Now choose a child to be the first mamba (the head). The mamba’s job is to tag all of the other children. If a child is tagged, they become a part of the mamba’s body by putting their arms around each other’s waists. As the mamba’s body grows longer, the children can try to trap other players but only the mamba head can tag a person. The last player left that has not been captured by the mamba wins.
- African Necklaces: Create colorful red, green and black pasta necklaces to wear on Kwanzaa. You can use our Rainbow Pasta Necklace craft to learn how to dye the pasta.
- Zawadi (The Gifts): You will need one present for every child to play this game. Ask the children to sit in a circle and then play some African music. While the music is playing, the children should pass a ball around then randomly pause the music. Whoever is holding the ball is out but gets to pick a prize. Continue playing the music and pause it again until everyone has won a prize.
- Chigoro Dando (Thumping Sticks): Learn how to play a game played by children in Zimbabwe.
- Kwanzaa Coloring Page: Print out this free coloring page to color on the sixth day of Kwanzaa to celebrate your child’s creativity.
You can also teach children the seven principles of Kwanzaa in Swahili:
- Umoja = Unity
- Kujichagulia = Self-Determination
- Ujima = Collective Work and Responsibility
- Ujamma = Cooperative Economics
- Nia = Purpose
- Kuumba = Creativity
- Imani = Faith
Juneteenth is a national celebration that began on June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, Texas. It was on this day, two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was declared, that the citizens of Texas were informed slavery had ended. Therefore, Juneteenth is observed to celebrate the official end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth symbolizes a time when people can reflect upon themselves and rejoice for all they have achieved. Some people use this holiday to set goals for the following year and plan for the future. Anyone can celebrate Juneteenth and all cultures and races are encouraged to celebrate the holiday every year on June 19th.
To celebrate Juneteenth, families frequently have barbeques, races, go fishing and play sports. This Juneteenth, check your community newspapers to see if there are any local speakers or Miss Juneteenth contests in the area. If not, you can organize your own party, parade or family gathering to celebrate the holiday.
The first Juneteenth celebrations took place near rivers and creeks outdoors. So today, a lot of celebrations focus around a barbeque and outdoor games. Here are some games and activities you can play to celebrate Juneteenth:
- Tell Stories: Many slaves did not know how to read or write and so their heritage was passed down to generations by telling stories. Share some family moments with your children such as how your parents met, the day your children were born or other stories your children may not know. Let them tell their own stories too.
- Coded Quilt: Slaves used to make patchwork quilts out of fabric scraps. Many times, there would be coded messages hidden within the design of the quilts that would help other slaves escape. Give each party guest (adults can participate too) several pieces of 4″ x 4″ construction paper in different colors and markers. Ask everyone to design their square with a picture that represents what Juneteenth means. When everyone is finished, tape the squares together to make a Juneteenth quilt.
- Talent Show: Host a talent show where children can show off their hidden talents. Invite several mystery guests to be the show’s judges and award prizes to the winners.
- Folded Treat Baskets: Kids will love making these little picnic baskets that can be used to hold candy, gift cards or place cards.
Games and Activities
This origami craft is easy enough for young children to do.
Kids can learn about Harriet Tubman and complete the printable activity “Helping Like Harriet.”
Children can learn about Jackie Robinson and complete a Baseball Rock Craft.
Hand out this free Kwanzaa coloring page at your holiday party.
Teach your child the importance of Black History and complete the “What Freedom Means to Me” activity together.
Your child will be able to print and fill out a mini book about their family.
Learn how to play a game that children in Africa like to playing using thumping sticks.
Dye your own rainbow pasta for beaded craft activities!