Multicultural Crafts

Written by Shirley Parker
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In countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, where immigration has been relatively open for many years, the people represent many cultures. It's not difficult to learn about people whose heritage is different than your own. All you have to do is show an interest, without giving the impression of nosiness.

To explain multicultural ideas to children, a box of crayons is useful. Just as the box is full of many different colors, all of which belong in an interesting picture, they are all crayons. So, too, the country has many different peoples, all of whom contribute to the arts in their own often-unique ways.

Every culture has crafts that it does extremely well, crafts that developed because of the resources and needs in their environment. The inhabitants of Western Europe and Scandinavia knitted beautiful sweaters because they needed to keep warm. The residents of some other countries learned to make rice paper lanterns and fans, or to delicately embroider cool cotton cloth.

Learning Other Crafts

When people move to another country, they take their own crafts with them, and learn others after they arrive. The exchange of ideas enriches everyone's lives. We can all learn about Chinese dragons, and children can draw their own, after they look at pictures and a teacher has explained everything a dragon must have. We can learn how to make a Japanese windsock, how the Huichol Indians of Mexico do yarn paintings, or how the Navajo create sand paintings. Teachers have a choice from among several dozen beautiful books in print, detailing many crafts projects that range from easy to difficult. Kits are also available from internet suppliers.


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