Weekly Theme: Multicultural Celebrations – More Activities Board Game Center Ideas

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Weekly Theme: Multicultural Celebrations – More Activities

Board Game Center Ideas

Pick Up Sticks were originally an African game, Dominoes originally came from China and, of course, Mancala is an African game.

Chinese Lanterns

Christmas is not really celebrated in China, but those from the western world who do live in China and celebrate the holiday do so by hanging colorful lanterns that stay up until the Celebration of the Chinese New Year Festival.

The Chinese symbols for Merry Christmas are:

You will need:

8 ½ x 11 size card or paper


sticky tape



1. Fold the card in half lengthwise.
2. Starting at the folded side, draw pencil lines across it, not all the way across, on which to cut. Make sure the lines are equal in length and evenly spaced.
3. Cut along the lines carefully.
4. Unfold the card.
5. Take the top and botton ends of the card, overlap them and paste them together to make a cylinder.
6. Cut a strip of paper and attach it to make the handle.
7. If you make more than one lantern, hand them on a string across the room.


1. Decorate the card with crayons, glitter, sequins, etc before making the lantern.
2. Alternatively, paste cellophane paper onto the inside of the card after cutting the slits. This will create a colourful effect when the sun shines on the lanterns.

Die Tannenbaum (The Christmas Tree)

The first Christmas tree originated in Germany. Germans first decorated their trees with fruit and candies and then later with candles and hand-blown glass ornaments. The trees were then brought to England by Queen Victoria, who married the German Prince Albert. All who saw her beautiful Christmas tree in the court wanted one of their own in their own home. Christmas trees were first brought to America by German settlers in Pennsylvania. The Americans adopted the tradition and added different homemade decorations, as well as cranberries and popcorn strung on the tree. Later, the first electric lights were used to decorate American Christmas trees.

One German legend is about a woman who could not afford any ornaments for her children’s Christmas tree and she went to bed sad and crying. In a small corner of the ceiling a spider saw how sad the woman had become and crawled down to the Christmas tree and spun a spider web all over the tree. In the morning when the mother and children awoke, they found the beautiful tree with the spider web sparkling in the early morning sun. This is the supposedly how Germans first had the idea to use tinsel on their Christmas trees.

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Tree Craft

Children of all ages will love decorating these trees.

What you will need: Sugar cones, green frosting, small candy like red hots, tiny M&M's, cake decorating toppings or sprinkles, and paper plates.
What to do: Turn the cone upside down on a paper plate and cover the entire cone with green frosting. Decorate the tree with candy and toppings.

La Befana of Italy

La Befana is one of Italy's oldest and most celebrated legends. Each year on January 6 the children of Italy awaken in hopes that La Befana has made a visit to their house. This is a significant day to Italians because it marks the end of the Christmas season and the day that the three Wise Men arrived at the manger of the Christ child. Over the years the Epiphany has been a more celebrated holiday for the children of Italy than even Christmas.
As legend has it the three Wise Men were in search of the Christ child when they decided to stop at a small house to ask for directions. Upon knocking, an old woman holding a broom opened the door slightly to see who was there. Standing at her doorstep were three colorfully dressed men who were in need of directions to find the Christ child. The old woman was unaware of who these three men were looking for and could not point them in the right direction. Prior to the three men leaving they kindly asked the old woman to join them on their journey. She declined because she had much housework to do. After they left she felt as though she had made a mistake and decided to go and catch up with the kind men. After many hours of searching she could not find them. Thinking of the opportunity she had missed the old woman stopped every child to give them a small treat in hopes that one was the Christ child. Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking for the baby Jesus. She stops at each child's house to leave those who were good treats in their stockings and those who were bad a lump of coal. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.
Read The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePoala. Discuss the similarities and differences between the way children receive gifts at Christmas in the United States, and the way children receive gifts on Epiphany in Italy from La Befana. Talk about how children in Italy wait until the final day of the holiday season to receive most of their gifts, which are found next to their beds.

Make La Befana's Broom

On construction paper, glue a stick to the top third of the paper. (you can gather small sticks from outside, or even use Popsicle sticks) This is the broom's handle. Now form a broom on the paper with small pieces of yellow yarn. If you have access to it, use real bits of straw. Glue them to form the base of a broom, fanning the pieces out. Sprinkle on a little bit of gold or silver glitter to represent the magical quality of La Befana. Label the picture, "La Befana's Broom".

Christmas in Holland

In Holland, they celebrate Christmas three times! In late November they mark the arrival of Sinterklaas. Sinterklaas and his helpers travel from town to town treats to children. December 5th is Sinterklaasavond (Santa Claus eve)and the Dutch give gag presents to each other with another real present inside. On December 25th, the Dutch celebrate a more traditional and religious Christmas. A popular decoration in the Netherlands is the so-called "advent-star", a star shaped light, to be hung in the window.

The advent stars are very complicated to make, but if you would like to try, here is a good web site with instructions: http://www.howtomakestars.com/instructions.html

The Christmas Card

Christmas is Britain's most popular holiday and is characterized by traditions which date back hundreds of years. Many Christmas customs which originated in Britain have been adopted in the United States. The first ever Christmas card was posted in England in the 1840s, and the practice soon became an established part of the build-up to Christmas. Over a billion Christmas cards are now sent every year in the United Kingdom, many of them sold in aid of charities.
Have students create Christmas cards for friends, neighbors or family members in the art center.

The Origin of Mistletoe

About two hundred years ago, the Greeks used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They would gather this evergreen plant that is a parasite on other trees and used it to decorate their homes. They believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. They also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Aphrodite. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably came from this belief. Mistletoe has white berries and green leaves.
Students can color the Mistletoe coloring sheet below.

Stars and Catchers - From the Region of Equatorial, Guinea, Zaire

Divide the players into two groups: STARS AND CATCHERS. Set up two parallel boundaries, about 20 feet apart. (Use the sides of the court) Begin with 3 CATCHERS. The CATCHERS stand in the middle of the court while the STARS stand on one boundaries of the court. The CATCHERS begin the game by reciting together: “Star light, start bright, How many stars are out tonight?’ The STARS respond: “More than you can catch!” And then make a mad dash to the other boundary-trying not to be tagged by a CATCHER. Tagged STARS become CATCHERS. The game continues with both sides reciting the verse until all STARS are caught.

Stop that Ball! – This is an Australian Game

You will need two playground balls per team and a large ball (use one of the large yellow balls). Divide the children into two teams and supply each child with playground balls. Line up the teams on each side of the court. Use the rope to mark the center line between the teams.

Call out "gool, gool" ("going, going"), then roll the large ball along the line. Players stand in their spot and throw their smaller balls at the larger ball, trying to make it stop on the other team's side of the line to win a point. The first team to accumulate five points wins the game.
"What’s the Time Mr. Wolf" from Australia A.K.A. LUPO DELLA ORE In Italy

One player is the wolf and he/she will stand with his/her back turned to the others about 5 feet from the others. The others call out, "What’s the time Mr. Wolf" and the wolf turns to face the others and shouts out a time. Ex: 10 o'clock. The others would then take 10 steps toward the wolf. The group will take the same amount of steps toward the wolf as the amount of hours in the wolfs time. Ex. 2 o'clock = 2 steps, 6 o'clock = 6 steps etc. etc. The wolf will then turn his back to the group again for them to yell "what’s the time...." (He looks at the group only when he shouts the time at the group". When the group gets close to the wolf the next time the group yells "what’s the time Mr. Wolf" the wolf will say 'DINNER TIME" and run after the group who are running back to the start line, and hopefully catch one of the group who will then be the wolf or join him to become a pack of wolves.

La araña (The Spider) from Mexico

Have the group stand on one side of the court. One person is IT and is in the space between these lines.. When IT says "¡Araña!" ("Spider!) everybody has to cross to the other line. If IT touches someone, the touched player and IT links by hands and, from this moment, they are a chain (the spider) which they can't break. When the chain is formed, only the persons in the extremes can touch the players that run from a line to the other. The game ends when everybody has been touched. The last person to be touched by IT is the new IT.

French Jackie – From France and England

One is chosen to stand alone; the other players join hands and form a circle. The one outside the circle goes round it and touches on the back one of the circle. He then runs off round the outside of the circle, and the one who was touched runs off in the opposite direction round the outside of the circle. The aim of each player is to reach the vacant place in the circle first. The one left out has to repeat the same action.

July 2009 Activity ideas obtained from ACES staff and public domain materials

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