Grab-N-Go: Crafts around the world series

Enjoy learning how to make simple crafts from all seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America.

4-H origami clover
4-H origami clover. Photo by Janis Brinn, MSU Extension.

A cultural learning opportunity for youth is being created and piloted throughout Michigan with Michigan State University Extension’s 4-H Grab-N-Go Crafts Around the World series. The grab-n-go sheets are designed for learning how to make simple crafts from all seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America and South America.

The purpose is to introduce youth to some simple cultural traditional crafts from around the world. They will journey around seven continents, learning how to make simple crafts and having fun creating. Each activity is written up in a lesson plan format for adult or teen leaders to facilitate.

4-H leader making a craft
4-H leader piloting an activity at the 2020 4-H Winterfest. Photo by Janis Brinn, MSU Extension.

The lesson plans include objectives and education standards for each activity. The objectives are for youth K-12 to learn the cultural history and origins of the craft, find the country on a map and/or globe, develop fine motor skills and increase cultural awareness and creativity. The education standards are for youth to understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture, and at times apply geometric methods to solve design problems.

As a project within Michigan 4-H, experiential learning is also highlighted. Those teaching the craft can help participants reflect on their experiences by using such phrases as “Do it,” “What happened?” “What’s important?” “So what?” and “Now what?”

At the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan, the 2020 Michigan 4-H Winterfest participants got to pilot and try out seven of the activities. Suggestions and comments were added to the pilot activities for improvement, which included an instructional video. The How to Make an Origami 4-H Clover instructional video was created with closed captioning and a link to the video was added to the sheet.

If you would like to test out your origami skills even more, check out the MSU Extension news article, “Why I make Japanese origami cranes,” which also has an instructional video included.

Youth making a craft
Youth participant piloting an activity at the 2020 4-H Winterfest. Photo by Janis Brinn, MSU Extension.

If you would like to pilot one of the activities, please reach out to the MSU Extension children and youth institute leadership/civic engagement team at MSUE.DL.4HLeadership@msu.edu or me, Janis Brinn, at brinn@msu.edu. The current seven continent activities are:

  1. Polish Wycinanki: Traditional cut-paper (Europe)
  2. Huichol Picture: Yarn Art (North America)
  3. Indigenous Art: Aborigional Dot Painting (Australia)
  4. Inuit Soap Stone Carvings: Soap carving (Antarctica)
  5. Paper Beads (Africa)
  6. Rain Sticks (South America)
  7. Origami 4-H Clover (Asia)

More activities for this series will continue to be created for hands-on global and cultural learning with lots of fun. These activities will be piloted and tested even more at the Michigan 4-H Creative Art Celebration on Oct. 17-18, 2020 at the beautiful Kettunen Center in Tustin, which will also include many more creative activities and projects.

Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan 4-H Youth Development program help to prepare youth as positive and engaged leaders and global citizens by providing educational experiences and resources for youth interested in developing knowledge and skills in these areas.

For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

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