Life Necklace

Life Necklace Activity

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Art From Around the World

Did you know that in some African tribes the pattern and colors of beads used in a necklace can tell your life story? Introduce your child to one of the many interesting aspect of African culture while she creates a colorful, beaded necklace.

What You Need:

  • Sketch paper
  • Pencil
  • Beads
  • Length of string or twine
  • Scissors

What You Do:

  1. Start by learning more about the intricate art of African-style beading. Help your child do some research at your local library or online. Offer her a sheet of sketch paper to take notes or create sketches of what she learns.
  2. Offer your child a selection of beads and have her think about what each bead style or color should represent. She can take notes on her ideas and decisions. In certain tribes, larger, more colorful beads signified wealth and stature, and certain colors, like red, represented loss or death.
  3. Now she can use a length of twine or string and begin threading her beads, creating the story of her life, and her hopes and goals for the future. Encourage her to create a key or write a short paragraph to share with others what her colors and patterns represent.
  4. Once she’s finished, your child can tie the ends of her African-style beaded necklace and wear it for others to see. She can also create strands of beads for friends and family!

Did you know: Originally, tribal beads were strung using animal sinew or hair. The lengths of beads were also used to adorn the hair and headdresses worn during special ceremonies.

Sarah Lipoff has a K-12 Art Education degree and enjoys working with kids of all ages.

Updated on Aug 23, 2013
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See more activities in: Fourth Grade, Beads & Jewelry
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