Working other cultures into crafting

Jan 7, 2019

MATTAPOISETT — The children in the Mattapoisett Recreation crafting program never leave Center School, but get a tiny taste of a trip around the world with crafts from other cultures.

The first part of the “Holiday Gift Making and Craft Around the World” program focused on making holiday gifts for loved ones. But after the holidays passed, the crafts continued, stretching across cultures.

On Jan. 7 the children made tiny replicas of African drums, taping the ends of two solo cups together with masking tape, covering the plastic of the cups with the tape, staining the tape with shoe polish to mimic leather, and then using markers to draw custom designs.

Instructor Maria Lynch searched through the internet and Pinterest for ideas that would keep the kids entertained for an hour, while also drawing in other cultures.

“The crafts have to be age appropriate, and we can’t do anything that has to dry,” Lynch explained.

The group for this session is a bit smaller than usual, but Lynch is able to find positives there in terms of the interaction that she and her high school volunteers are able to have with the kids.

“With a small group we can sit and chat a bit more, see how the kids day was,” Lynch said.

Lynch might not have picked the easiest craft for that, as the young students started with a “loudest drumming” competition as soon as a few of them had their drums covered.

Just as quickly, though, they went to the other extreme and started testing out how quietly they could tap their tiny drums and still have them make noise.

“I’ve never had a quietest competition before,” Lynch remarked.

The smaller of the two tables in Center Cafeteria ended up sharing one tin of shoe polish, which required a little coordinating.

“Who needs it next?” one student asked, after rubbing his paper towel full of the polish.

“I need it next!” exclaimed one of his groupmates.

“Of course you do,” he replied cheekily.

Other students played with the drum theme and pulled in rather more modern designs when thinking of decorations.

“I’m going to put a dead face emoji on [my drum] so I can smack it!” one young participant exclaimed.