STEAM Learning Lab – Juneteenth

Juneteenth
For ages 2 and up

Juneteenth is a celebration of the emancipation of African Americans from slavery. On June 19,1865 news of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in The United States, finally reached Texas. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued in 1863, it took two years for the news to spread throughout the country. Therefore, Juneteenth, also known as “Black Independence Day,” is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and perseverance of African Americans throughout American history.

Throughout America, communities celebrate Juneteenth by hosting parades, rodeos, events in parks, and religious services. Families come together to enjoy good food and company while reflecting on African American heritage and the importance of equality.

Today, we are showcasing some activities you can do with your family to celebrate Juneteenth. Amidst all the fun we suggest you take time to talk with your children about the reason for this holiday, and the importance of continuing to work towards racial equality.

Thank you to the Greater Salt Lake Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for providing this activity and assisting us with our cultural programming!

To learn more about Juneteenth check out these great children’s books, and informative Website. This article offers information about local event happening for this year, https://www.sltrib.com/artsliving/2020/06/14/utahs-juneteenth/


Activities

Paper Quilt

Materials:

  • Construction or printed paper (or color some designs on scrap paper before you start)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Ruler

Directions:

  1. Explain that quilts are a traditional art form, and one that was popular in African American history. Quilts are a way to take leftover fabric and make something beautiful and useful. They can also be a way to record history or tell a story in the fabric. To make a quilt requires sewing skills and planning. Today we are going to make a quilt out of paper
  2. Select a piece of paper that will be the base of your quilt, and measure it so that you have a square that is 6 in x 6 in(or smaller if working with a younger child)
  3. Draw a grid on the paper, drawing a line all the way across the paper horizontally at each inch. Then draw a line lengthwise vertically at each inch.
  4. Cut squares out of the other sheets of paper that are 1 inch by 1 inch. For an 6 in x 6 in quilt you will need 36 squares.
  5. For older children, take some of the squares and cut them in half or in fourths
  6. Put your cut pieces of paper into the grid to make a picture or design. What does your image represent? How does combining pieces of the same color make a shape?

More Fun:

  • Check out Artist Faith Ringgold and her quilts that tell a story and record history. Watch her read her book “Tar Beach” and notice the quilt inspired illustrations.

Popsicle Stick Bracelet

Materials:

  • 1 pot for boiling water in
  • Popsicle sticks (enough for bracelets and a few extra)
  • Jar lid, or cup (a little wider than the wrist of the person who will wear the bracelet)
  • Black, red and green paint
  • Optional: Tape

Directions:

  1. Before you begin, explain to the children why we are making these bracelets, to celebrate Juneteenth. Black, red and green have special significance in African American Culture and appear on the Pan-African Flag. The red symbolizes the noble blood that unites all people of African Ancestry, Black symbolizes the people and green represents the land of Africa. These colors are commonly used in Juneteenth celebrations.
  2. Fill your pot so that it half full of water and start boiling the water.
  3. Put popsicle sticks in the boiling water for 30 minutes
  4. Turn the water off and let the popsicle sticks sit in the pot for another 30 minutes
  5. Fish the popsicle sticks out of the water. They should be pliable. Begin to gently bend them, and slowly put them into the lid of a jar, or at the opening of a glass. Work quickly, and don’t worry if some break-that’s why we made extras.
  6. Let the popsicle sticks dry for several hours or use a hair blow dryer to speed up the drying time
  7. When the bracelets are dry, let kids paint them with the red, black and green paint. Optional: to add interesting designs, apply tape designs to the bracelets before paint. Remove the tape after painting to reveal the designs.

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