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Corn Kernel Mosaic Art

This activity is a two-for-one. The children can help you color the kernels and they’ll love making their own mosaics after. Bonus: any leftover dyed corn kernels make a great medium for a sensory bin! Traditionally, corn is seen as a symbol for Kwanzaa. Muhindi (pronounced moo-heen-dee) is corn and is one of the 7 symbols used in Kwanzaa. It represents the children and the future.

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Activity PDF

Create colorful and bright corn mosaics to learn about the holiday of Kwanzaa!

This activity is a great way to get children to practice their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. You can opt to have the children create their own pattern and design or help create one for them using an outline. Children will love the bright colors of the corn and will have so much fun choosing how they decorate their mosaic.

📚Get inspired: “The Gifts of Kwanzaa” by Synthia Saint James is a great resource to learn about the history of Kwanzaa.

❗ New word alert! There are 7 Principles and 7 Primary Symbols that are related to Kwanzaa. The word Kwanzaa is also spelled with 7 letters!

🌽 Did you know? Ugali is a type of porridge that is often consumed in Tanzania and is made from corn.

Materials

For this activity you will need:

Large Ziploc bags

Rubbing alcohol

Food coloring

Dried corn kernels

Cups for the kernels

Card stock

White glue

Pencil (optional)

Child-sized tweezers (optional)

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Physical

Skills

FIne Motor

Indicators:

Using the pincer grasp to hold objects.

Instructions

Step 1:

Start by dying your corn kernels. Have the children choose the colors and decide how many drops of coloring should go into each color. The more drops of color, the darker the color.

Step 2:

Next, measure out corn kernels into Ziploc bags, about 1 cup of kernels per color. Add in your food coloring into each bag and 1 tsp of rubbing alcohol into each bag. Seal up the bag and shake it up until all of the kernels are covered in food coloring.

Step 3:

Lie the bag flat and let it dry overnight.

Step 4: 

Once the kernels are dry, split them into cups, one color in each cup.

Step 5:

Next, invite your child to create a pattern or picture using the kernels. They’ll place a thin layer of glue down onto their paper where they want the kernels to go first and then place the kernels on top.

Step 6:

Let it dry for a few hours and hang to display!

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Encourage older children to create patterns and abstract art using the corn kernels.

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Help younger children by giving them shapes to have them fill full of the kernels. A blank canvas may be a bit overwhelming for them.

Playful Questions

How many corn kernels did you fit into your small circle?

Can you create a pattern with two colors of the corn kernels?

What do you notice about the corn kernels and their color as you place the corn on top of the glue?

What happens to the kernels when they get really hot?