Kwanzaa Chain Craft

Easy to make paper chain with printable Kwanzaa symbols

This Kwanzaa Chain is a simple project that can be used to teach the littlest crafters the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday but a cultural one with a spiritual quality. Many children celebrate both Christmas and Kwanzaa so gather friends around and let them join in the fun by making their own Kwanzaa Chain.


The name Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits.”

  • Red, Green and Black Construction Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Magazines (Optional)
  • Black Marker
  1. You print out the colored symbols we have provided to glue to your Kwanzaa Chain or you can have the children cut pictures out of magazines.
  2.  Cut 1 1/2 inch strips out of the construction paper. We wrote the names of the seven symbols on the red and green strips and glued pictures on the black one.
  3.  After you have finished decorating the strips, form a circle with the first strip and glue the ends together. Loop the next strip inside that circle and glue the ends to start forming your chain. Continue until you have used up all your strips.
  4.  If you are working in a group you might want to connect all of the chains together to signify the unity of the group.

The Symbols of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa has seven basic symbols and two supplemental ones. Each represents values and concepts reflective of African culture and contributive to community building and reinforcement. The basic symbols in Swahili and then in English are:

Mazao (The Crops)
These are symbolic of African harvest celebrations and of the rewards of productive and collective labor.

Mkeka (The Mat)
This is symbolic of our tradition and history and therefore, the foundation on which we build.

Kinara (The Candle Holder)
 This is symbolic of our roots, our parent people — continental Africans.

Muhindi (The Corn)
This is symbolic of our children and our future which they embody.

Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles)
These are symbolic of the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, the matrix and minimum set of values which African people are urged to live by in order to rescue and reconstruct their lives in their own image and according to their own needs.

Kikombe cha Umoja (The Unity Cup)
This is symbolic of the foundational principle and practice of unity which makes all else possible.

Zawadi (The Gifts)
These are symbolic of the labor and love of parents and the commitments made and kept by the children.

The two supplemental symbols are:

Bendera (The Flag)
The colors of the Kwanzaa flag are the colors of the Organization Us, black, red and green; black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle. It is based on the colors given by the Hon. Marcus Garvey as national colors for African people throughout the world.

Nguzo Saba Poster (Poster of The Seven Principles)

Patterns, Templates and Printables

Click on a pattern to open it in a new window to print



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