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Kwanzaa Crafts

African Gold Weights

African Gold Weights, an ancient form of African currency, is a fun Kwanzaa craft for kids -- and makes an excellent gift for the holidays.

What You'll Need:



Hot water



Mixing spoon

Craft stick


Oven mitts

Gold paint


Before European coins or paper money reached Africa, gold weights were used. These weights were in the shape of different animals: goats, chameleons, birds, porcupines, snakes, and frogs.

To make the clay, mix 1 cup salt into 1-1/2 cups hot water. Ask an adult to help you so you don't burn yourself. When the mixture cools, add 1 cup flour, and mix until smooth. Add another cup of flour and continue to mix with a spoon. Add the last 1-1/2 to 2 cups flour by kneading the clay with your hands. If the clay is sticky, add more flour. If it is dry, add a little more water, a few drops at a time.

Ask an adult to preheat the oven to 300 degrees. When your clay is ready, roll it flat with a rolling pin on a floured counter. Use a craft stick to draw the outline of each animal -- each should be 3 or 4 inches long. To make a snake, roll a rope and coil it around.

Use a spatula to lift the animals off the counter and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake the animals for 30 minutes.

When cool, paint the animals gold. Start your own collection or give them away as gifts.

Now that you're well on your way to start a collection of gold weights, you'll need a place to put them. Learn how to make a Kwanzaa bag with our next project.

For more fun activities and crafts for kids, see: