Suggestions for Groups
Here are some suggestions for activities for a group of children. If you are a group leader and you have questions about any of these activities, or have additional suggestions from your own experience, please let us know. Just contact us.
“Use Your Head” Relay Race
Women in Congo often walk long distances carrying bundles on their heads, and the girls in the family learn to do so as well. In this relay, kids can see how well they’d do in Congo.
Prepare ahead of time a bundle of “clothes” or a pot or tray or other item to be carried. It will need to be fairly self-contained, no loose ends flopping around. Line the team up, and each person in turn must carry the bundle on his or her head to a fixed point across the room and then back again to hand it off to the next person. You may want to make a rule that if a bundle drops, that person goes back to the starting (or the halfway) line. You can have the teams run the relay in turn, one team at a time, or both racing at the same time. In that event, you’ll need two bundles, as alike as possible.
“Football” is the name used for “soccer” in Congo, as in much of the world. Boys in Congo love to play soccer, but they don’t often have real soccer balls. So they improvise, using everything from a wad of rags tied up tight to a grapefruit. (We’re not suggesting the grapefruit! If you are playing out of doors and parents won’t mind a little grapefruit juice, you’re welcome to try it — at your own risk!)
Divide the group into two teams and give each team the task of coming up with its own ball. You’ll have to think ahead and make sure that there are some kinds of resources available in the space you’re using. Once both teams have finished their balls, stage a short soccer game, and the ball that lasts the longest is judged the winner.
To add a bit of international awareness, you can make everybody say “football” instead of “soccer” throughout this activity.
This is a very popular African clapping game, often played at school or between household tasks. It is essentially played like the “Rock, Scissors, Paper” game, only it is done with the hands and feet to a clapping beat.
First, the clapping beat: The beat is 1,2,3, pause, 1,2,3, pause, 1!
Second, the action: As the players clap the last, single beat, they jump into the air. Then in a quick motion, as they are about to land, they make their choice.
The choices are:
1. Right foot out in front
2. Left foot out in front
3. Feet split apart side-by-side
If you want, you can make up your own way of scoring these three outcomes. Or you can use “Rock, Scissors, Paper” to help you score. When the right foot is forward you can call that “ROCK,” as it begins with “R.” You can call the split “SCISSORS,” since it begins with “S.” When the left foot is forward, you can call it “PAPER,” the only choice left. (You know how those go, don’t you? The kids will know!)
The players should be looking at each other’s faces and not at their feet. The game can be played with any number of participants or in small groups.
And remember: If you think you’re not doing the game right, don’t worry about it. It’s a game! You can even let the kids make their own rules. If they’re having fun with it, that’s all that counts.
Linked here below are two files: a full-color picture of the flag of the DR Congo and a line drawing of it in PDF format. For younger children, you can make copies of the line drawing and let them color it. You might project the color picture on a screen so they can follow the colors. Older kids might like to transfer the design from the line drawing to a larger paper or even a large piece of cloth, to make a larger flag. A larger paper flag can be colored in with crayons, markers, or paints, a fabric flag with fabric paints.
Click here to view bigger flag
Download PDF here
Congolese Fruit Salad
Find as many typical Congolese fruits as you can: bananas, plantains, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, passion fruit, guava, mango, breadfruit. They have lemon trees and coconut palms as well, so you might add some shredded coconut to the salad, and perhaps toss it in a little lemon juice.
Have the children wash their hands well. Then, depending on the size of the group, have two or more children cooperate on cutting each of the fruits, with a table knife, into pieces of about 1 inch. For fruits that need a sharp knife, have a leader or helper work with those pairs of kids. Group conversation while they’re working could include questions like “Have you ever eaten this fruit (fresh) before?” “Is it hard or easy to cut?” “Is the taste more sweet or sour?” “Does it remind you of any other fruit?” “What do the seeds look like?”
When all the fruits have been cut, have the kids dump them into a large bowl and let a couple of them mix the fruits with large spoons. Pass out paper bowls and let the kids help themselves to the salad. You’ll probably want to have drinks of water on hand, and you can pass crackers and cheese or another compatible snack if you want. You might even invite the parents to share in the event.
If there are health or safety concerns about having the kids participate in preparing the fruits, you or another leader can do it. In that event you could do much of the preparation ahead of time, or you could do it on the spot while talking with the kids along the lines suggested above.
To make the process more interesting, check online for photos of how each fruit grows, printing some out to show the kids what the plants look like and how they grow.