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Multicultural Camp Guide • Week 7

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Camps at Home series this summer, and have been inspired to create, play, learn, and grow in a variety of ways.  This final week is a joint effort to bring our community something extra special. 

Gilbert House Children’s Museum partnered with the Salem Multicultural Institute this summer to create Multicultural Camp in a Bag. One thousand bags with craft supplies were distributed to families through Mano a Mano, Dream Center, and the Salem Keizer School District lunch program.  

Salem Multicultural Institute was created in 1997 with the belief that the key to developing a culturally rich Salem is broad based community involvement. Their most visible effort is the World Beat Festival. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, World Beat Festival was not held this summer and their gallery remains closed. 

Our organizations have worked together over the years and this summer we wanted to achieve our missions despite the challenges of the pandemic by bringing cultural crafts to children in our community. We are excited to share with you the crafts and their inspiration in this electronic format. 


  • Have fun!
  • Learn about another culture
  • Build fine motor skills
  • Inspire creative expression in young children


  • 4 sheets of origami paper
  • 1 sheet of printer paper
  • paper plate
  • crayons

The amount of prep work required will depend upon the age of your child.  We encourage you to have your child do as much of the work as possible.  The learning takes place through the process.

#1. Origami

Create a drinking cup, hat, pelican, and more using the Japanese art of folding paper.  Access patterns and instructions here.

#2. Maasai Necklace

The Maasai tribe live in Kenya and northern Tanzania on the east coast of Africa. The Maasai use natural resources around them to create their jewelry, such as: clay, wood, copper, brass and glass. The colors used in the beadwork have the following meanings: 

  • Red for bravery and unity 
  • Blue for energy and the sky 
  • Orange and yellow symbolize hospitality 
  • White, which is the color of milk, represents peace, purity and health.  
    • Cows are important in Maasai culture and milk is important in both rituals and everyday life. 
  • Green for health and land 
  • Black represents the people and the struggles they must go through. 

To make your necklace:

  1. Cut a ‘v’ in the top of a paper plate. 
  2. Cut out the circle in the middle of the plate. Make sure that the opening is wide enough for a child to safely wear as a necklace. 
  3. Color the rim of the plate. Make up your own design using different shapes and colors. 

#3. Día de los Muertos

Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a two-day Mexican festival that takes place November 1 (All Saints Day) and 2 (All Souls Day). People wear wooden skull masks called calacas and dance in honor of their deceased relatives. The wooden skulls are then placed on altars, called ofrendas. Ofrendas are decorated with marigolds, calaveras (skulls), favorite foods and items and photographs of the deceased. Today, it is common to see masks made of paper, clay or painted on the person’s face with face paint. View a mask template here

What ways do you honor your deceased relatives and loved ones in your own heritage or religion? 

#4. Nowruz (Persian New Year)

Explore the significance of foods and objects as related to the Persian New Year, through this coloring page.  Which foods and symbols in your own heritage remind you of the new year? 

Persian New Year symbols: 

  • Grass symbolizes rebirth and growth 
  • Garlic represents health and medicine 
  • Apple symbolizes health and beauty 
  • Vinegar for long life and patience 
  • Olives for love and compassion 
  • Coins represent wealth and prosperity 
  • Hyacinth flower represents the arrival of spring 

#5. Social Distancing Ideas

We did not gather for World Beat Festival or events at Gilbert House Children’s Museum this summer, but you can still learn about your own heritage or other cultural traditions in creative ways at home. Here are a few ideas: 

  1. Call a grandparent and ask them about a food they remember from their childhood that was important in their family. What was the significance or traditions associated with this food? Have them share the recipe or look for a similar one online. Make the food and let them know what you think of it. 
  2. Find a folktale from another country in a book or online. Are their similarities to folktales retold in your family? What are the differences? Act out the folktale for a friend or relative using a video call platform. 
  3. Learn a song for young children in another language. Call a friend or relative to sing the song for them. Let them know what you learned about the song and the meaning of the lyrics. 

Learning Together:

A World of Kindness by Anne Featherstone

Words to Love by Rick Warren

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

Outside My Window by Linda Ashman

Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller

Around the World...

What is Culture?

Cultures of the World:  A fun overview of the world cultures for kids

World Beat Wednesdays

Gilbert House Children's Museum

116 Marion St NE Salem, OR 97301