African Folk Tale:
Make Anansi the Spider
Snack: Another folk tale involving a
spider is about Little Miss Muffet, who sat on a tuffet (kind of like an
ottoman or cushion), eating her "curds and whey." That's pretty close to
fruit-flavored yogurt with a spoonful of granola on top - though OURS sounds
LOTS better. So have your modern-day "curds and whey" with a glass of milk.
Library book, "Anansi the Spider"
Scissors | 4 giant pipe cleaners | 1 pompom
Glue | Paper punch | Colorful paper scraps
The people of
Ghana, a country in West Africa, have a favorite folk tale. A folk tale is a
story that isn't often written down. Usually, it is told aloud down through the
generations, and everybody remembers it from year to year, and maybe adds a
little of their own extras as they tell it.
Imagine a storytelling session around a
campfire or at your fireplace, with your great-grandma and your grandma and
your mom and brothers and sisters and friends . . . folk tales are really fun,
both to tell and to hear.
A folk tale didn't really happen, but in
your imagination, it COULD have happened, and that makes it magical and fun.
People made up folk tales to try to
explain things in the world to children, or to express joy and happiness. It's
a great way for a culture to hand down its beliefs and traditions from one
generation to the next. Lots of times, a folk tale was a culture's best
explanation or guess about things that we didn't have enough science and
technology to really understand.
A lot of folk tales are about animals
which have super powers. The people of Ghana, who are called the "Ashanti"
people, tell one about a spider named "Anansi."
Notice the gorgeous art work in the book.
These illustrations are based on the graphic arts of the Ashanti people. They
are famous for their bold, colorful designs on the silk fabrics that they weave
for clothing and decorations. They use a lot of symbols to represent things
they could see in nature.
Now make your own Anansi or a new spider
creation. It will help you remember this story! You can use it to act out the
Anansi folk tale for someone else, or make up a new one all your own:
1. Line up four pipe cleaners of equal
length, side by side.
2. Grasp them with both hands, and tightly
twist them together in the middle, twisting three times.
3. Now take each of the eight "legs" one at
a time, and bend it up and fold it in half. Press tightly on the fold to make
it like a spider's leg joint.
4. At the bottom of each spider "leg," bend
a little foot outwardly so that the spider will stand up.
5. Repeat that process for the other seven
6. Bend the legs around and work with your
creature until it will stand straight up.
7. Glue or hot-glue a pompom to the front
midsection to be the body/head.
8. To make your spider look more like Anansi,
or a new friend for him . . . punch out and cut out eyes, eyebrows and other
graphic details of Anansi's body as seen in the illustration from the book, and
glue or hot-glue them onto your spider.