Kwanzaa Kinara Craft

Lighting and learning the 7 principles of Kwanzaa!

Make a paper roll Kinara for Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa celebrates African American heritage and the name “Kwanzaa” comes from a Swahili phrase meaning “first fruits of the harvest”.

Kwanzaa lasts for seven days and, on each day, one of the candles is lit on the kinara (the Swahili word for “candleholder”).  Each candle represents one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (co-operative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity), and Imani (faith). of the harvest.”  Harvest fruits and vegetables are one of the symbols of Kwanzaa.  Another symbol of Kwanzaa is the kinara.

Teach your children about the meaning of the seven principles of Kwanzaa while making this festive kinara craft!

You’ll Need:

  • 7 toilet paper rolls
  • Red, green, and black construction paper
  • Yellow tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • White glue
  • Black marker


  1. Cut strips of construction paper wide enough to cover the toilet paper rolls.  You’ll need one black piece, three red pieces, and three green pieces.
  2. Wrap each strip of paper around one of the toilet paper rolls and glue down the end.
  3. At the top end of each toilet paper roll, put glue along the inside rim of the roll.
  4. Tear small pieces of the yellow tissue paper and stick them to the inside rim so that they are poking out of the roll (like the flames of the candle).
  5. Arrange your candles on a table.  The black candle should be in the center, the three red candles should be on the left, and the three green candles should be on the right.
  6. Using a marker, write the corresponding principle of Kwanzaa on each candle:
  • Black candle – Umoja
  • Farthest red candle on the left – Kujichagulia
  • Farthest green candle on the right – Ujima
  • Next red candle from the left – Ujamaa
  • Next green candle from the right – Nia
  • Red candle closest to the middle – Kuumba
  • Green candle closest to the middle – Imani

Note: This is the order that the candles on a real kinara are lit!

If you’d like, once your child has completed the kinara craft, hide a small treat or toy inside each candle.  You can reveal the surprises to your child on each day of Kwanzaa!

Happy Kwanzaa!

About The Author

Tara Lo
Tara Lo is an Early Childhood Educator who has worked with children aged 6 months to 12 years in a variety of settings. From day camps to daycare centers, homeless shelters to hotel resorts, and kindergarten classrooms to community centers. Tara is a former writer for Webkinz Jr., where she used her knowledge of child development and all things preschool to help create lovable characters, catchy songs, silly stories, and fun activities. Tara is now a work-at-home mom who splits her days between writing, running a home daycare, and being constantly amazed by her wonderful son.

One Response to Kwanzaa Kinara Craft

  1. sim says:

    nice crafting….