Mauritania Flag Banner {Tutorial}

Arab American Heritage Month seems like a great time to continue our quest to learn about all the different countries in the Arab League. We settled on Mauritania, which became a member in 1973.

 

Mauritania (Arabic: موريتانيا) is located in the Maghreb region of Africa.  It is boarded  by Morocco/Western Sahara to the north, Algeria in the northeast, Mali in the east/southeast, Senegal to the southwest and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

 

The capital is Nouakchott, right on the Atlantic Ocean, as the majority of the country is covered by the sand of the Sahara Desert.

 

The flag of Mauritania is very unusual because it only contains the colors gold and green and not the common flag colors in all other world flags: red, white or blue.  It was adopted on April 1, 1959 and consists of a green background with a central upward pointed crescent moon and star.

 

The gold symbolizes the sands of the Sahara Desert and the green is for Islam, while some consider that green symbolizes a bright future and growth. The crescent and star are also symbols of Islam and seen on other flags such as Turkey, Libya and Tunisia.

 

For this project, we recycled a Styrofoam tray that came with our meat from the grocery store. If you follow our lead, please soak it for a little bit in a mixture of water with a dash of soap/beach. I just added a few drops in a bucket and soaked it for a few minutes.   You can also buy them new, so I included the link below.

Supplies

Styrofoam tray
Xacto
Pencil
Scissors
Glue
Fabric paint
Ribbon
Felt cut into 2.5 x 4 inch pieces
Fabric glue
Printout of 2.5 x 4 inch Mauritania flag

I found a black and white outline of the Mauritania flag and made it the same size as our pre-cut felt pieces. My daughter cut out the flag.

She then cut out the moon and star from the inside of the flag.

She laid out the flag on the Syrofoam and outlined the whole flag first, then the moon and star on a differnet part of the tray.

She used the Xacto to cut out the main flag shape and also the moon and star.

Next she used the flag print out as a guide and glued the cut out moon and star Styrofoam pieces to the Styrofoam flag piece.  This will need to set, so she put it aside for half an hour or so.

Now the fun painting starts! She just squirted the fabric paint directly onto the moon and star.

She positioned the stamp directly over the felt flag, since they were the same size, and pushed down gently to get the paint to transform.  Every time she did a new flag, she added more paint. ( If a child messes up, you can flip it over to use the new side and place the banner against a wall. If your flag is going in a window, wait for the paint to dry, flip your flags over and do the over sides so both can be enjoyed. )

She let the paint dry and came back to used fabric glue to add a flag to the ribbon.  Our ribbons was nice and wide so she could flip it over to give the flag to make a nice trim.

She added the rest of her flags to the ribbon, leaving a few inches in between them. Let the fabric glue dry overnight. I put our banner between two heavy art books to make sure the ribbon stayed folded over the flags while it set.

The best part is now we have a stamp to use on another project later. Or buy more meat and create a whole new stamp to use.

If  you enjoyed making the stamp and would like to try your hand at another, try our Moon & Star Stamp {Tutorial}.

If you enjoyed learning about the Arab world, be sure to visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterst.

Arabic Letter Rose Door Decor {Tutorial}

Spring is in the air now that April is here.  Since it’s Arab American Heritage Month, my daughter and I decided to make a rose wreath for our front door celebrating the Arabic alphabet.

 

The Arabic word for rose is warda, وَرْد, which starts with the letter و.  We took that first letter and used a piece of chipboard, plus silk flowers, to make this simple door decor, in honor of our rose bushes that are started to wake up.

 

We hope you can see how easy it is to make and create your own.

 

Supplies

Chipboard or heavy cardboard
Hot glue
Scissors
Sharpie
Silk roses
Ribbon

 

I downloaded and printed out the letter و for my daughter and she cut it out of paper, flipped it backwards on the chipboard and traced it out with the Sharpie. The “flipping over backwards” will make sense in just a little bit.

She then cut out the letter from the cardboard.  The middle was a little hard for her and I ended up pulling out the Xacto, just FYI.

Here is her letter all cut up and flipped over the correct way.  The reason I had her trace the letter backwards is now the letter edges are clean and free of Sharpie markings.

It’s time to turn on the hot glue to place the silk roses. We laid out a few to see what our design would look like.

This part of the project was great for teamwork. I would glue the back of the roses and my daughter would decide where they went. We glued our three large roses first, then the medium sized roses.  This made tucking in the smaller flowers easier later.

When we were done, we had extra flowers left over. Now we have to think of another craft for them.

We waited a few minutes for the last few roses to dry, then flipped over the letter to add our ribbon.  We cut off a piece and used the hot glue to secure both ends.

We again waited a few minutes for the hot glue to set, then took our rose wreath to the front door for our neighbors to enjoy.

Please visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more fun ways to craft with the Arabic alphabet.

 

April 2017 is National Arab American Heritage Month {Resource}

Did you know that April is National Arab American Heritage Month? This month celebrates the 1,697,570 Arab Americans in the United States (according to the 2010 U.S. Census). They are Americans of Arab ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage or identity.

Definition

Arab Americans trace their ancestry to any of these 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) that all either have Arabic as their primary or secondary language: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Dijbouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

While there may be ethnic or cultural adaptations, or religious similarities (63% of Arab Americans are Christian, 24% are Muslim and 13% list themselves as Other) what really ties them all is the Semitic Arabic language.

There are many different varieties of outfits, national food dishes and/or traditional dance in each of the above listed countries, however, any person can pick up a book or newspaper, Quran or Bible, in any of these 22 countries and still be able to understand the same Classical Arabic words.

History

The first Arabs were brought to America by the the Spanish explorers in the 15th Century as slaves.  By the Revolution War, things had shifted when US needed the Moroccan port of Tangiers and sought recognition.  This recognition was granted in 1777, making Morocco the first country to recognize the United States of America. The fighting armies were also dependent on the horses imported from Algeria to replenished the cavalry.  By the late 18th  century, laws were changed so that Arab Africans could be treated according to the laws for whites and not for those of their sub-Saharian African brothers and sisters.

Arab immigration after that came in waves, usually as a result of specific periods of war or discrimination in their respective mother countries. The most recent immigration wave, created from the Iraqi War, the Syrian Civil War and the attack on Gaza, has caused the United States to issue a MuslimBan against 7 countries, six of which are Arab (Persians in Iran speak Farsi).

Today, a majority of Arab Americans live in metropolitan areas and it’s interesting to note, have twice the American average for postgraduate degrees.

Resources

When I first wanted to introduce my language to my daughters, the only children’s Arabic alphabet poster I found was from a company in DC that had a black border and dark, hard to understand, illustrations.  It was so depressing for a children’s room. I had just sewn a bear sailor nursery set and the colors were all primary: reds, blues, yellows, and greens.  I wanted an Arabic poster in her room to reflect that brightness and cheerfulness that belong in an environment for a baby.

That was when I got together with an ex-coworker, who just happened to be a published children’s illustrator, and created the Arabic Alphabet Animal poster. I started selling it small, first on Etsy, then on Zibbet, before I tried my hand on Amazon and at local festivals. Soon the Arab American Museum in Dearborn, MI wanted some and before long, it was selling at the Smithsonian African American Museum in Washington, DC.  From there, I bought a button machine and made magnets.

Since then, we have gone on to make game cards, via a Kickstarter campaign and recently have debuted the Arabic Animal Color Poster.  My husband even helped develop a free app last year. It’s very basic, but he was excited to learn new coding since he’s not working at the moment.  I designed free coloring pages as an incentive to join my mailing list (which only gives you a heads up that a blog post is ready for you to come and enjoy).

 

Other then products for our home, I wanted to teach my daughters more about the language spoken by their ancestors.  I started blogging lullabies in Arabic, number games, and DIY crafts that include Arabic words. and letters. More can be found on ACraftyArab Blog on Pinterest.

I tried to vary the learning methods, sometimes making  capital word searches and word origin crossword puzzles. I made sure to share them on ACraftyArab Printabales on Pinterest too.

I filled their bookshelves with dictionaries, folktales, and toys that reflected their world in Arabic and English. I use these books to teach not only about the Arab world, but show them that they are can stand tall as strong, athletic, and kind. Since I am raising girls who will one day become women, I remind them that they come from a long line of those before them that were brilliant and artistic.

Not that I didn’t share an occasional food recipes with them, though. Talking to them about the spices and regional dishes of Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine helps keep the language alive too.


For the rest of April, we’ll be adding more posts about the culture, food and language of Arabs and their diaspora. We hope you follow along and share it with your friends.

Keep Learning:

To learn about other world languages, follow along on the TOP Kids Language Resources for your Language Learners. I am so honored to have been asked to be a part of this round up and share our Arabic resources with you.

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