Not many of us are aware, but it’s the United Nations Day on the 24th of October. It’s actually just one day in the United Nations week, from 20th to 26th October. The day is supposed to be a holiday in the member states of the UN, so if you live in one such state, you probably already know!
So why are we talking about the UN today? Teaching kids about the United Nations, opens up several conversations, especially since the UN’s work extends to organizations like WHO, UNESCO etc. It’ll help kids to know that the problems being handled by these organizations are essentially human problems that are common across the world. It’s also great to learn about how all countries are involved with the United Nations in some manner or the other. The UN website has many valuable resources including pictures, facts and more; you can check them out here.
This year, on UN Day, artist Cristobal Gabarron will unveil his sculpture in New York’s Central Park. Now, not all of us can make it to Central Park in time to see the sculpture being unveiled, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t do some art and craft of our own! So this UN day, we’re going to make a simple replica of the iconic United Nations Headquarters in New York. It’s a simple craft, but one that we hope will bring up many questions!
United Nations Headquarters Model study unit
What you’ll need:
- A square or rectangular piece of strong cardboard or plywood for the base
- Cardstock in grey and light blue
- Boxes in assorted sizes, preferably rectangular, for the buildings
- Plain white paper
- An empty biscuit/cookie wrapper; the plastic kinds with moulds for the cookies
- Blue Pipe cleaners
- Blue Foam
- Blue and Green Play dough
- Colored sharpies/sketch pens
1. Cover the base with grey paper. This is your base. With pencil, lightly mark approximate positions for your buildings. (Check the image for a labelled view of each building)
2. Cover your buildings with white paper. Alternatively, you can also paint them white, but it will take longer and will require more than one coat. We used soap, deodorant, toothpaste and biscuit boxes. Go recycling!
3. Now cut out pieces of grey cardstock to cover the front and top of some of the boxes, to prevent an all-white look and to give the buildings some personality. For the main Secretariat building, Alternate blue and grey cardstock to make it look like those iconic blue windows.
4. You can see that the building on the left side has a dome on it. That is the dome of the General Assembly building. For this, you can use anything that resembles a dome. Here we’ve used a biscuit mould, lined with grey cardstock. When all your buildings are ready, stick them in the positions you marked on the base.
5. For the fountain, cut out a circle of blue foam and stick it in front of the Secretariat building. Stick a biscuit mould on top of the foam to act as a placeholder. Now cut pieces of blue pipe cleaner and stick into a piece of blue play dough to look like a fountain. Place this arrangement in the placeholder.
6. For the flags, you have two options: you can either download and print out the flags or you can draw them yourself. We’ll encourage the kids to draw the flags since it’ll encourage them to learn and remember better. You can draw as many flags as you like, and of any country – this is after all, a learning activity!
7. Once your flags are ready, stick them onto toothpicks with tape. Place small balls of green play dough to resemble bushes along the front of the headquarters; don’t block the entrance! Stick each flag into a play dough ball and ensure they’re stable.
Your UN Headquarters is ready!! This is perfect for young kids, but older kids can add several more details. More flags, bushes, details on the buildings etc. Every detail means extra learning, and who knows, maybe even Mom and Dad can learn a few new things!!