23 Fun Kwanzaa Activities, Games, & Ideas for Work

By: | Updated: August 29, 2023

You have found our list of the best Kwanzaa activities, games, and ideas for work.

Kwanzaa activities are fun events and activities for celebrating the cultural holiday Kwanzaa. This holiday is a time to honor and uplift the African heritage. These activities include holding a candle-lighting ceremony, a karaoke party or sing-along, and giving gifts. The purpose of these activities is to help participants reflect on the African culture and foster unity among individuals of African descent.

Kwanzaa activities are holiday party ideas and are similar to end of year celebrations, Juneteenth celebrations, and Diwali celebrations. Celebrating Kwanzaa in the workplace encourages diversity and inclusion and holiday team building.


This article includes the following:

  • Kwanzaa activities for adults
  • Kwanzaa team building activities
  • Kwanzaa party ideas for work
  • Kwanzaa games

Here we go!

List of Kwanzaa activities, games, and ideas for work

Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration observing African heritage and recognizing those of the African diaspora. This holiday starts the day after Christmas and ends on New Year’s Day. Kwanzaa is a perfect time to reflect on faith, community, and individual and organizational impact. Here are some Kwanzaa activities for adults to help businesses celebrate the holiday and incorporate its principles into their company culture.

1. Discussions around the Principles of Kwanzaa

Like any holiday, it is a nice thought to set aside some moments to think about why folks celebrate. Chatting and thinking about the key ideas of Kwanzaa can be a wonderful thing to do together while celebrating Kwanzaa at work. These ideas are about coming together, making decisions for ourselves, and working and taking responsibility as a group. Additionally, teams can discuss handling money together, having goals, being creative, and having faith. You can suggest having open talks and letting colleagues talk about their own stories linked to these ideas.

2. Indoor and Outdoor Decorations

A fantastic way to feel the Kwanzaa spirit is to give the office space a festive makeover. Corn has a big meaning during Kwanzaa, and corn on the cob is usually a top pick for decorations. Making corn husk decorations or putting corn by the entrance is a nice approach to greet folks and bring the Kwanzaa feel to the office. Using red, green, and black fabrics is awesome for sprucing up the workplace and getting the right atmosphere. Involving the team in decorating will boost bonding and teamwork and give them chances to enjoy each other’s company.

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3. Candle Making Workshop

Infusing your Kwanzaa celebration with creativity might involve organizing a candle-making workshop. You can collaborate with local artisans or craft instructors who can guide participants through the candle-making process. First, choose a venue with ample workspace and ensure you have all the necessary materials, including wax, wicks, and molds. Then, invite employees to immerse themselves in the art of candle making while discussing the significance of candles in African culture. Through this hands-on experience, each participant will craft a unique candle that embodies the principles of Kwanzaa. This experience fosters a sense of pride and connection within your team.

4. Candle-Lighting Ceremony

Lighting the candles is a special part of Kwanzaa, and it is a wonderful chance to gather employees for some enjoyable moments. You can begin with the black candle that stands for the first principle of Kwanzaa, unity. After that, each day for the next six days, light the candles from the left side to the right, following the order of the principles. A senior leader from the company can guide this process, or the whole team can do the ceremony together. This tradition really helps build stronger connections and a sense of togetherness among colleagues.

5. Honor for Ancestors

One of the main goals of Kwanzaa is to value African culture worldwide and pay respect to our ancestors by thinking about them. Starting the Kwanzaa celebration, participants pour liquids into a unity cup to honor those who have come before us. Organizers can set up a time to acknowledge those who fought for freedom and those who have passed away. The oldest individual at the event or a senior leader from the company can lead this part.

6. Story Sharing

Telling stories is a big part of Kwanzaa, and this activity can bring a lot of energy and enjoyment to the celebration. There are enjoyable ways to include stories, like dancing, singing, and telling tales. Teammates can take turns sharing their favorite Kwanzaa memories or stories they have heard from their family’s older members. Sharing stories will create a lively and enjoyable atmosphere as well as a strong feeling of togetherness and pride in sharing a wonderful culture.

You can make a comfy space for team members to share their own stories about Kwanzaa’s seven principles. This method is a great way to create connections and trust among colleagues and promote understanding and caring.

7. Kwanzaa Display

This activity is a great way to kickstart the Kwanzaa celebrations. Staff members come together to set up a display representing Kwanzaa’s seven principles.

​Here is a step-by-step guide to arranging this display:

  1. Decorate a display table in festive cloth using one of the three Kwanzaa colors or traditional African material.
  2. Put a mkeka mat at the center of the table.
  3. Place the kinara, which is the candleholder, on the mat.
  4. Light the central black candle symbolizing your commitment to Umoja.
  5. Put the Kikombe cha Umoja, or the unity cup, on the mat. You can put the cup on either side of the candleholder or in front of the black candle.
  6. Fill a bowl with vegetables, nuts, fruits, or all of the above, and place it close to the kinara.
  7. Lay some ears of corn on the table to honor children in the community.
  8. Place gifts around, on top, or under the table.

Setting up this display is a great way to unite workers and honor each day of Kwanzaa.

8. Office Feast

Kwanzaa is all about bringing folks together. A Kwanzaa feast is a special event that helps individuals connect with their African heritage. This feast is one of the top Kwanzaa party ideas for work and usually includes enjoyable games, cultural showcases, and delicious African-American foods. Traditionally, this feast happens on December 31st and is a joint effort where the whole group participates.

This activity involves welcoming, reflecting on, and reaffirming the African-American culture. Participants share drinks from a shared cup, called the Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around.

The entire office chips in by creating flags, crafting a homemade kinara, and making a woven mat. The feast concludes with a goodbye message and a call for stronger togetherness.

9. Kwanzaa Workshop

A key reason for celebrating Kwanzaa is to reflect on the important ideas and values of African heritage. Since your team might have folks from different backgrounds, organizing a workshop to educate about Kwanzaa and its principles is a smart suggestion. This workshop could involve learning from history books about African-American culture and history. This experience is a hands-on and educational approach for employees to observe the holiday and understand more about African-American culture.

Here are more office workshop ideas.

10. Employee Talent Show

You can make the office environment exciting by having teams participate in a talent show. This event could involve showcasing art, dancing, poetry, or singing. Adding live African drumming to the mix can make it even more lively and enjoyable. Employees can wear African cultural clothing to pay tribute to their African roots. Additionally, you can highlight Black-owned vendors during the event, showcasing their creativity and products to the participants.

Check out this guide to staff talent shows.

11. Goal-Setting Sessions

A valuable Kwanzaa team building activity is to plan goals for the upcoming year. Organizers can arrange a session where employees can think about the year ahead and talk about their own and the company’s goals. This experience can happen on the fifth day, focusing on Nia, the principle of purpose. Alternatively, teams can hold this activity on the final day, representing Imani, the principle of faith. Making this session interactive and inspiring for reflection and progress is important. During the session, team members can discuss important achievements from the past, share what they have learned, and express their aspirations for the future.

Here are more goal-setting activities.

12. Kwanzaa Trivia

To add fun to your game night, consider making a Kwanzaa trivia game with questions about the holiday’s background, symbols, and customs. You can use online tools to create interesting questions, or you can craft your own using research. This game is a wonderful approach to liven up the holiday atmosphere at work and foster a strong bond among coworkers. An enjoyable and hands-on method to mark the holiday in the office is by dedicating a time for Kwanzaa games and activities.

Here are more trivia games for adults.

13. Kwanzaa-Themed Movie

During the Kwanzaa festive week, you can allocate time for employees to explore educational content related to Kwanzaa. A fantastic way to discover more about the holiday is by watching films that highlight African-American history and culture, like Roots and 12 Years a Slave. There are also informative documentaries available that delve into Kwanzaa’s key principles. Alternatively, you can enjoy movies that showcase Black happiness. Black filmmakers and storytellers have created many excellent films in recent years, providing plenty of options for your event. Participating in this activity as a team or company can be an enjoyable and educational approach to celebrating the holidays and learning about African-American culture.

14. Kwanzaa Potluck

Food is always a highlight of any holiday, and Kwanzaa is no different. A fantastic way to celebrate the holiday at work is to encourage colleagues to bring a dish representing their cultural background or their take on Kwanzaa.

A popular main dish for Kwanzaa meals is a braised or stewed dish from different cultures, like:

  • Ghanaian groundnut stew
  • Curry dishes from West Indian or South African cuisines
  • Philadelphia pepper pot stew
  • Jambalaya
  • Nigerian jollof rice
  • Senegalese thieboudienne

This activity is a wonderful method to pay tribute to the diverse cultures of the African diaspora while also joining in the sense of togetherness and community.

15. Local Celebrations

You can ensure your employees have a whole day of joyful celebration by looking for a local event in your city. Many Kwanzaa events across the country celebrate the holiday and allow folks to enjoy its spirit in style. Attending one of these celebrations can be a great way for your team to relax and have fun outside the usual office environment. These events usually include special performances, readings, and displays from vendors.

Check out more team celebration ideas.

16. Gift Exchange

A fundamental principle of Kwanzaa is the sharing of gifts, and each gift carries a special meaning. When celebrating Kwanzaa, coworkers pair up to exchange gifts. There is no strict rule about the type of presents to give during this time. However, the emphasis is on spending time and consideration to offer distinctive gifts.

These presents might include handmade keepsakes, educational books by African-American writers, or personalized items linked to African-American culture. This activity is an excellent method to encourage a sense of giving and gratitude among colleagues.

Here are more gift exchange ideas.

17. Cultural Performance

Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday, and one way to celebrate the holiday is to incorporate activities that showcase African culture. Organizers can put employees into groups, and each group presents a cultural performance to their colleagues. Alternatively, the company may invite a local cultural group to perform traditional African-American music or dance. This activity can be a great way to learn about African-American culture and celebrate the spirit of Kwanzaa.

18. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Day four of Kwanzaa is about cooperative economics, and a great way to mark this holiday is to support Black-owned businesses. You and your team can patronize local stores, shops, and businesses. You can prioritize using Black vendors to cater, decorate, and entertain during holiday parties. Also, you can use Black-owned small businesses for employee gifting and care packages. In addition, you can promote your favorite brands and local businesses during the holidays and beyond and encourage employees to do the same.

19. Karaoke Party or Sing-Alongs

A karaoke party is one of the best ways to introduce fun to any holiday celebration. Having workers show off their singing talents and sing along to their favorite Kwanzaa songs will help to add some laughter and fun to the holiday mood. This activity also allows employees to bond and spend time cheering each other on. At the end of the karaoke party, the best performers may get gifts, fun titles, and rewards. The team can either hold this activity at a karaoke bar or set up a virtual karaoke night.

20. Kwanzaa-Inspired Crafts

One of the best Kwanzaa team building activities is to set up a crafting station where colleagues can make Kwanzaa-inspired crafts. Workers can split into groups, create Kwanzaa items, and present them to the whole office. Such crafts include a kinara candleholder, a mkeka mat, a kente cloth bookmark, or a unity cup. This activity can be a fun and creative way to celebrate the holiday while promoting teamwork.

21. Volunteer Work

Ujima, the third principle of Kwanzaa, is about collective work and responsibility. This day aims to collectively build the community, identify problems around us, and work together to solve these problems. As a company, volunteering is the best way to give back to the community. Therefore, it is essential to inform and educate employees on the need for the project, how it helps the community, and the personal and professional rewards.

One way to give back to the community is to engage staff members in a community service project and donate to a charity that supports African-American communities, such as the NAACP and the UNCF. Employees can also volunteer at a local community center to contribute to positive growth and build a better community.

Check out this list of group volunteer opportunities.

22. Kwanzaa Scavenger Hunt

You can organize a Kwanzaa-themed scavenger hunt where teams must search for items that represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

These principles include:

  • Umoja, or unity
  • Kujichagulia, or self-determination
  • Ujima, or collective work and responsibility
  • Ujamaa, or cooperative economics
  • Nia, or purpose
  • Kuumba, or creativity
  • Imani, or faith

​Participants must find the items within a set period. This activity is a fun and interactive way to learn about Kwanzaa and build teamwork skills.

Here are more scavenger hunt ideas for adults.

23. African-American Art Exhibition

Transforming your office space into a captivating African-American Art Exhibition can be a remarkable way to celebrate Kwanzaa and honor the cultural richness of the holiday. You can collaborate with local artists who specialize in African-American art, curating a diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and crafts that reflect the rich history and traditions. To help viewers learn more about each piece, create informative placards that provide insights into the artists’ backgrounds and the stories behind each artwork. Also, encourage colleagues to explore the exhibition, sparking conversations about the significance of art and its role in preserving heritage. This engaging setup invites the whole team to immerse themselves in the beauty and diversity of African-American art.


Celebrating Kwanzaa in the workplace can be an excellent opportunity to build a positive and inclusive work environment that celebrates diversity and the spirit of Kwanzaa. These activities help participants meditate on Kwanzaa values and principles and develop ways to incorporate them into their personal and work lives. Kwanzaa activities help create a memorable celebration for colleagues while promoting unity, community, and purpose. These exercises also help increase employee motivation and improve the workplace and community.

Next, check out our lists of holiday icebreaker questions, virtual Black history month ideas, and benefits of diverse workplaces.

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FAQ: Kwanzaa activities

Here are frequently asked questions about Kwanzaa activities, games, and ideas for work.

What are the best Kwanzaa activities for work?

Some of the best Kwanzaa activities to try out at your workplace includes Kwanzaa-inspired crafts, cultural performances, and volunteer work. You can also play Kwanzaa games and host an office potluck commemorating the holiday.

How do you celebrate Kwanzaa in offices?

Celebrating Kwanzaa in offices helps promote team building and provides staff members an opportunity to learn more about the African-American culture. Some ways to celebrate Kwanzaa in offices include setting up decorations, reflecting on the principles of Kwanzaa, and watching a Kwanzaa-themed movie or documentary. Celebrating Kwanzaa in offices can form a positive experience that brings employees together and promotes an inclusive work environment.

Why celebrate Kwanzaa at work?

There are several reasons to celebrate Kwanzaa at work.

​Some of these reasons include:

  • Promoting inclusion and diversity
  • Recognizing and celebrating African-American culture to create a healthy work environment where employees feel valued and respected
  • Emphasizing the importance of community and working together for the common good
  • Recognizing employee diversity
  • Emphasizing shared values and promoting a positive work culture

Celebrating Kwanzaa in the office is a great way to promote diversity, community, shared values, learning, and recognition of employee diversity. These above-listed activities help create a positive and inclusive work environment that supports employees’ well-being and success.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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