Let’s teach your children about the Native Americans on this special day by making Native American themed crafts with them.
What is National Native American Day?
Native American Day is a holiday celebrated across the United States in lieu of Columbus Day. Within each of these states, Native American Day honors the cultural contributions of Native American communities to the respective state’s history, as well as to the overall country.
When is National Native American Day?
In California and Nevada, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Friday of September (25th Sept 2020), whereas in South Dakota and Wisconsin, it falls on the second Monday of October (12th October 2020).
It’s important to learn & focus on the traditions, culture, and background of Native Americans. It is a day to celebrate the heritage of Native Americans and for both native and non-native cultures to unite so the many aspects of native culture can be shared.
Let’s teach your children about the Native Americans on this special day by making Native American themed crafts with them. Examples of crafts include Native American Indian Doll, Native American Indian Rattle, Native American Tepees, Native American Indian Headdress, Native American Totem Poles, and Native American Dream Catchers.
These crafts will not only keep little ones busy but will also help them learn about the rich culture of the Native American tribes.
9 Native American Crafts for Kids
Adorable and fun-filled hands-on craft activity by funhandprintartblog.com to introduce kids to Native Americans with colors
Tepees are dwellings of the indigenous people made using animal hide or canvas.
Make and decorate a three-dimensional paper teepee Craft while learning about Native American culture. Printable teepee templates are available for easy crafting.
Traditionally the dream catcher is designed to snare bad dreams in its web while allowing good dreams to pass right through. Although the traditional dream catcher is made out of wood, sinew, and other natural materials, kids can make a simple version of some basic household supplies. This super simple dream catcher is made from paper plates and other easily available materials.
According to NativeLanguages.org, the Hopi Indians made Kachina dolls to represent the lives of their spiritual or religious icons. Some of the icons they represent are the singer, the buffalo, the badger, the ogre, the hunter, the rainbow, the eagle, and the sun. The adults in the tribe used the Kachina dolls to teach the children about their culture and religion; as a result, Kachina dolls were not toys.
According to Indians.org, the traditional feathered headdress could be many different colors and feature all kinds of designs. Among the Sioux, the culture thought to have originated the headdress, wearing it signified great power within the tribe. Feathers, sequins, beads, etc are generally used to adorn the headgear
Celebrate Native American culture and learn about Thanksgiving with this Headband! Bright, colorful and easy to make!
There are various types of rattles used to make music during ceremonies and social gatherings. Bark rattles, turtle- shell rattles, and gourd rattles are of the oldest style. Today cow horn rattles have replaced the bark rattles, however, the turtle shell and gourd rattles continue to be used in sacred of ceremonies by some Native groups.
Many Native American Indians expressed themselves with their artwork carved into totem poles.The raising of a totem pole is a big celebration among the Indian tribe. Carvings will represent the tribal nation and will convey the tribesâ history, tradition, and folklore. Many times the story of a totem pole will be passed down from generation to generation.
Traditionally Rain sticks were made out of hollowed and dried cacti which had their exterior thorns removed and hammered back in. Small lava pebbles were inserted, the ends covered with wood, and when the tube was rotated they cascaded over the thorns creating a lovely rain- like sound. They were then used to call upon the gods to provide rain in what were very dry climates.
Making a rainstick is easy to do and great to explore sounds. For kids, you can just fill the tube with rice, beans, pebbles, coins, and some small foil balls–this gives the different sounds wanted to mimic rain.
The Native Americans liked to wear various items of jewelry like necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings.These were made from naturally occurring materials such as various metals, hardwoods, vegetal fibers, or precious and semi-precious gemstones; animal materials such as teeth, bones and hide; or man-made materials like beadwork and quillwork.
This could be a Thanksgiving craft or go with a Jamestown unit or Mayflower unit
Being Culturally Sensitive
Edited to add – There are plenty of ways to teach children about Native American culture without being offensive.
Pow Wow Lesson Plan
Check out traditional Native American gatherings called powwows. This unique lesson plan combines in-depth information about the Gathering of Nations three-day event and other powwows that occur all across the country.
Scholastic Native American History, Culture, and Present Times
The Scholastic organization offers lots of lesson plan options for different grades.
National Education Association (NEA) Lessons
These Native American activities are suggested for November, which is Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month. They have suitable activities & lesson plans for kindergarten through grade 5 with few reaching into the high school years.
Native American Crafts
Far too many “American Indian style” crafts done in schools across the country are culturally insensitive to some degree. Sitting down with your children and taping feathers to a paper headband is not the most appropriate way to explore the truth about Native American culture, I now understand. If you’re a parent or teacher of a young child and you want a great children’s book explaining Thanksgiving and the relationship between the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims, I heartily recommend “Richard Scarry’s The First Thanksgiving of Low Leaf Worm”
Suggested reading –
- Native American Facts for Kids
- Native Americans in the United States – Wikipedia
- Native American Cultures – History Channel
- History of the Native Americans – Indians.org