We have been studying about Native Americans. To accompany our study we did following activities:
Kids made medicine bags with their grandmother. They carried these bags during our trip to DC and enjoyed it so much that their grandmother made medicine bags for every kid that came to Kabir’s birthday party. She actually single-handedly made more than 30 medicine bags!
My friend, Catherine Crews gave a tipi for my kids. It is just perfect for us while studying about Native Americans. They have been playing in there and sometimes, we read Native American stories inside the tipi.
Kids made Native American symbols on the stones and used them for storytelling. We got the idea for storytelling stones and Native American symbols online.
We visited Smithsonian National Museum of Native Americans in Washington DC for two days. It was Kabir’s favorite museum in Washington DC. At the museum, kids made dragon fly with corn husk and gold lockets.
Also, we visited Chickasaw Nation and learnt about Chickasaw Indians that lived in and near Tupelo. This was our favorite field trip of the year!
We got a map of United States and Kabir marked all the Native American regions. Then we made models of the houses of different Native American regions.
Plains Indians – lived in tipi. We got the template for tipi online.
North-eastern woodlands – there are many varieties of houses in this region. We chose to make models of only two – wigwam and longhouse. We got the instructions for longhouse online. Kids made wigwams entirely on their own while I was searching for instructions online. So, wigwam is the most impressive model for me.
South-eastern stilt house – perfect for marshy lands and very hot weather. Many Native Indian tribes, such as Chickasaw Indians in south-eastern region also made summer and winter houses with mud, clay and so on. These summer and winter houses resemble wigwams and longhouses in appearance and so, we didn’t make them.
South-western adobe house – made with clay and water. The houses were on heights and had windows, smoke hole but no doors to prevent the enemies from entering the house. Used ladders to get inside and outside the house.
North-western Indians – made wooden plank houses with totem poles. We got the instructions for totem poles from recyclables online. Kabir and Arjun’s grandfather does whittling and so, he made wooden totem pole for both the kids. Then, the kids painted their wooden totem poles. We used our own idea to make a model of wooden plank house.
We watched following movies with Native American theme: Brother Bear I & II, and The Indian in the Cupboard.
We watched the following movies after reading the book and the movies were a bit of disappointment after book. These were: Pocahontas I & II, Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, and The Sign of the Beaver.
The finale for our Native American study was a Native American party at home when both the kids dressed up in Native American costume, presented all that they have learned and we ate Native American supper which included three sisters (beans, squash and corn) harvest stew, Native American fry bread, and pumpkin pie (made from the blue moon pumpkin that Kabir found when we visited Wise family farms).
This party was continued yesterday as we celebrated Thanksgiving with our homeschool friends. Most kids dressed up as either Native American or Pilgrims. Kabir and Arjun dressed up as Native American. Both of them made pumpkin pie and three sisters harvest stew themselves, needing help for only things that an adult can do. We literally ate a feast at this Thanksgiving party. We also had a Thanksgiving tree where each one of us added a paper leaf on which we wrote down what are we thankful for. Kids played as if there is no tomorrow (4 hours) – they hit each other with noodle, climbed trees, got completely soaked and muddy in the creek (Oh yes!) and so much of outdoor fun that can neither be captured in words nor photos. You just have to witness something like this and it gets imprinted in your heart as a happy memory forever.