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First, A Little Background

I used to teach Native American Customs to 1-4 graders. They LOVED it so much. Each child built a table top tepee from canvas and dowel sticks, much like the real ones, we talked about corn, squash and beans as basic food stuffs, we made and shared bread, we made moccasins from scratch, each child was given a name and a lovely piece of semi precious stone. We talked about finding water, wild plant foraging and the democratic style meetings of the Iroquois...especially how the put such on emphasis on planning with the future generations in mind, and actually having the children attend the meetings. We also made medicine wheels and drew medicine symbols on the tepee.

This information gives the child a real sense of independence, that they have the knowledge and can make their own shelter, clothes and find and grow food. For city kids, this is a great blessing and great healing medicine.

FUN TIME! Kid's Art and Creative Projects

These are tried and true ideas for grades K-12, depending on how complicated you are able to get. Enjoy your time, take your time and have fun!

Where to get materials...

save your jars, containers, boxes, ribbons, strings, buttons from discarded clothes, rip up old toys, take a part anything you toss out, and see if you can use certain parts.

Go to Wal Mart, JoAnns, Hancock Fabrics, Ebay and buy remnants of materials, loose silk flowers and ribbon ends for very low costs.

Ask local businesses if they have any spare packing materials, or anything they usually toss out that is clean and safe to use.

Order butcher paper from your local butcher or online, you can find large rolls that don't cost much to ship.

Where to get inspiration...

I look to the energy of the day, a favorite song, a picture from a magazine, a dream, antique dishes, things that sparkle, nature, animals, sunshine, water, soap bubbles, meditation, deep breathing, a kind act, and on and on.

Here's how I think about it sometimes...

If it is raining, maybe we should build a paper boat.

If it is too sunny, we make an umbrella.

If it is snowing, we might like to make a hat, or blanket. Learn all about snowflake crystals.

If it is just a lovely day, we dance and sing.


Make up your own stories. Start with your favorite animal and think about how some trouble can start, then how your character can save or be saved from the trouble. Have some fun with it and let your imagination go to places you have known before, use your past experiences, things you have dreamed about, and wishes you have had, to make your story rich with details of a world you and your child have created.

We can create a play and a set, scenery to learn about one of your favorite stories. Lessons can be about humor, morals, dilemmas, faith, hope or charity.

We can dress up like and learn all about a famous person, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, Michaelangelo, Laura Bush, John McCain, Barack Obama, Diane Sawyer, or the Medici family of Italy.

We can create our own game and game board.

How about cutting and stitching up an old fashioned sock doll?

Make a table cloth. Get a plain cloth, large enough to cover a table, pick a theme and then decorate it with small silk flowers, beads, embroidery and or colored markers. Walaah, a fancy table cloth!

Save all your cardboard boxes and make a fairy house with deck and pool. Or build a condominium for birds from a gourd.

Make a biosphere village. Create all the elements of a functioning town, including electrical lines, plumbing, gardens for food and flowers, include heating and cooling systems. Use pipe cleaners and plastic jars and construction paper, aluminum foil and old dishes and glasses to represent different utilities.

Make a table top sized tee-pee out of canvas or brown paper bag, straight sticks or twigs, some glue, a base of wood or plastic or stiffened heavy fabric like burlap or canvas. Include a smoke vent and entryway with cover to keep out the weather. Decorate the inside with buffalo hides, fire pit, and other living necessities.

Learn all about Native American medicine wheels, and create a design for your own medicine wheel. Decorate your tee-pee.

Give your self a Native American name. Change your name whenever you feel a desire to change your focus or to remember an important act you created.

Bake a Native American bread recipe. Go on to Italian, Czech, Irish and other native foods. It is a good way to learn about other cultures, how they differ and how they are the same as yours.

Create a space station. Use paper, plastic or glass. Whatever you have. Sketch it out on paper as seen from above. Include all the rooms we have in our homes now, and some extra ones for meetings, engine rooms, viewing space areas, corridors and time warp change rooms. See what else you would add. Talk about how living on the space station would be the same and different from how we live now.

Links to kid friendly pages:

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