Our Native American Unit

06 Aug

Well, our Native American unit has come to a close this past week, and it was very interesting and a lot of fun. The best part? The projects!

I knew to start with that I was going to do a unit on Native Americans before we actually started our American History book this year. It was hard finding something that was interesting, yet at a level that was good for my son to still have fun with. I found a workbook titled, “Native Americans” published by Hayes School Publishing. It provides basic information, and I also paired it up with a DVD or two, as well as some books, mainly off the Sonlight reading list. Vostaas, White Buffalo’s Story of Plains Indian Life was an interesting but easy read, and we also read Naya Nuki, Shoshoni Girl Who Ran and The Indian in the Cupboard.


I initially had just planned on having my son do a longhouse, to go with our reading of The Indian in the Cupboard. However, my online search, for something that I thought would be a typical project didn’t turn up much. I found very little and what I did find was ridiculous (Life size? No thanks!) or looked too complicated to do with an elementary school child. I decided to check out the library and I stumbled upon a great series of books:

Hands-on History – Projects About The Woodland Indians
Hands-on History – Projects About The Plains Indians
Hands-on History – Projects About American Indians of the Southwest


All three of these books had great, and simple, Native American projects, and I planned several of them. We made a teepee (tipi), a pueblo home, and a longhouse. We also made a “turtle-shell” rattle, a war shield, a travois, and a simple toy called a “buzz” that he’s been playing with non-stop.


I also got information from the book, Tools of Native Americans; A Kids Guide to the History & Culture of the First Americans, and we used it as a guide in painting on war paint and making a war bonnet.

The website Corps of Re-Discovery also provided a couple of cool projects, including a tomahawk kit and bear claw necklace kit, which my son has been wearing around proudly.

My son had a blast and learned a lot. Hopefully I did an adequate, though simple job, of introducing him to Native American culture.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Courtney says:

    Hi, I am an elementary art teacher and I stumbled upon your site. That longhouse is FABULOUS! Which book contained the directions for that project? I have yet to see one that looks both sophisticated and child friendly as this. Nice job!

  2. admin says:

    Hello, I believe the book for the longhouse project was: Hands-on History – Projects About The Woodland Indians. It was written by David C. King. Amazon has the book but I found it at our local library.

    Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Homeschooling is Fun

Fun and Interesting Homeschooling Ideas