Posted by: ad65shorty | November 16, 2009

Native Americans: Weaving

This week, we will be learning about the Native Americans. The Wampanoag Indians lived during Pilgrim times. I will try to keep many of my activities this week true to their culture. There will be some, like the one today, that is not true to the Wampanoag’s, but to other Indian tribes. I will make mention of that when it applies.

Background:

The Pueblos were the only Native Americans in North America who used a loom. They wove the cotton they grew and combined with with rabbit fur, dog hair, feathers, and buffalo wool. The Navajos, who learned to weave from the Pueblos, became expert blanket and rug weavers. Designs were memorized and passed on from mother to daughter.

Post-Edit: I just discovered that the Wampanoag’s did weave blankets to wrap around themselves in times of need. The wool came from sheep that were dyed using plant materials. So, there you go!

Activity:

Today, the children will be making a woven paper placemat. It really works on their fine motor skills, as well as patterning.

Supplies:

paper strips, cut 1-inch width by 9-inches in length (I cut brown and orange)

9- x 12-inch construction paper, cut using directions below (I used yellow)

glue

Directions:

1. Cut your brown and orange strips. I cut mine 9-inches in length and 1-inch wide. We used about 4 of each color.

2. Cut your yellow paper:

        a) Fold it in half, width-wise.

        b) Using scissors or a paper cutter, cut 1-inch slits along the whole paper. Leave a couple of inches at one end.

        c) Unfold and straighten. Notice my cuts don’t go all the way to the edges. You are now ready to begin weaving!

3. Tell your child that you’re going to make a pattern. Have them choose which color to begin with. I associate an action with each color, which makes it easier for the kids. So, for my son, orange went over, under, over, under. They will need some guidance at first, but once they get it, they can usually do it with little assistance.

4. When done with one strip, switch colors and tell them that this color will always go the other way: under, over, under, over.

Notice how his brown is off. Cute! He did notice a bit later though and fixed it on his own!

5. Repeat with each color, reminding them of where to begin each time. After each strip is completed, I usually have them slide it as far as they can to the side to make room for the next. If they don’t get it perfect, that’s alright, too. That’s what makes it so fun!

6. You may need to help them on the last strip or two, as it is usually pretty tight!

7. When all the strips are woven, have your child glue down each end. That way their beautiful masterpiece doesn’t fall apart!

8. You now have a festive placemat for Thanksgiving dinner! 🙂

**This would be a great activity any time of year: a Christmas one with green, red, and white would be adorable!

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