Every Thursday morning my children and I meet my friend Janet (the artist behind our DIY Valentines and Easter Colouring Pages) and her homeschooled children for combined studies. Janet teaches The Human Body, and I teach about Native Canadians using this curriculum, “Canada’s Natives Long Ago” by Donna Ward. Each week we end with a craft that corresponds with that people group. For our first day, learning about the Eastern Woodlands Farmers, we made this amazing craft by K. Mo, which I found at her site, Flamingo Fabulous. Today, I’m going to start sharing them with you! Today we’re going to make our own miniature conical wigwam, which was the shelter used by the Eastern Woodland hunters. This craft can easily be made into a tipi craft. You can read about the differences between a wigwam and a tipi by reading this article.
- Natural coloured paper. It’s supposed to look like birch bark and animal hides, so we used creamy-gray-white newsprint and brown construction paper. The paper should be ripped up into small, but variously sized pieces, the same way we did in our DIY Pumpkin Bags. You’ll need some that are wide enough to reach from one skewer to the next.
- Mod Podge
- Paper plates. One for your Mod Podge, and one for the base of your wigwam
- Short skewers
- Green Play-doh (I made my own)
- Flatten your green Play-Doh out on a paper plate. It’s supposed to look like grass, but the Play-Doh has a very important job: to hold your skewers in place, so you’re going to want to make it fairly thick.
*A note on the Play-Doh: Years and years ago my sister-in-law made my son tons of homemade Play-Doh, along with his own food colouring, cream of tarter, containers in which to store it and a recipe for us to make tons more. Let me tell you, it is an excellent recipe; so easy, quick and fool-proof. Here it is:
When I was making Play-Doh for this wigwam (or tipi) craft I ran out of cream of Tartar!! What was I to do? I was in a bind! So I Googled my dilemma and found (at this Healthline page) that there are MANY substitutes for cream of Tartar. I had enough cream of tartar for half the amount needed for my DIY Play-Doh recipe, and substituted lemon juice for the other half.
2. Take 5 skewers (mine were $1.25 for a pack at Dollar Tree), space them out evenly, leaning them together at the top.
3. Wrap an elastic around the top of the skewers. It can stay loose; if it’s too tight it may pull the skewers out of the Play-Doh. It just needs to be tight enough to hold the tops in place. You can see how loose my elastic in the photo above.
4. Put a puddle of Mod Podge on your second paper plate. Dip in your construction paper and drape over your skewers. Keep layering on paper until the frame is covered. You should try to cover up your elastic, and the gap between the frame and the grass. BUT you should definitely have your student/child make it the way they want it. It can be tiring for the little ones to cover the whole thing, so be prepared to help if you’re working with children under 7. All you have to do now is let it dry!
I just loved this little Eastern Woodland Hunters craft! The kids loved it too, they continually asked which wigwam was theirs. So cute. This unit of study has been so fascinating, I’m learning so much along with the kids! Stay tuned! There are lots more educational crafts ahead!
P.S. This is just something really cute that I wanted to tell you about. My son (9 years old) saw my wigwam that I made to see if my idea was going to work. He looked so impressed with me. He said, “Mum, did you make that?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Did you come up with that idea all by yourself? Or did you get it from Pinterest?”
“I made it myself,” I said.
Then he said (more like yelled with glee and pride), “Daddy! Look at this wigwam Mummy made! She didn’t even find it on Pinterest. She thought of it all by herself!”
Is that not adorable!? Such a cutie. Man, I love that boy!