Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Native Americans

This is a tough subject to teach to young children.  My aim for this lesson was to be as honest as possible while still being consistent with Native American culture and positive.  There are lots of not-so-great “Indian” activities, songs and games out there for young children.  I avoided all of that and as a result I had to come up with some of my own activities and stories. 
In the touch box this week I had dried Indian corn kernels.  Corn was a staple food for the Native Americans that the Pilgrims met in their new homeland and those Native Americans, the Wampanoag, taught the settlers how to grow, store and prepare this food that they had never encountered before. 
Our first story was “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims” by B.G. Hennessey.  I discovered this one in my local library last fall and fell in love with it.  It is a wonderful picture book that shows the lives of both Pilgrim and Wampanoag children at the time. 

We then did the following rhyme together: 

“Pilgrims and Wampanoag”
Pilgrims and Wampanoag on three special days,
            (hold up three fingers)
Came together in friendship to eat, dance and play,
            (pretend to eat and dance)
The Wampanoag went hunting and brought lots of meat.
            (Shade eyes with hand on forehead and look around)
The Pilgrims picked berries and cooked many treats.
            (pretend to pick berries)
They sat down together and each began to say,
            (sit down)
That they were very thankful, each in their own way.

Next I did a flannel board story for the kids based on a traditional Native American story.  The Tale of theThree Sisters teaches not only how to garden, but also how to respect differences in one another and how to work together. 

I read another beautiful picture book called “The First ThanksgivingDay:  A Counting Story” by Laura Krauss Melmed.  Similar to the first book, the beautiful picture books also shows the lives of both Pilgrims and Wampanoag while counting from one to 12. 

At the end of the story time I invited the children to play a traditional Native American game.  Using the left over cobs from the corn cuff bracelets craft they were able to play a type of lawn darts and toss the cobs into the hoop.  It was a big hit with the kids. 
Our craft was a corn cuff bracelet which I developed with the help of my friendly neighborhood librarian and a friend of mine who is Native American.  It wasreally fun and turned out great. 

Sources:  Little Hands Finger Plays and Action Songs by Emily Stetson and Vicky Congdon.

1 comment:

  1. I would have never thought of this. Super idea! Love to have you come link up with us @costours.blogspot.com