Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pipe Cleaner Wigwam


We've been reading Charlotte and David Yue's The Wigwam and the Longhouse this week, and it's been spawning quite a bit of creative play - fire pits...


...and Indian camps in the backyard, and that sort of thing.


The Yue's, while leaning pretty heavily in the direction of the "noble savage" in their depiction of the eastern Native American tribes, do a fantastic job presenting the details of their daily life gone by in a way that makes it seem very real, and appealing. We will definitely be looking for some of the authors' other titles, dealing with the history of native cultures from across North America.

The easy to read text flows along almost poetically, accompanied by engaging black and white illustrations of the objects or scenes described, drawing the children in. My girls, in fact, were very excited to learn that wigwams and longhouses were once the property of the women who made them, or more specifically of the matriarch, or oldest woman of the families living in them.

In fact, they were very keen to build a wigwam of their own to use as a fort in the backyard. But, when I refused to give them an ax for cutting down the saplings on the green space, they opted for a smaller, pipe cleaner version, for their Polly Pockets, instead.

Following the Yue's instructions, they traced out the footprint of their wigwam in the dirt (or in their case, on the cardboard).


Then, since they could not push the spiked ends of their "saplings" into the dirt, they secured them in place with bits of air-drying clay...


...overlapping, wrapping and...


...lashing them together with string...


...until they had a wigwamish sort of frame, with an opening left in the front for a door.


They covered the frame with strips of felt - light brown to represent the reed mats women might have once used, and dark brown for mats of tree bark...


...being careful to leave an opening for smoke from the fire pit to escape through, at the top.


They briefly considered sewing the felt to the pipe cleaner frame with a few stitches at the top of each strip, but it sounded like a lot of work, and the afternoon weather outside had turned unseasonably warm, so they secured the mats with an external pipe cleaner frame, to keep everything in place...


...and headed out, I can only assume, to play Pilgrims and Indians.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

Linked with :

The Geography and History Meme at All Things Beautiful










And, the stART (story + ART) link-up hosted by A Mommy's Adventures.

10 comments:

Debbie said...

This is such a cute project. Hey I noticed in one of the pictures you have a Time Out Chair. I suppose you need that with 6 children?

Desiree said...

Sounds like a neat book, and what a neat wigwam!

Phyllis said...

They did a nice job. Thanks for linking up.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

What a perfect idea for Thanksgiving! I love how it turned out.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Debbie - It was a gift from their grandmother :)

Ticia said...

I think the pipe cleaner frame is visually interesting. Maybe not accurate for how they did it, but very cool.

Jackie H. said...

Cool! I love learning this type of history and I'm sure the hands on aspect of their craft and their play are really going to make it stick. It cracked me up that they were planning on errecting a wigwam in the backyard :)

Mrs. Mandy said...

I love this, we use HOD and my son was just doing a wigwam project last week or so but with clay. Yours looks more fun and more accurate. I would love to have seen it BEFORE we did ours. Might have to redo!!! Mind if I share this?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Mrs. Mandy - I don't mind at all - thanks!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I love the project - this is something that Anna would probably love to do (when she is a bit older and can do more herself). A Time Out chair cracked me up too.