This may not seem like one of my normal DIY projects but it’s still a fun and creative one so I thought you might want to see it. For any parents out there, flag this post because your day will come too! Lucky you — I’m here to show you how we did it. Come inside and warm yourself by the fire!
S’s 2nd grade class is studying Native Americans this month and her assignment was to build a replica of the shelter that the Shawnee tribe lived in. The only stipulation was that she should use as many natural materials as possible. We used this website as a guide.
We started by tracing a tray to make a big circle onto an old corkboard that I found in our garage. Then we measured around the circle and marked off where our holes should go. Next, we drilled small holes into the board to anchor the sticks but we made sure not to drill all the way through. We gathered lots of sticks from the yard (there were plenty from Sandy) and we tied pairs together to make the frame.
It took some time to find the right sticks (without them breaking) and get them glued into the holes but we were excited that our frame was coming together just like an authentic wigwam.
In lieu of bark or woven mats, we used brown bags to make a cover for the wigwam. First we cut them into strips.
Then we cut fringe onto each strip…
…and slowly added each row of fringe to the frame. If we had better glue, I would have used that but instead we took the easy road and used tape!
We built the layers up and then took a little time to add a rock-lined walkway and a stone hearth in the center. S was great at coming up with ideas, like using red and orange construction paper to build the fire.
We dressed one of her Polly Pockets in a brown bag dress and propped her up by the door. (I had to promise S that we’d be able to peel the glue off her feet after she gets the project back!)
It was a lot of work but S and I had a great time building it together. She was so proud of the finished product and I’m so proud of how hard she worked on it.
Sue at Home
P.S. Thanks so much for visiting Sue at Home and reading this post. I wrote it back in 2012 and it’s now been viewed 70,000 times! If you enjoyed reading about my creativity and want to see what I’m up to now, check out Libby & Smee, my handmade line of simple fun statement jewelry! And be sure to use coupon code SUEATHOME10 for 10% off your first order at libbyandsmee.com !
10 thoughts on “Making a Wigwam for a School Project”
WOW!!! You guys did a great job
Hey guys! I want to thank you for sharing this information with us. I’m getting ready to build a Shawnee wigwam with my son. I’ve printed your instructions and I will follow them to the T. I hope our wigwam comes out and cute as yours.
Thank you again!
Nothing helps kids better understand something than to be able to do it in a hands on lesson like this.
I love how your wigwam turned out! I’ve linked to your post in our paper wigwam craft.