Classroom Activity
Native American Games
Children will participate in games and activities from other cultures that inspire fun and learning.

AGES 5–6
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Materials:

  • two small clay balls, one red, one green

Objective: Children will learn how to play a Native American children's game that encourages cooperative play and math-skill development.

In Advance: To learn more about Native American culture visit: Native American-Internet Resources

ACTIVITIES

Pass the Stone Game

Guessing games were popular among Native American children. Try this one: Spread a blanket on the floor and invite children to sit with you in a circle on the blanket. Hold the two balls of clay in your closed hand. Pass one of the clay balls to the child to your right, without letting the child see which ball you have passed. Ask the child to guess which color ball you have passed. If the child guesses correctly, give him both balls. This child then passes one clay ball to the next child. That child will guess which color ball has been passed. If this child guesses correctly, both balls are passed to her and the game continues. If the child guesses incorrectly, she moves out of the circle and the game continues. Continue the game until one child is left in the circle.

Guessing Dreams and Wishes

  1. Tell the children that dreams and wishes are very important to the Iroquois people. At some festivals, people make up riddles about their dreams and others try to guess what the dream means.
  2. Ask children to think of a dream or a wish that they have had. Provide children with paper and drawing materials. Ask children to draw a picture about their dream or wish.
  3. During meeting time, invite several children a day to share their drawings with the class. Encourage children to guess what their classmates' drawings may be about. Ask each child to tell about her special dream or wish. Display children's drawings and include a dictated or written description.
  4. Children can also play charades and act out their dreams and wishes.

Curriculum Connection

Literacy: Write a Legend.
Explain to children about legends. Legends are stories that are passed down from one generation to another, and they often describe how something came to be. Read a Native American legend to children, such as The Legend of Indian Paintbrush by Tomie de Paola (The Putnam Publishing Group, 1988; $16.99). Invite children to write their own classroom legend. Make a list of the children's ideas, then work with them to choose one idea to write about. Record children's story on chart paper, giving each child a turn to add to the story. Continue the activity for several days. Arrange children's legends in book format to develop a class legend anthology.

BOOKS
Dreamcatcher by Audrey Osofsky
(Orchard Books, 1992; $15.95)
The Legend of Sleeping Bear by Kathy-jo Wargin
(Sleeping Bear Press, 1998; $16.95)
The Mud Pony by Caron Lee Cohen
(Scholastic Inc.; $4.99)