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Craft a Mini Totem Pole

Craft a Mini Totem Pole Activity

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With their colorful human and animal faces, totem poles are fascinating to kids, who love to speculate on the meaning behind them. Totem poles were built by Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, and often expressed a story, tribe legend, or family lineage. With wooden spools and markers, you can make your own mini totem pole that follows important landmarks in your child's life, and get her thinking about her own personal history.

What You Need:

  • 3 or more wooden spools
  • Wood glue
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Child-safe scissors

What You Do:

  1. Stack the spools, one on top of the other, and glue them together. Set it aside to dry. If you have spools of different sizes, place the largest spool on the bottom and the smallest on top.
  2. As the glue is drying, explain to your child that Native Americans used totem poles as a way to tell a story from the tribe's history. If you like, check out a book about totem poles from the library or look up pictures online.
  3. Talk to your child about three important events in her life (or more if you have more than three spools). What she considers important could be something obvious like her baby brother being born, or something not-so-obvious like dropping her ice cream cone at the fair. Anything and everything is fair game!
  4. When the glue is dry, let her draw pictures of each event on the spools. Use one spool for each event, and be sure to decorate all sides. Encourage her to include colorful pictures illustrating what happened during the event and how it made her feel.
  5. Finally, cut wings out of the construction paper, decorate them, then glue them to the back of the totem pole. Ta-da!

Place it on a desk, dresser, or mantle for everyone to enjoy.

Updated on Jul 2, 2013
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