Kids will have fun learning about the indigenous people of North American with this fun, hands on, history for kids lesson. We’ve included recipes, crafts, free printables and more so you can study Southwest Native Americans for Kids from preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students.
Southwest Native Americans
This fun and easy history lesson helps teach kids about the southwest native Americans including the Hopi and Navajo tribes. We’ve included everything you need for a complete lesson including history reader, Navajo Fry Bread, books to read, and an easy basket craft for kids. This homeschool history is perfect for preschoolers, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students to learn together!
Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschooler – you will love this fun Native Americans lesson for kids. It is hands on and free. Don’t’ miss our entire Native Americans for Kids unit Plus we have lots of other fun, hands on history for kids units for children of all ages!
Southwest Native American
Southwest Native American activities
This week’s lesson on Native Americans will cover the Southwest Tribes. You can see where the Southwest Tribes where in this map below in yellow. We learned about the hopi, navajo, and apache tribes located in the modern day states of Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Utah, Texas and Mexico.
We started out by printing out the two Southwest tribe printable books (from the free printable below). We read through the information on the Navajo and the Hopi tribes. Children had fun decorating their own Native American printable by using crayons, markers, and colored pencils to decorate their book. Then they can read the interesting information to learn about these Indian tribes.
Although their is lots of interesting information, some unique facts about these tribes are:
- The Navajo lived in small family farms called a hogan
- Navajo made silverwork, a trade they learned from the Spanish
- Native navajo made colorful clothes they made from deerskin and sheepskin
- In the Hopi tribe the women were the ones who owned land and the house
- Hopi Indians used turquoise to make beautiful jewelry
- The Hopi were pueblo people, but were unique in that they had their own language
- Adobe homes were stacked; the Hopi used ladders to get to their houses
Then the kids filled out the Native American Worksheet comparing two different tribes we learned about.
Navajo Fry Bread
Then we dived into my favorite part, making history come alive with hands on learning!
We made and tasted Navajo Fry Bread. I used the opportunity to tell the kids more history.
As the European settlers began colonizing and pushing the Native American farther and farther back conflicts arose. Eventually the Indians were put on reservations with hardly enough space or resources to keep their customs and lifestyle. They were given rations of flour, baking powder, and lard. So the Southwest tribes had to learn to make do with what they had and they came up with Navajo Fry Bread. They would serve it with honey or topped with meat like a taco.
A quick google search will give you lots of recipes. We use this traditional recipe:
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup warm water
Apache Woven Basket Craft for Kids
This is such a fun, simple Native American Craft for Kids! To make these Apache Woven Baskets you’ll need:
- paper plates
- several skeins of yarn
Now cut slits around the paper plate ever 3” or so. Now take about 3 feet of yarn and fold it in half. Then tucking it into one of the slits start weaving it in and out of the slits going around the bowl. Once you complete a whole circle go back the other way and go in and out the opposite way. Continue until your piece of yarn is used up.
Now take another color and again grab about 3 feet, fold it in half, and attach it to the end of the yarn you just finished with. Continue following your pattern by going in and out.
Repeat again and again until you complete the entire bowl and have made your Apache Woven Basket. This was another huge hit with the kids and was fun and doable for kids from Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
HINT: I suggest getting bowls without lips to make it look more authentic at the top.
More Helpful Native American Websites:
Note: I know for some people this is a very personal subject. We have done our best to represent a historically accurate account of life for Native Americans. We also discussed the influence of the white settlers along with life today for those with Native American roots. But the emphasis is on the historical part when the settlers first arrived.
I do not claim to be an expert in Native American culture and I know we have had to simplify many aspects of their culture and beliefs to fit with teaching this to elementary age kids. If you do not “like” our unit for whatever reason, I’m sorry. Any harsh comments will be deleted, but I welcome constructive feedback!
More Native Americans Lessons for Kids
More Hands on History Units for Kids:
- Medieval Times Unit – Middle Ages (4 weeks) begins with Life in a Castle
- Native Americans – historical unit (4 weeks) begins with Woodland Tribes
- Early Explorers Unit – (5 weeks) begins with Vikings
- Colonial America Unit Early Settlers (4 weeks) begins with Jamestown
- American Revolution Unit (4 weeks) begins with War is Brewing
- Westward Expansion Unit (3 weeks ) begins with Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea
- President’s Day Mini Unit (K-6th grade)
Download Southwest Tribes Pack
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