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Southwest Native American Tribes Lesson

Welcome to week 3 of our Native Americans for Kids .  This is just one of our many hands on history for kids units!
Native Americans - Southwest tribes A hands on history unit of North American Indians. Includes 2 printable mini books (Navajo and Hopi), tribe comparisson, and ideas for hands on learning about history including navajo fry bread, apache woven basket and more for preschool, kindergarten, homeschool, and more

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!

Southwest Native American Tribes Lesson

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.

native american tribes map_thumb[1]

Hopi and Navajo Indians for Kids

hopi and navajo indians for kids

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.

Comparing 2 native american tribes using Vendiagram for Native American homeschool unit

Then the kids filled out the Comparison sheet this week. (also in the free printable below)


Books to Read on the Southwest Tribes of North America

Navajo Fry Bread

Then we dived  into my favorite part, making history come alive with hands on learning!

Navajo Fry Bread

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.

Cooked navajo fry bread for hands on indian unit

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

Step by stpe instructions

This is such a fun, simple Native American Craft for Kids! To make these Apache Woven Baskets you’ll need:

  • paper plates
  • scissors
  • 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.

Native American Apache Tribe Woven Basket Craft for Kids

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.

Woven basket craft for kids

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:


More Native Americans Lessons for Kids


More Hands on History Units for Kids:

native americans - Southwest Tribes - includes 2 free printable books on the Navajo and Hopi), tribe comparisson, and ideas for hands on history for kids

Download Southwest Tribes Pack

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>> Download Native American Unit #3 <<

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activites and FREE printables: www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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