Many schools teach Native American Indian history; around Thanksgiving in the autumn is a popular time to explore native themes. Here is a cross-curricular lesson plan and craft to make Native American costume from a paper bag. Perfect for Halloween.
For each student, you will need one large paper grocery bag. From one bag, you will make a native vest and headband. For younger elementary age students, draw circles on the sides of the paper bag, a few inches from the bottom (closed end) of the bag. Make the holes plenty large as these will be the arm holes. Draw a line up the center of the paper bag. Students will cut along these lines to make arm holes and a front opening for their vest. When the armholes have been cut out and the bag has been cut up the front, the bottom flat piece that the bag rests on should be cut off. Students should cut along the folds in the bottom of the bag. When all the cutting is done, turn the paper bag inside out so that students will have a blank side to decorate.
Next, draw a line around the top open end of the bag, about two inches from the edge. Students will cut along that line and use the piece that they have cut off to make the headband. There will be some paper left on that cut off strip after making the headband. This piece can be made into an arm band or wrist cuff bracelet. Along the new bottom edge of the paper bag vest, draw vertical lines from the bottom up several inches. Children will cut along these lines to make a fringed edge for their vest.
For ECSE, preschool and kindergarten students, it will be easier to cut and fold the paper bag vest for them and let them do the decorating. This craft does provide good cutting practice, however, so if you think your students will be able to do it, let them. Folding the bag inside out can be tricky, though. I recommend that you do this part for younger students and special needs students who may become frustrated easily.
To decorate the vest and headband, you can use markers or crayons. If you have some feathers, give each child one or two to add to his headband. Feathers are a special possession in native American Indian clans. If the child has his own feather than he has found, this will tie in very nicely with the native way of doing things. For free printable native design templates and patterns, click here.