Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dolls Lesson

Getting Connected

As a way to connect from the Kaya series, to other American Indian Cultures, colonial culture and our modern culture, I chose to start with dolls.  For those of you teaching boys, this activity can still be used, just make sure to include "Action Figures" as part of the equation.  The Smithsonian has this FABULOUS lesson plan  (simply click the link to open it in a new window).

For Alice, I had to adjust the lesson a little because she isn't in a classroom setting that allows for breaking into all those separate groups etc, but we made it work.  I then had Alice make a rag doll to experience making something using the things we had available in our house.

We also took a quick look at the Hotch Potch dolls from the Merry Makers and Colonial Williamsburg this quick view was to further illustrate how dolls are used in many cultures as a learning tool.  I asked her to think of ways she and I had used dolls "educationally."

Alice's List:
  • To teach Benjamin body parts like hands, feet, eyes, nose etc.  Benjamin is the little guy we babysit regularly who is now three and starting preschool.
  • To teach Alice about how to handle babies before she started babysitting with me.
  • To teach Alice how to swaddle a baby (more recently for fun).
  • To teach Alice how to change diapers and clothes on a baby (which she recognizes she is likely to use in the future)
  • To teach Alice how to use zippers, buttons, Velcro, and tie ribbons (one of those fasteners dolls).
She did not mention the use of dolls for learning history - but we'll get there :-)   If you do this activity with your kids, I'd love to hear what "lessons" they list having learned from dolls not already mentioned.  Please feel free to add your comments.

Additional Lessons, Activities and Follow-Up

After Alice fully understood the Nez Perce way was far from the only American Indian way of life, and that the environment around any group of people (living before modern transit systems) impacted the way they lived and the materials they used, we took a look at the whole continent and compared legends, foods and housing styles of various Amero-Indian groups.  You'll want to be sure you have a good map you can mark up or put pins in to identify where different nations lived.  Here are some of the best resources I found for going about making these comparisons.

Infinity of Nations - Includes a "game" that is absolutely perfect for this purpose.

Native Americans Facts for Kids - TONS of resources and information in a kid-friendly format and vocabulary.

Native American Recipes - Yumm!!!

The "If You Lived" Book Series is a simple and helpful resource.  Relevant books in the collection include:  If you lifed with the: Iroquois, Cherokee, Hopi, Indians of the Northwest Coast, and Sioux.

Squidoo Lens - Great list of picture books and activities to do with them and more!

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