Kachina Dolls are used by the Hopi Native American tribe to symbolize a spirit in life. Traditionally, they were hand carved from the root of the cottonwood tree. Kachina dolls were carved in the form of animals, elements of nature and important historical figures in the Native American culture. While traditionally given to girls they make a great Native American craft project for children of both genders and enhance the study of Native American culture.
How To Make A Native American Kachina Doll Craft
This project uses large paint stirring sticks that you can get for free at your local Walmart or Home Improvement Store. If you are unable to find paint stirring sticks you can substitute large craft sticks. I like to use the larger paint stirring sticks because they give the children more space to personalize their craft with.
2 Paint Stirring Sticks per child
Several colors of yarn
Assorted colors of construction paper
Hot Glue gun and glue sticks
1. Prior to this activity an adult will need to hot glue the paint sticks together to form a cross shape.
2. Give each child a wooden cross shape, this will be their Kachinas head and body.
3. Encourage children to think of what aspect of nature or Native American life their Kachina is going to represent.
4. Have them choose the colors of yarn they would like to use.
5. Tie a long piece of yarn at the top pf the wooden cross, just above where they meet.
6. Have the children wrap the yarn around the arms from one side to another and then come back to the middle. They can then wrap the yarn down the wooden stick stopping a little above the bottom of the stick.
7. Tie a knot to secure the yarn in place. Note If children want to change colors of yarn they are using cut off the excess and tie a new color to the previous one and continue wrapping.
8. Let children use markers to add facial features, claws, beaks etc to the uncovered areas of their Kachina
9. Provide beads, glue, yarn, feathers and construction paper in case children want to further enhance their Kachina doll.
10. Allow to dry and then display or send home.
Tip A great followup to this craft activity would to have children write about their Kachina doll and what it represents.
Native American Kachina dolls are a great craft addition to bulletin board display on Native American Culture. Because they are flat they stick to the wall easily and each one is unique.