Rattles are among the most popular musical instruments used in Native American spiritual ceremonies and social gatherings. Rattles make for a great craft project for children to enhance a lesson plan or for a unit on Native Americans.
Nearly every Native American tribe has some sort of rattle, some are shaken by hand and others are attached to legs. The turtle rattle, made out of a turtle’s shell, is one of the most well known Native American Rattles and is easy to make as a craft project for children.
Native American Turtle Rattle Craft
2 small paper plates
Masking tape or stapler
Markers, crayons or colored pencils
Large craft sticks or tongue depressors
Dry rice, beans, corn or aquarium rocks
3 oz bag of Assorted Colored Duck Feathers www.orientaltrading.com item number
Bag of Multi Colored Pony beads
Show children a real Native American Rattle if you have one or print some pictures of one off the Internet to show them what it looks like.
Give each child 2 paper plates and a craft stick
Have them use their markers, crayons or colored pencils to color the bottom side of both plates and both sides of their craft stick.They may want to draw rectangular shapes like you would see on a real turtle shell.
Once they are finished coloring have each child securely tape his or her craft stick to the edge of the top side of one of the plates.
Use a stapler or masking tape to staple tape the plates together all around the edges.
Tip I like to use masking tape so the rice doesn’t fall out.
Leave a small space open to pour the rice in.
Use tape to cover over the hole
Tie one piece of yarn around each feather.
Slide a few pony beads on one end of the yarn and tie a knot so they don’t slide off
Tie or tape the beaded and feathered yarn to the top of the craft stick, right underneath the rattle base.
Rattles are now complete and ready to make some music
Duck feathers can be purchased in a 3 oz bag for $4.99 from www.orientaltrading.com item number 57/3004. Each bag contains approximately 500 feathers
Pony Beads can also be purchased from Oriental Trading in a 1 lb package for $6.99 item number 57/3. Each package contains 2000 beads.
You can purchase a box of Jumbo Craft Sticks at Kmart www.kmart.com for 5.99. Each package contains 300 sticks.
This is a fun and easy Native American craft the kids love to make especially since it makes noise.