November 18, 2011

Wampanoag Wetus and Pilgrim Houses

Next Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving; I love the excuse to make holiday crafts!  We have spent the last several weeks learning about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag People.  Most of the books we read came from Sarah Clarkson's Read for the Heart in the history section about pre-colonial times.  I thought it would be fun to make some Wampanoag Wetus and Pilgrim Houses.  A Google search helped me fine this site, then I adapted their craft to suit our needs and make them look slightly more authentic.  If you'd like to give either a try, I've included supply lists and some rough directions below.

Wetus and Pilgrim Houses

Materials for the Wetus:
  • pipe cleaners
  • paper lunch bags or brown construction paper
  • white glue
We did a Wetu Google Image search to see what the frames looked like and built little frames, starting with a pipe cleaner formed into a circle.  Then we made arcs of pipe cleaners to create the shape.  They mold and twist so easily it worked out great.  The outer covering we made with squares of cut-up paper bags.  This was a little complicated.  We put glue on the pipe cleaner frame, then starting at the bottom, and putting glue on the squares, we made the base circle of paper squares, then put on an outer pipe cleaner circle to hold it in place while it dried.  Then we did another circle of paper above that, securing it the same way as the first. Finally we glued a little flap onto the top, where the smoke could escape from the fire inside.  Once it was all dry, I cut a little door flap on one side.

Materials for the Pilgrim Houes:
  • top halves of orange juice containers
  • paper bags or brown construction paper
  • Raffia or straw
  • glue (stick and white)
Having the frame for this one made this much easier than the wetus.  Cut a bunch of strips of paper bags or construction paper for the "logs."  Glue stick all over a side and place the strips, trim as needed.  Continue with the 4 other sides.  You can add a door if you'd like and cover it with a solid piece of paper.  For the roof we covered each side with a solid piece of paper bag, so that the raffia would stick better.  Then we smeared it all over with white glue, (thick enough to just place pieces of Raffia into it and they would stay), and covered each side with little strips of the Raffia.  Also, we decided not to bother with the indented sides of the oj container tops, as you can see.

Age Appropriateness:
Brian, 3 years, was not terribly interested in the Wetu craft and I did it myself and helped Elizabeth, 7 years, a lot with hers.  But she persevered through the tougher things, like holding down the glued paper and twisting pipe cleaner shapes, and enjoyed herself.

Brian was sick and slept through the Pilgrim House craft time, but I'm sure a 3-year-old would need a lot of assistance with this craft, though it would still be quite enjoyable.  Elizabeth, was able to do most of it herself, though I cut some things ahead of time like the oj containers, the long strips of paper for the logs (she then cut them to size), and the pieces of Raffia.