American Indian Shoebox Project for Kids

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Tepees were a type of housing for the American Indian.
Tepees were a type of housing for the American Indian. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

There are several American Indian projects that a student can participate in using a shoebox. The more materials and more creative the student is, the better the outcome of the art project. The type of project chosen depends on the requirements of the class. The student can choose to create a diorama, which is a a three dimensional model, a landscape viewing box or Indian houses, such as a long house or wood and bark house.

American Indian Diorama

Create an American Indian diorama using a shoebox. Choose the type of American Indian nation that you wish to illustrate, such as the Comanche or Cherokee. Research the type of shelter they used, clothing and food they ate. Gather supplies needed to create a miniature village in the shoebox. Use paint or construction paper for the background for both the interior and exterior of the shoebox. Use modeling clay or dough to form Indian figures. Use felt to create homes, tepees for instance. Go to your local art and craft store to look for any already made structures that you can use in your diorama. Include a short narrative explaining your American Indian shoebox diorama.

American Indian Landscape Viewing Box

Make an American Indian landscape viewing box using a shoebox. If your shoebox does not have openings on the side, cut a small rectangle on one side of the box for viewing. Decorate the inside of the box with a background using construction paper and paint. Glue the construction paper onto the box. Paint or draw a scenery, such as hills, grass, trees, the sky and clouds. If you do not wish to draw anything, you can paste on printouts from the computer. Draw or print out pictures of Indians and tepees. Glue them to drawing paper backings for support to stand upward. Arrange all of the pictures to form an American Indian scene. Place a piece of blue tissue paper over the top of the shoebox. Look through the hole in the side of the box to view your landscape.

Indian Long House

Create an American Indian long house using a shoebox. The Iroquois Indians lived in these types of houses. They were made from bark, sticks and wood poles. You can make a model of this house by unfolding the edges of a shoebox. Use the lid of the shoebox for the roof. The bottom part of the shoebox will be the house itself. Unfold the edges of the lid and bottom part of the shoebox. Shape the bottom part to create a long barn-like shaped house. Place the top of the shoebox over the house. If the shoebox does not fit over the box to reach the ground, cut the house part to allow the roof to reach the ground. Glue the roof on. Cut holes in the center of the roof and in the front of the house. Paint the house with acrylic paint to look like the color of bark from a tree.

Wood and Bark House

Create an American Indian wood and bark house from a shoebox and brown construction paper. Cut a piece of brown construction paper to the size of the shoebox. Allow the paper to form an arch over the base of the shoebox. Add pieces of torn green paper and brown sticks to the brown construction paper. Glue the brown paper to the base of the shoebox. Add more sticks around the base of the house. Add miniature Indian figures and trees around the house to give it a scenery effect.

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