Recycled Crafts: Totem Poles

Recycled Crafts: Totem Poles

By Brenda Hyde

Totem poles were one of the ways Native Americans told stories. You can help your children with this easy fun craft and show them a new way to express themselves!
You will need:

Empty paper towel tubes

brown craft paper or brown construction paper

other colored or white paper-bigger scraps will work

Markers, crayons or colored pencils





brown and red lentils

board or cardboard

Cover the paper towel tube with either of the brown papers-taping or gluing to the tube all the way around. While this is drying, each child should cut squares that will be decorated and glued to the tube as their totem drawings. My son chose to make large squares that were about 4 inches by 4 inches, but they can be small 2x2 pieces also. On each square the children should draw their "story". They can draw animals that are their favorites or family members. Explain that the totems are telling a story in pictures and let their imagination run wild. Tell them the pictures took the place of words for the Native Americans and were displayed for the tribe to see.

Once the totem squares are finished they should be glued to the tube. We also used red and brown lentils between the totems as decorations. The kids suggested this because they thought it would make the totem look more "real" with decorations. The lentils are small and dry nicely on the paper. They can also be used as eyes on the people or animals.

The totems can be glued or taped down to a small piece of board or cardboard if you wish for them to be displayed. That also can be painted or covered with paper and decorated.

For extra fun and learning read Totem Pole by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith before doing the totem craft for inspiration!

Click Here for another recycled project!


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