Dreamcatchers, or sacred hoops are they are sometimes known, originated with the Objiwe tribe of Native Americans. Legend has it there was a time when the people were plagued by nightmares. After much deliberation by the tribal elders and shaman, a hoop with a web of sinew and feathers on the end was fashioned to hang over sleepers' beds. The elders said that good dreams and dreams of import would slide down the feathers onto the dreamer’s head.
The web would catch bad dreams with no meaning to the dreamer, to be vanquished by the light of day.
Materials Needed for a Native American Dreamcatcher:
- Dreamcatcher template
- Card stock (or cardboard)
- Single-hole punch
- Markers, crayons or colored pencils
- Pony beads
- A piece of yarn, 4 to 6 feet in length
- Colored feathers
- Print the dreamcatcher template, preferably on cardstock or heavy paper. If you can’t, don't worry, you can always trace the template onto a piece of cardboard.
- Cut out the dreamcatcher and then cut out the circle in the middle. What you will have left is a donut-shaped piece with numerals on it.
- Use a single-hole punch to punch a hole above or below each number. It doesn't matter which you choose, as long as you are consistent and keep all the holes above or below.
- If you wish, decorate the hoop with markers, crayons, colored pencils or however else you choose.
- Use a small piece of tape to wrap one end of the piece of yarn, making a sort of aglet (like on the end of a shoelace).
- Loop the other end of the piece of yarn through hole #1 and tie it off, leaving approximately six inches of yarn to make a loop that you can use to hang the dreamcatcher above your bed.
- Using the taped end of the yarn, weave the yarn through the remaining holes, following the numbers. Don’t pull too tight or the hoop will pucker.
- When you reach hole #12, tie off the web. String pony beads on the tail of yarn, sticking the stems of the feathers into the beads. If need be, use a little extra yarn to tie the beads and feathers into place.
- Hang the dreamcatcher above your bed.
Goal of the Activity: You child will be able to discuss the legend behind dreamcatchers as well as be able to create her dreamcatcher.
Skills Targeted: Reading comprehension, fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination
Recommended Children’s Book: Grandmother's Dreamcatcher by Becky Ray McCain
Recommended articles for parents and older children: What Are Dream Catchers? and The Legend of the Dreamcatchers