American Indian Art Lesson Plans

Learning how art impacts every culture and civilization in the world is an important part of any art curriculum. I remember learning about Canada’s native population in second grade. Making igloos from marshmallows and creating my own “Eskimo” paper doll remains my most vivid childhood art experience.

The art hasn’t changed much, but the verbiage has. The National Museum of the American Indian was a tremendous help in sorting out commonly asked questions, including how to address our Native American cultures. Check it out.

The 23-page booklet features three lesson plans for 2nd -4th grade, although easily adaptable for children of any age.

American Indian Art Lessons include:

Native American Indian Chief: This directed-line drawing of a profile is so easy. Just a few simple instructions and your students are on their way to creating a colorful warbonnet. Although relatively uncommon in Native American cultures (only a few Plains Indian tribes wore them), creating the warbonnet art is a vehicle for uncovering common myths about our Native American Culture.

Tipis of the Great Plains: Learn about the Plains tribe’s dwellings in this 2-option lesson. Children use the Tipi template to cut out their own Tipi and then decorate it with traditional Native American Motifs.

Add a painted background for a complete picture or mount onto colorful paper for a condensed lesson.

Clothing of the Plains Tribes: Creating a Native American on a colorful background was one of my favorite lessons when I was young and it was equally popular with my third grade students. Taking about three, 45-minute sessions, my students worked hard to make their “doll” as individual as they were. They made their own “hide”, cut their dress from a paper pattern and painted a background scene representing the Great Plains.



Handouts and Templates include:

– How to Draw an Indian Chief

– Native American Motifs & Symbols

– Tipi (TeePee) Template

– Man Dress Template

– Woman Dress Template

– Man Figure Template

– Woman Figure Template


What do you think?

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  • mia

    hello,patty.u mustn’t belive i’m chinese kindergarden teacaher,i know you from my foreigner friends.you are so smart and love children so much .l almost look your website everyday !! i really get lots of ideas from here.and my child love your class so much! i also have a problem today ,can you give me some advises for” Canada” theme? i really need your help! thankyou so much !

  • Jessie

    Hi Patty, I’ve been teaching public school art for 3 years now and love your lessons – thanks for sharing. Particular to the Native American lessons, I teach the appropriateness of proper terms and cultures of differing people as the core, but I recently had a fellow teacher question the appropriateness of all students having a darker skin tone as when they portray themselves as Native American. I want to be sensitive to all cultures and was wondering how you handle this in these lessons? Thanks so much!

  • Kari

    The American Indian link is not working, there is an error code when trying to add it to the cart.

  • Megan Lee

    Love the diverse lessons!

  • Gregory Cross

    I think it’s a terrific idea and project….can’t wait to see the many varieties and concepts given

  • Holly Dyer

    I’m excited to try some of these lessons with my second graders.

  • Donna Sessions

    can I buy the american Indian packet?

  • anna paola caleffi


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