Native American Unit Study - Lesson 2: Beadwork


Lesson 2: My daughter made a beaded bracelet.

This lesson was actually completed months before our Native American unit study, but fit right in.

Joel E. Hendricks has had a life-long interest in Native American costume and design. He is featured in this PBS video, Illinois Stories: Native American Clothes and Beads. His interest began at the age of 9 years old with reading lots of books on the topic. Today, he not only creates Native American clothing, but attends Pow-Wows, judges dancing and works to preserve Native American culture.

My girls love crafting of all sorts, so to inspire them to learn more about Native American history I turned on the video above. Well it didn't take long for the girls to sit beside me. They were very interested.

The video did an excellent job of displaying examples of Native American bead work. After watching, we were craving tutorials.

The video above is one that left an impression on my seven year old. After watching, she got out our beads and tried out some of the techniques.

Plastic Beads

Typically very small, size 13, seed beads and nylon monofilament thread are used for Native American beading. Since my daughter is only seven, the big plastic beads, and ordinary needle and thread worked great. If her interest continues to grow, I will look into purchasing more authentic materials. 

This was another successful interest based educational activity. My daughter did all the work on her own.


  1. Using those big beads is a great idea! We have a large collection of those, but they end up just getting strung on long strings and then scattered around the house. I might need to show this post to my seven-year-old and see what she thinks.

  2. Wow, that's great!! Love studies like this! Great way to get kids interested and actually remember what they read/watched. Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Linkup!


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