Eskimo crafts for kids might accompany an activity about the state of Alaska, the Arctic, winter or Native Americans. Many distinct art forms exist among the Eskimos. Mimic many of these with children using common, everyday materials. For inspiration, visit a sight such as the Library of Congress to find illustrations of authentic Eskimo people, scenes and art.
Kids can create simulated scrimshaw, the art of engraving on ivory or bone, using a smooth bar of white soap, a pointed wooden stick and India ink. Images of animals and Arctic nature scenes decorate the sides of the bar. India ink--quickly brushed on to rest in the crevices and then wiped off slightly with a soft cloth--accentuates and darkens the designs.
White bar soap also simulates simple Eskimo carvings of ivory. Plastic knives and toothpicks make suitable carving tools for small hands. Simple shapes such as those of polar bears, walruses and seals make an easy project reminiscent of traditional Eskimo carvings.
Packing peanuts make an easily carved ice block for making igloo models. The cut-off peanut ends have a squared shape. With the squared end facing out, formed into a circle and stacked on top of one another into a dome shape, the peanuts create a visually convincing igloo model. White school glue provides an excellent adhesive.
Dogsled and Driver
Modelling clay formed into small Eskimo dogsled drivers and dogs should accompany a sled created of craft sticks. Painted brown, black and tan, the dogs should be attached to the sleigh using short lengths of leather lacing.
A mask used in burial ceremonies provides another easy kid craft. Eskimos, like other Native Americans, used masks for various ceremonies. Modelling clay makes a suitable material for creating a model of the burial mask, a simple, mostly unadorned mask. A flattened ball of clay, placed over an upside down mixing bowl creates the base of the mask. Kids pinch and pull eyes, a nose, cheeks and a mouth for the mask. Finally, a coat of brown paint spread thick and then rubbed off with paper towels gives the mask an authentic look.
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