Thanksgiving is the perfect time to honor Native American cultures and their history as they make up an important part of our nation’s heritage. Native American tribes left behind a rich tradition of games, which were played ceremonially, or to demonstrate fitness, to teach, and of course, for entertainment. Exploring Native American games with kids before the food coma sets shows them that despite the gap in time and culture, Native American children liked to have fun just like kids today!
1. The Butterfly Game
The Butterfly Game is a hide and seek style game. Stealth and discipline are needed to play properly! The Anishinaabe believed it was good luck if you were quiet and still enough for a butterfly to land on you. To play, one child covers their eyes and chants, “Butterfly, butterfly, show me where to go.” During this time, the other kids playing quietly and quickly hide. The singer repeats this chant a few times and until “the air becomes still.” Then, they must find the other players without saying a word. It’s a game of observation and skill- fun for all to play! Also some momentary peace and quiet for the parents too! Double bonus!
2. Where’d it Come From?
Here’s another fun game you can play with kids to help them learn where the food they see on the Thanksgiving table comes from! Save the image above to your computer and print it out for the kids to play! Notice that Indians ate a lot like many of us try to eat: organic, local and gluten free! The answer key is posted at the bottom of this blog
3. Dream Guessing and Wishing
This game is very important to the Iroquois people and to this day is often played at celebrations and festivals in the form of riddles. Someone would begin to tell their dream as a story and those listening would try to guess the meaning behind the dream. To play the game, start a discussion about dreams and how the subconscious is a beautiful portal to where our imaginations give us the power to be anything we want to be. Ask the children to think of a dream or a wish that they have had, then have them draw a picture of their dream. Once completed have the kids go around in a circle and share their dream or wish, or for a little more fun, have them pantomime their dream while the others try and guess what it means!
4. Plant seeds, Respect Earth
What better way to say thank you for the bountiful meals and the warm fire we continually sit comfortably by through praising the land which we live on. This is a year long call to action for families and children to give thanks everyday to the Earth, their ancestors and community. Whether it’s going out and visiting a farm, starting a garden in your backyard or just planting a seed in a cup of soil and watching it grow indoors. Here at Blue Orange Games, we hold this practice close to our hearts as we make all our products as eco-friendly as possible. Did you know that we even plant two trees for every tree used in our products? You can help by planting seeds this Holiday season! Giving thanks to the land everyday is something Native Americans have always done even before the first Thanksgiving. What better legacy to leave for future generations than treating our local and global community with respect!
Answer key for food search: All the foods origins come from Native Americans!