My daughter made a DIY medicine bag / pouch of her own design, inspired by some of the traditional ones we saw. When my three year old son saw his sister’s, he wanted to try, too. So, I simplified the design into a drawstring pouch for him.
- soft felt
- thick embroidery needle
- yarn or embroidery thread
- beads and feathers, if desired
1. Trace and cut a circle from the felt.
2. Thread the needle (My daughter can do this but I did this for my son.) Push through from the outside to the inside, leaving a few inches at the outside. You can tape the yarn to make sure it stays put.
3. Sew a simple running stitch along the perimeter. A running stitch is the kind that goes over, under, over, under at even intervals. Just like this: - - - - - -
I was very impressed with how much concentration my very active three year old son brought to this project.
4.Once you get to the spot adjacent to the point where you began, leave a few inches of yarn.
(If you are working with an older child, you can do a second perimeter of stitches starting at the opposite end of the circle. This will make the closing a little more effective but is not necessary if you have a younger child with a shorter attention span.)
5. Add beads, with both strands of yarn running through the beads. Tie off at the end.
6. You can stitch at the bottom of the bag and tie feathers, if you wish. Or add other embellishments.
7. Place your natural treasures in the center of the circle and then pull on the ends of the yarn and knot to keep in place.
8. Cut a length of yarn and tie one end to a stitch on one side of the bag, 90 degrees from the drawstring closure. Tie the other end of the yarn to another stitch on the other side.
- Culture: What was the significance of the medicine bag? Who was the healer in the Native tribes? What might be in the medicine bag? What would you put in your medicine bag?
- History and Science (for older kids): How are Native American medicine and modern Western medicine similar? How do they differ?
- Culture (for older kids): How did spiritual beliefs and the role of holy men and women and healers differ from tribe to tribe?
- Home Arts: Sewing is a great way to build fine motor skills and concentration.