The Pueblo Indian culture reaches back thousands of years to the Mesa Verde area of the Southwest where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet. Pueblo Indians live in distinctive homes made of adobe, stone and wood. They have flat roofs and sometimes stand multiple stories tall, with ladders to reach upper floors. Building a replica of the homes, known as pueblos, gives kids a hands-on experience that helps them visualize how the villages looked. Common materials around the house or classroom work well for the social studies project.
Cut a piece of plywood or thick cardboard for the base. Paint the base light brown to resemble the desert area where the Pueblo Indians live.
Arrange rectangular boxes to create the structure of the pueblo village. Position taller boxes at the back, with boxes gradually getting shorter toward the front to represent the different number of stories. Tape the boxes together to hold the village in place. Tape or glue the pueblo village to the base board.
Cut doors and windows into the boxes with a craft knife. This job is best left to an adult. Draw lines for the windows and doors as a guide before cutting.
Apply clay over the boxes without covering up the windows and doors you cut. Smooth the clay with your hands. This gives it an authentic look. Drag a toothpick across the clay to make cracks that give the pueblo an aged look. Let the clay harden.
Paint the clay-covered boxes with a reddish brown color to resemble the adobe used by the Pueblo Indians. Let the paint dry.
Build ladders using wooden dowels or thin, straight twigs. Cut two long pieces and several short pieces for the rungs. Have an adult hot glue the rungs to the longer pieces to make the ladders. Position the ladders against the pueblos.
Shape Pueblo Indians from leftover clay. Allow the figures to harden. Paint the figures to look realistic. Glue them to the base board or inside the pueblos.