The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose

Extension Activities and Books for The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose from Sonlight’s HBL K Program

Extension Activities for The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose in Sonlight’s HBL K Program. 

–Contains Affiliate Links; many books are out of print but still available


**Warning** Several of the books here still refer to Native Americans as “Indians.” While I realize how offensive this can be, many of these books are out of print, probably due to that very reason, but can still be found relatively easily, and I personally believe that the content of the books and the learning they provide can be balanced if one chooses to instead substitute the word “Indian/s” for their own choice of vocabulary. 


Extras for the Whole Book

Draw Write Now, the art drawing book Sonlight sells, has a volume about Native Americans. Book 3 covers all kinds of related topics so your children can draw their own villages. If you don’t want to buy the whole set, you can just buy one book at a time. Book 3 also contains North America and Pilgrims, so it can be used for the first several weeks of the core. 

Older children with some reading/writing skills might like the History Pocket book that goes with Native Americans. We found it to be too much for the fast pace of this schedule, but if one were to take a few days off to add on more content about these peoples, this is a great resource, and you can combine it with a few of the other recommended books below. It has a lot of hands-on activities for various groups. 

Extras for the Northwest Coast

For an older child who would like to explore the Native American groups more (Sonlight is fairly light on individual groups of the Americas, in all their levels), this book is a great addition. It’s from the same series as a couple of the other books in the Sonlight core. It is rather lengthy to read in just 1-2 sittings, however. 

This book that has your child put together an Indian Village like those on the Northwest Coast, complete with canoes, is out of print, but occasionally, you can find one for sale on used forums, and it’s pretty good and easy. Some children might need some help with the dexterity skills to put together the village. We really enjoy these, and they add a great hands-on experience. 

This project book is a little longer and more involved, but great fun for older students to put together. 


Here is a great video that illustrates several of the things in the book, and is only a few minutes long. 

Extras for the Southwest 

Here is another great project book that will definitely take longer than a day or two to complete, but can be used over again in HBL D as well. Very fun, but does require a certain degree of dexterity. 


If You Lived with the Hopi is another in the “If You Lived” series of books that can be a great addition, but is hard to read in just 1-2 sittings. 

Here is another book that lets your children assemble their own Southwest village. The “Easy-to-Make version of this book has a rather misleading title, but it is significantly easier to make than their other version


Here is a short video that helps to illustrate the people group from the book. 

Extras for the Plains

Another assemble a village book about the Plains Native Americans. As you can tell, we really like these. They don’t take very long to do, and are a great family project, and add an excellent visual and hands-on aspect. 


If You Lived with the Sioux is another book from the If You Lived Series that will take a few days to get through, but provide a ton of detail for older children. 

Video to help illustrate some things in the book.

Extras for the Woodlands

If You Lived with the Cherokee and If You Lived with the Iroquois are two more books from the If You Lived series that take place in this region. 

I wish I could find a great project book for this section, but I can’t seem to find one. However, the longhouses in the Northwest Coast books can be adapted (or used as is) to work here as well. 


Here is a good video that shows building a wigwam and several aspects of Woodlands life. 

Here is a video on how to build a longhouse out of pipe cleaners. 


Please share your own ideas and activities to help this book come alive. 

  1. Thank you so much for compiling these resources and sharing! Evan-moor publishes and sells on their site a smaller theme pocket book which is only four pockets. Each of the pockets corresponds with the four people groups in North America. There’s two projects per pocket—we’ve taken just a little extra time from the schedule to complete the crafts.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them. I know about this resource but hadn’t thought about it for K, since we have used it with D in the past. 😉 Great suggestion.

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