This past fall we read a lot about Native Americans, specifically the Wabanaki who live in this region. We visited a couple of museums, and started planning a wigwam. We built tiny Playmo sized wigwams, and cut a few poles for our life-size wigwam–then it snowed. A lot. Fortunately it melted. We had about a week between snow falls when the ground was clear and we got to work.
Our own wigwam has a somewhat official base of large saplings stuck into the ground then bent across the circle and tied to its matching sapling, to form a hemi-sphere of bent saplings. The kids were really pushing for authentic spruce roots for tying. I used garden twine. Next a ring of saplings is bent and wrapped around the frame. Officially birch bark or woven reed mats would be used as a cover. We chose an old brown tarp. In some cases an external frame of bent saplings would be constructed over the covering to hold it in place. Maybe we’ll do that in the spring. You Tube has a lot of good videos on building wigwams.
This is one of the sources we used: http://youtu.be/YpGytQ2Vqh0.
Another good resource was “The Wigwam and the Longhouse” by Charlotte and David Yue.
I wish I had thought to take pictures as we built the frame. I must have been preoccupied sawing saplings, tying twine, and trying to supervise a preschooler with a handsaw. But, here’s the final product. And some very silly kids.
Yes, they still have all their fingers.