November is National Native American Heritage Month, a chance to honor the history and continuing culture of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. 

Get your kids involved! Here are family-friendly ideas to celebrate and learn about Indigenous peoples of the United States.

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1. Learn about the Native tribes in your area.

Did you know that our state’s name is an Algonquian Indian word? “Connecticut” means “long river” and refers to the Connecticut River.

  • Talk to your child about the people who first cared for the land where your family lives today. Native Languages of America shares kid-friendly facts about Connecticut’s Mahican, Minisink, Nipmuc, Niantic, Pocumtuc, Mohegan and Pequot tribes. 
  • If your child is older, visit the Connecticut State Library for a full list of historical Connecticut tribes, then head to the library or online to research them.

Not in Connecticut? Click around Native Land’s online map to see federally recognized tribes where you live.

2. Check out Native American museums and cultural centers.

As much as possible, learn about Native cultures straight from the source, by researching local tribes and visiting their museums, cultural centers, and events.

> Related: Discussing Racial Inequality and Social Justice With Children

3. Take a deeper dive with Native American heritage sites.

Spend some time on the National Park Service’s Native American Heritage Month website, which makes it easy to discover important people and stories.

There, you and your child will also learn about the U.S. parks, memorials, and historic sites that honor Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

4. Read children’s books by or about Native Americans, Alaska Natives, or Native Hawaiians.

Ask your local librarian for their favorites! You can also find tons of book lists online. Here are a few to get you started:

5. Connect with the land.

Indigenous peoples have a special relationship with the natural world. This month, find ways for your child to deepen their own love for the land.

Take a walk in the woods. Go stargazing. Make a craft with fall leaves. Clean up a neighborhood park. Take time to appreciate and give back to Mother Earth.

> Related: Bundle Up! Ideas for Outdoor Fun With Kids, Even in Winter

A father and son outside in the rain

6. Learn about traditional Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian music and instruments.

For example, drums hold great cultural and symbolic power for many Native tribes. Search for an online tutorial to make a drum out of an oatmeal box – or just grab a couple pots and spoons, and set aside time for a family drum circle.

7. Sample authentic Native American food.

This is an excellent way to get kids involved in the kitchen! See what you can learn about local tribes, and the food they traditionally ate. (Hint: For many Indigenous peoples in America, the three staples are corn, beans and squash.) Then plan a special meal to feature them.

For recipes, try First Nations Development Institute, which shares popular dishes like fry bread and Wojapi, and, which lists 25 favorites.

8. If you have younger kids, make a respectful Native craft.

This is most meaningful when you connect it to tribes from your area. The Internet is full of ideas, from a cardboard tube totem pole to a mini wigwam made of paper. Or start at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, which presents video tutorials for a sunflower bracelet, summer strawberry, and cornhusk dragonfly.

From our Connecticut Children’s family to yours, happy Native American Heritage Month!