Longhouse Spirits


Tell bigger-than-life raven stories from the Tlingit, Salish, and Haida nations. Build a miniature theatre to set the stage for your drama.


1. Native Americans who live in Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington create art and drama based on characters in the traditional stories. The star of these is Raven, who is believed to be a trickster and also a shapechanger (he could change his shape into other animals).

2. Raven stories teach lessons about how animals live together in nature. Other characters include Beaver (hard working), Mouse Woman (fairy godmother), Eagle (very powerful being) and Bear (greedy and always hungry). Create this easy origami backdrop for a puppet theater.

3. Fold a replica longhouse. Fold large construction paper in half so the short ends meet. Fold both open ends into the middle. Unfold. Spread the flaps at each end apart and crease to form a triangle at the top. Unfold. Push the triangle up to form the house.

4. Make your spirit shape. Decide which spirit being best describes you or your family. Draw it on with Crayola® Markers. Begin your drawing with traditional black shapes (formlines). Add more interesting designs inside these with the traditional colors of red and blue-green.

5. Cut out the spirit shape with Crayola Scissors. Use a Crayola Glue Stick to attach your spirit to the longhouse. Write an artist’s statement about why you chose this character to represent you or your family.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Research basic shapes used in Pacific Northwest Native Art (ovoid, U-form, S-form, and formline). Draw other characters using each of these shapes.
  • Cover recycled boxes to make larger puppet theaters shaped like longhouses or other homes. Design elaborate sets to present scripts.
  • Make stick puppets using the ideas in the Crayola.com Lesson Plan called Raven the Trickster Puppet Tales. Present the show for younger children or your families.
  • Assessment: Note whether students used thick black shape/lines that are the primary drawing of the animal, with accent shape/lines in traditional red and blue-green.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Markers
  • Glue Sticks
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper™ Crayon Classpack®



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour


  • Students research geography of the Pacific Northwest and Native American nations living in those areas (Tlingit, Salish, and Haida).

  • Students compare and contrast traditional characters and their believed powers, and determine which is most appropriate to represent themselves or their families.

  • Students create their version of the stylized art of Pacific Northwest nations.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards