Mongolian Herders’ Homes


Quick! Pack your yurt in a camel-drawn cart! Join nomadic shepherds in Mongolia as you roam central Asia’s steppes to find greener pastures for your animals.


1. For hundreds of years, Mongolian nomads have been on the move in search of pastures for their yaks, goats, sheep, cows, camels, and horses. How does this way of life affect their housing? What materials do they use to construct their yurts? Find out more about these people who live much like than ancestors did. Then make a replica of their portable homes called gers (yurt in Turkish). Here are some suggestions to get you started.

2. Use Crayola Model Magic® Naturals or blend white Model Magic with color from Crayola Washable Multicultural Markers to create the color of felt used by the nomads. On a cardboard base, place a ring of Crayola Model Magic. Insert craft sticks into the Model Magic to form the rounded skeleton of the ger. Or cover a round recycled plastic container such as a margarine tub with Model Magic.

3. Doors on gers face south and have intricate carvings. Use craft sticks to carve your door in the modeling compound. With Crayola Scissors, cut fabric to drape over or inside the ger if you wish. Your home must be ready to pack up and be on the move within an hour!

4. Imagine guests are coming to your yurt. What do you serve them? Airag (mares’ milk) is traditionally offered to visitors. Share what you’ve learned with your classmates as graciously as you would welcome visitors to your ger.

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.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

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.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Students with special needs may prefer to rely on photographs of gers to guide their construction. Some may also find working with a partner to be helpful. Drawing, painting, and using blankets to create a ger are other possibilities.
  • Add people, animals, and steppes for a more realistic scene.
  • Compare the lives of Mongolian nomads to shepherds in other parts of Asia such as Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Identify the area known as the steppes of Asia on a map. What is the terrain and weather like there?
  • Learn more about the wool, cashmere, and other items that Mongolian shepherds produce.
  • Assessment: Verify the accuracy of the design of the ger and the information presented. Is it communicated clearly and in an interesting manner?

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Markers
  • Model Magic®
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • craft sticks
  • fabric
  • recycled cardboard
  • recycled plastic containers



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12
  • Special Needs


  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour


  • Students research the lives and homes of traditional Mongolian herders who are nomadic.

  • Students understand that homes are built depending on climate, available building supplies, and cultural traditions.

  • Students create a replica of an authentic Mongolian yurt or ger and present their findings to other students.


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