Reeds and Rainwater Make Baskets


Weave a basket? Sure! Explore how the Caribs of Dominica use natural materials to create beautiful handcrafted baskets.


1. The Caribs, who are descendants of the Arawaks (the native people of the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica) are expert basket weavers. They soak very thin strips of reed in tree stumps where rainwater collects. The tree and its bark produce natural dyes, resulting in many different values of the color brown. Here’s one way to create a replica Carib basket.

2. Use Crayola® Multicultural Markers to color several thick stripes of different shades of brown on a large sheet of paper. Cut thin strips from each stripe with Crayola Scissors.

3. Weave a square bottom with several strips. Fold up the ends of the strips and weave them into sides. How to make your strips longer? Just glue another strip on the end with a Crayola Glue Stick.

4. To finish your basket, fold the strip ends into the inside of your basket and trim them. Glue the ends inside the basket. These make great gifts or organizers. What will you do with your basket?

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.


  • Create different shapes and sizes of woven baskets. Try weaving placemats, purses, and hats.
  • Examine a variety of woven objects from many different cultures. Note the various types of weaving patterns, colors, and materials.
  • Research the history of the Caribs of Dominica. Find out why Dominica is called the Nature Island. Locate the island on a map.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Multicultural Markers
  • Glue Sticks
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12


  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • Less than 1/2 hour
  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Children learn about the natural artistic properties of reeds and barks used by the indigenous people of Dominica to create basketry.

  • Children weave a paper basket in a variety of natural tones.


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