The Three Sisters: Introduction

2009 US coin
featuring Three Sisters
Did you know…

Native Americans called corn, beans, and squash the “three sisters”!

Do you know the “three sisters”?

The first sister is corn, she grows tall and strong and helps the second sister, bean, by allowing her vines to climb up her stalk. In return, bean gives corn the nutrients she needs to grow. Squash is the third sister and she grows low to the ground, throughout the corn field. Her large leaves help to keep the weeds under control and the soil moist.

Three Sisters Mat by Fran W

The “Three Sisters” mat

Here is an activity that will help put the “three sisters” together in a creative
You will need:

Dry beans, pumpkin shapes , 1 fresh ear of corn, non-toxic paint in red, yellow, green and blue, a foam brush for each color, a flat plate or a foam tray, glue, a large piece of white construction paper, a regular-sized piece of orange construction paper, and scissorsOptional items: A wide roll of clear contact paper, and a piece of cardboard the size of the white construction paper

What to do:
  1. Pour non-toxic paint on a flat plate or a foam tray and paint the corn kernels with the foam brushes or clean fingers, then roll the painted cob all over the white construction paper to make corn prints.
  2. When the paint dries, glue a pumpkin shape to each corner of the page and then glue dry beans along the edge between the pumpkins.
Note: When you are finished with the corn cob, it can be washed well and composted or given to outside animals.
Optional step: When the mat is finished, it can be glued to a piece of cardboard to make it sturdy. When everything dries, the whole mat can be carefully covered with clear contact paper so it can be wiped clean and used again.
Tip: When applying the contact paper, try to get it as close to the beans as possible so that the air bubbles do not to take away from the final product.
How to make the pumpkins….
Draw your own pumpkins on orange paper and cut them out, purchase foam pumpkins from the craft store, or make a stamp or pattern with this pumpkin template.

How to use the mat….

Depending on how the beans are placed, this mat can be used as a table setting, as a mat for a centerpiece, or as a wall decoration.

Question of the day:
The 3 sister are an example of, “companion planting”.
What is companion planting and how is it done?
Learn more:
Wikipedia: The Three Sisters
General information about the “three sisters”
Wikipedia: Companion Planting
General information about companion planting
Natvie Tech: How to Plant a Three Sisters Garden
Easy instruction for growing a “three sisters” garden
Companion Planting: Plants that work together
Find out what plants work together to deter pests from invading your garden
The Three Sisters: A Native American Curriculum for Thanksgiving
This is family-based curriculum written with young children in mind – It can be found on Universal Preschool

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2 responses to “The Three Sisters: Introduction”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    thanks! i'm enjoying your blog! thanks for sharing:)melinda

  2. Betty Jo Hendrickson Avatar

    We started our 3 Sisters study today. I appreciate the link to NativeTech! I never considered painting with a corn husk before, brilliant idea!

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