Yawn! Here in Wonderopolis, it’s just about time for a nap. Don’t worry, though, sweet dreams lie ahead!

Good dreams are sure to come along if you hang a dream catcher above your bed. In Native American culture, dream catchers are handmade crafts that consist of a round hoop (often made of willow wood) woven with a loose web of yarn and decorated with beads and feathers hanging below the hoop.

Dream catchers got their start in the Ojibwa (Chippewa) Nation. Over time, though, they caught on with most other Native American peoples. Today, they often serve as a symbol of Native American culture in general.

Dream catchers were hung above the beds of sleeping children to protect them from bad dreams and evil spirits. Legends held that the spider web design of the dream catcher would allow good dreams to pass through and float down the hanging beads and feathers to sleeping children.

Bad dreams, however, would be caught in the web. As the first rays of the morning light hit the dream catcher, the bad dreams would disappear. Children sleeping under a dream catcher would thus be protected from nightmares.

Others interpret the dream catcher’s function in a different way. Some believe instead that bad dreams pass through the holes in the web and exit out the nearest window. The good dreams, on the other hand, get caught in the web and slide down the beads and feathers to the sleeping child below.

However dream catchers are believed to work, their underlying meaning and symbolism remains the same. They serve a protective purpose. Those who believe in them think that they act as a filter for dreams, directing the good dreams to the sleeper and deflecting the bad dreams away.

Traditional dream catchers are made with eight points where the web attaches to the hoop. These eight points represent the eight legs of a spider. The spider symbolizes energy, wisdom and learning.

For some Native Americans, dream catchers have a broader meaning than just the legends related to dreams. For these people, dream catchers are totems that represent good energy and help to neutralize bad energy — whether you’re awake or asleep!

27 Join the Discussion

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars  (57 votes, avg. 4.12 out of 5)
    • Hi there, TJ! We’re so glad to hear that you enjoyed today’s Wonder of the Day®! Wasn’t that video AWESOME? The lady in the video, Mrs. Angela, is an AWESOME Wonder Friend and she made today’s video with her crafty, creative daughter especially for Wonderopolis! How cool is THAT? :-)

    • We think that’s a GREAT guess for tomorrow’s Wonder, Rahul! We sure do appreciate you visiting today’s Wonder and sharing this SUPER comment with us! You are AWESOME! :-)

  1. Dream catchers remind me of a Guatemalan tradition, Worry Dolls. You make little dolls and place them under your pillow at night to keep your worries away.
    I think the dream catchers are a great way to recycle. We have a lot of recycling goods that we could use to make a dream catcher. :-)

    • Thanks so much for sharing with us about Worry Dolls, Charlie! We like learning new things! We also think it’s SUPER awesome that you are thinking of creative ways to use your recycled goods! Way to go! :-)

  2. It’s pretty cool how the lady looped the yarn to make a spider web in her dream catcher. I like how you can make them in different ways. I might try to make a dream catcher one day. I think it would help our family sleep. :-)

    • We really think it’s GREAT that you liked the dream catchers in the video for today’s Wonder and also that you are going to try to make your own, Helena! Thank you so much for leaving us another WONDERful comment! You are an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

  3. This wonder rocks because it reminds me when I
    was in third grade, I did a project about Pocahontas (a Native American) and I made my own dream catcher. This wonder also rocks because
    it was interesting and you rock for making today’s wonder of the day! :D

    • Well, we think your comment ROCKS all the way around, Julie! Thank you for leaving us such a SUPER nice message and also for letting us know about a time when you made your own dream catcher! That is SO COOL! :-)

  4. That is one crazy idea of a dream catcher to get bads and leave goods. But, that is a great idea of imagination and creations. I also have things hanging in my room – 2 small wooden crafts and a model of the solar system. :-D

    • Thanks so much for sharing about the AWESOME objects you have hanging in your room and also for sharing your thoughts about dream catchers, Carlos! We can always count on you to leave us a WONDER-filled message on each day’s Wonder of the Day®! You ROCK! :-)

  5. This video Rocks!
    I have really bad dreams! Last night, I dreamt of a monster eating my house! I am very keen to make one!

    • Thanks for letting us know you thought the video for this Wonder of the Day® ROCKED, Sophie! We’re super sorry you had a bad dream the other night. Hopefully you will only have SUPER AWESOME ones from now on! Have a WONDERful day! :-)

  6. The dream catchers sound really interesting and it was fun to learn about them! I’m going to try to make them today and it’s sounds really fun! :-)

    • We think making dream catchers sounds like a GREAT activity today, Lydia! Thank you for stopping by this Wonder about them and also for letting us know you thought it was FUN to learn in Wonderopolis! Please let us know how your dream catchers turn out…we hope you have WONDERful dreams! :-)

    • Thank you for commenting, Joe! We are SUPER excited that you enjoyed Wondering about dream catchers– we Wonder if you’ve made a dream catcher of your own? Have a WONDERful day! :)

    • Well thanks, Zechariah! That was an AWESOME comment– we are so happy to hear you enjoy WONDERing just like us! Have a SUPER day– we will see you soon! :)

  7. For me personally I think they are just a myth because we have a lot of dreamcatchers and after every bad dream I have or dream they still have the same ammout of beads.

  8. I always believed in them and have had one above my bed
    for past few years

    took one down to fix the hook…..hung it back up
    the dream was about the house being haunted

    the houses and never selpt without it hanging again

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do dream catchers catch dreams?
  • What is a dream catcher made of?
  • Can you make your own homemade dream catcher?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

Ready to catch some good dreams? First, you’ll need to make your own homemade dream catcher! Check out the links below for instructions to make dream catchers out of a variety of materials.

Choose one project to complete with your friends or family members. Make sure you check the list of supplies, since you may need to make a quick trip to the store before you get started.

When you’re finished, upload a picture of your dream catcher to Facebook. We can’t wait to see what your homemade dream catcher looks like. Be sure to let us know if it works. Sweet dreams!

Still Wondering

Check out EDSITEment!’s Native American Cultures Across the U.S. lesson to discuss the differences between five Native American tribes within the U.S.

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is full of canines and felines!

Upload a Photo or Paste the URL of a YouTube or SchoolTube Video.