November 20th, 2009 by Kristi Stephens
We have been having a ball learning about the first Thanksgiving at our house. It all started innocently with some pilgrim hats. AG loved her bonnet SO much that she wore it all. the. time. To the grocery store, the library, in the car, around the house. I felt compelled to sew her an entire costume.
She loves it. It was a giant pain, and was the biggest clothing-type sewing project I have ever taken on. Hence, it is not perfect, but AG absolutely loves it. In case you’re wondering, I used Simplicity pattern number 3725. Thank you, Lord, for Simplicity patterns being on sale for $1 and the fabric being $2/yard! Hooray!
I must say, while the hats and costume were time consuming, they were definitely worth it for the amount of “pilgrim discussion” they caused. AG would sit at the table with me while I worked and asked a lot of questions about the pilgrims, and I think it gave her a much better understanding of how difficult life was for them. One day she was talking about how it was taking me a long time [thanks a lot], and then asked, “was it this hard for the Pilgrims?” We discussed for a while that I had a sewing machine and iron that used electricity, and we could go to the fabric store to buy whatever we needed rather than having to make it ourselves. It would have been much more difficult and time consuming for them to make their clothes, and they had lots of other work they had to do!
Speaking of difficult work, we also did the classic project of making your own butter by shaking heavy whipping cream in a jar. AG shook it for oh, 10 seconds, and then announced that she was tired and asked if it was butter yet! With prodding she did it for a while longer and then NP inherited the project. ;) Again, this was a very hands-on learning experience for her that the pilgrims had to work hard to do anything! We enjoyed our fresh butter and honey on homemade bread made with fresh-milled wheat at dinner. Yum.
I was so excited to come across this great website with tons of pictures of Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower II, and the reconstructed Wampanoag village. Again, this really helped my concrete-thinking three year old to grasp more of what life was like. After we looked through those pictures, we were all ready to make our Indian headdresses!
Of course we’ve also been discussing lots of things that we are thankful for, and have greatly enjoyed our Thanksgiving crayon leaves that we made. Our Psalm 100 leaves have also morphed into a border around our dining room. It’s very festive in there. :)
Here are some of our favorite books that we’ve enjoyed learning with:
• One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B.G. Hennessy – cute rhyming text and colorful illustrations. Both kidlets love this one!
• This First Thanksgiving Day: a counting story by Laura Krauss Melmed – this book is so cute. I love the illustrations and it’s fun to read. Both the kids are fans, and so am I!
• Thanksgiving Day by Gail Gibbons – this book is a simple but well-done overview of the Pilgrim’s journey to America, their first winter, how the Indians helped them, and their celebration of their first Thanksgiving. It also ties in how our feasts today are similar to theirs, which is nice.
• Our Thanksgiving Book by Jane Moncure – AG really likes this book. This story centers around children who are learning about Thanksgiving in their class at school. It includes some simple craft ideas, making butter [AG was thrilled when she saw that they did what we had already done!], and a simple overview of the history of the Pilgrims and Indians. They also discuss Indian words and names – AG decided she wanted “Little Flock Bird” to be her Indian name!! =}
• Thanksgiving Day Crafts by Arlene and Herbert Erlbach – some great easy craft ideas in here – we’ll be pulling some things from this next week!
• Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson – this book centers around a modern Thanksgiving celebration, with a continual refrain of “it is good to give thanks to the Lord” from Psalm 92.
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For more preschool ideas, click over to Homeschool Creations’ Preschool Corner!