Have you heard of the Rush Revere series? It was recommended to me by several people. But I never actually looked into it. Then one day I received a surprise package in the mail from my Mom containing this Rush Revere book (and a couple others). I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did. My kids enjoyed the story and it was a fun way to learn about American history. The book even includes maps, paintings, diagrams & comprehension questions. Plus there’s a website with even more activities. You’ll find study guides, games & challenges geared towards both parents & teachers. Overall, I consider this historical read great for learning more about the pilgrims, their voyage on the Mayflower and their beginnings in the new world.
(Last year around this time we read Thanksgiving on Thursday and Pilgrims: A non-fiction companion to Magic Tree House #27: Thanksgiving on Thursday. I love having the story and facts to go along with it. These books are definitely worth checking out as well).
Mayflower, Plymouth & the Wampanoag
This website, https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids, is super cool! You can learn to talk like a pilgrim, go on a virtual field trip & learn all kinds of great stuff about the Pilgrims and Native Americans from the 1600’s. If you’re lucky enough to live near Plymouth, MA, you could go visit a Pilgrim or Wampanoag village and the Mayflower replica. It’s a step back in time without a time travelling horse named Liberty!
We stepped back in time earlier this year when we stepped aboard the Columbus replica ships. It was an awesome experience. So, should you have the chance to visit Plimoth Plantation, take it for sure! Nothing brings history to life like a good story added to a good experience, right?.
Visit http://mayflowerhistory.com/ and you’ll find some real interesting stuff. It has the passenger list from the Mayflower, information on the crew, provisions list and other historical information about the Mayflower, Plymouth Colony & Wampanoag Indians.
This Scholastic webpage has videos, virtual tours, teacher resources and a host of other information to aid in your learning adventure.
We have a tradition of making a Thanksgiving place mat each year. We usually use fall leaves, cute stickers & hand prints and always include what we are thankful for that year. Then I laminate them and keep them forever so we can look back and see how little hands were and what kind of things we were thankful. This year (because of Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims) I decided we’d do a map of the Mayflowers voyage, have the kids draw pictures, and then write down what they’re thankful for. My daughter opted to write what she was thankful for on the back of her placemat. That gave me the idea to use dry erase marker. You could write down one thing you’re thankful for everyday. Kind of like a countdown to Thanksgiving.
Pilgrims Voyage Game
Be sure to check out my Pilgrims Voyage game. I made it based on information found in the book. (The game set up was inspired by this Storming the Bastille game we played earlier this year). It’s simple to play and requires only the game board, cards, one die and some place markers. Grab yourself a copy at the link below.
Here’s how to play the game. Each player puts their place marker on the start square. Then take turns rolling the die and moving the indicated spaces. If you land on a big wave square, then you draw a card, read what’s on it and move back or forward accordingly. The first person to the finish square (or Plymouth Plantation) is the winner.
While this wasn’t a huge theme in the book, it was at least mentioned that the Pilgrims & Native Americans ate turkey. Plus, turkey is pretty much the first things most people think of when they hear the word Thanksgiving. So why not learn about these magnificent birds? We were involved in a local 4H poultry club last year. It was a great learning experience spending time with the birds. We had no idea how curious and friendly Turkeys could be. I would recommend checking with your local 4H office to see if they have a poultry club. If you don’t want to join, you could at least plan a visit to get up close and personal with some birds. Another idea is to check with your county’s department of conservation. We attended a great class on wild turkeys put on through the county DOC.
You could check out episode 5, Happy Turkey Day
Turkey Fact Fiction or Go Figure Game
I love to play games and so do my kids. Games can be a fun way to review or learn new info. With that said, check out my Turkey Fact, Fiction or Go Figure game. I put it together using facts I found online, made up some fictions & threw in some math problems for good measure. You’ll need a copy of the game board, dice, some place markers and a set of Fact, Fiction or Go Figure cards. I recommend printing on cardstock. If you print on regular paper, the answers on the cards show through. This game is sure to get you up to date on interesting facts about turkeys with a splash of math. There are some blank cards included should you want to add some of your own facts, fictions or math equations to the mix.
Turkey Art & Crafts
There are tons of adorable turkey art & craft projects floating around on the internet.
Don’t stop at arts and crafts, make sure you try some turkey treats! My daughter made & decorated these adorable turkey cupcakes all by herself. She used candy corns, mini-Oreos & mini-M&M’s to decorate them.
The Gratitude Game
Yup. That’s right. Another game. The Gratitude Game is something we try to play weekly, but it’s the perfect game for Thanksgiving. The best part is it can be ultra personalized for your family or group. It’s a bit like gratitude journal prompts but easier because no one has to write anything down. I typed up a bunch of little prompts and questions, cut them into strips, folded them up and put them in a cute little jar. (Although after playing once I realized my cute little jar is too little). You could put them in a basket or bag or whatever you have handy. Then you pass the jar around the table and take turns pulling out a paper, reading it out loud and answer it. Below are some of the prompts/questions I use in my game.
Name three things you are thankful for.
Say one nice thing about (insert family member name here).
Say one nice thing about Mom.
Say one nice thing about Dad.
What makes you happy when you look out the front window?
What makes you happy when we go to ____________________________?
Recall your favorite family outing (movies, beach, field trips, etc.)
What is your favorite thing about your bedroom?
What do you like best about being part of this family?
What food are you most thankful for?
What activity are you most thankful for?
What season of the year are you most thankful for?
Name three things that make your life happy.
Name five people that you think are great.
What modern day invention are you most thankful for?
What is something you could do to show gratitude to someone else?
Name two things (insert family member name here) is really good at.
What would be a way to show your Dad gratitude?
What would be a way to show your Mom gratitude?
What could you do to show your brother/sister gratitude?
What could you do to show your brother/sister gratitude?
What is something someone has done to show you gratitude that you really appreciated?
Name 2 things you are grateful for.
How can you be grateful for what you have every day?
What’s your favorite thing about living in ______________________________?
Recall when being grateful for something made you feel happier.
What’s your favorite thing about Grandma?
What’s your favorite thing about Grandpa?