What Cheer! (<– that’s Hello! in Pilgrim)
Speaking of the Pilgrims, we’ve been on a six week journey into the lives of these people. Oh my! The sacrifice, the hardship these people endured is incomparable to anything I’ve personally experienced. These Separatists were driven out of their homeland to Holland and eventually landing in the New World. Speared onward by their deep conviction to worship freely they pressed through conditions unfathomable for the hope of freedom. I thank them dearly for their sacrifice. This is a foundation that weaves its way into the fabric of Americanism.
Here’s a list of books and activities that we’ve used to learn about the Pilgrims (and Wampanoag). First, I should mention we are using Trail Guide to Learning this year. It just so happens (perfect timing) that our 6 week Pilgrim unit is during November. This was the launching point for our deep dive into Pilgrims. This curriculum uses Stories of the Pilgrims as a read aloud (we chose the Kindle audio version), Sarah Morton’s Day, Samuel Eaton’s Day, The Story of the Pilgrims and Squanto’s Journey. These provide a very well rounded history of the Pilgrims from Holland to the New World where they meet their new friend Squanto. There are many projects included in the unit such as studies of various Native American tribes, food sources and animals.
After reading about Sarah Morton and Samuel Eaton we discovered that these books were created by Scholastic and Plimoth Plantation. Plimoth Plantation is a living museum with a valuable website. I was fascinated by the material provided and spent several hours reading through the content on the site. They have fun facts, recipes, lifestyles of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag and videos.
Our hunger for more knowledge about life in the 1600’s lead us to the library where (thank you librarian) we found another gem in the form of a book, Colonial Kids. This book is jam-packed with tidbits (Did you know most Pilgrims had no teeth by age 20? Or that forks were not a utensil used for eating?), crafts, games and recipes. There were so many good ideas we HAD TO HAVE Pilgrim day!
We put our lessons (worksheets and books) away and spent an entire day living like a Pilgrim…well we still used our indoor plumbing and electricity, but you get the idea. Here’s what we accomplished:
We made cornbread and hasty pudding. Corn was a staple without corn these folk literally were starving.
Groaning bread, similar to fruit cake, this was a gift to new mothers.
Ginger snaps, a nod to how this all began…it was the quest for a western trade route to the treasured Asian spices 100 years earlier that inadvertently landed Columbus on the shores of the New World.
Cider, unclean water created a health hazard so Pilgrims relied on cider and beer as their beverage for both adults and kids alike.
Finally, we churned butter.
We made Mayflower Ships from paper.
Paper bag Pilgrim puppets.
Colored Pilgrim and Wampanoag pictures (found at Plimoth Plantation).
Made cards using quilling (an art form using paper strips that have been rolled into designs)
Using a flashlight and dark room, we made silhouettes of our profiles (the first “selfie” 😉 )
There are many other ideas included in this book, but we simply ran out of hours in our Pilgrim Day. A few fun suggestions in the book include games and sewing ideas. I’m writing it here as a reminder for next year :). Another activity we incorporated throughout the month was a Thankful Tree (I purchased one from Target this year), as well as, fill in the blank “I’m thankful for…” printables.
I hope you find inspiration from this list of Pilgrim (Wampanoag) books, recipes, crafts and more! I’m incredibly thankful for the sacrifice of this early generation, I’m equally thankful that I’m not a Pilgrim living in those harsh conditions!