Teaching Your Kids About the Pilgrims

Thanksgiving is a day that is associated with family, friends, relaxation, and an annual shared feast. This year, take the opportunity to teach your kids a little bit more about American history, and learn how the Pilgrims' landing at Plymouth became the yearly celebration known as Thanksgiving. How do you plan on teaching your kids about the Pilgrims’ adventure and discovery of the New World? Here are a few fun tips you could use to teach your little learners about the story behind the first Thanksgiving.

The Story

Find out how to teach your kids about the history behind Thanksgiving "Pilgrims" by Violette79 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

In 1620, 102 Pilgrims left England aboard the Mayflower en route to the New World or what we now know as the Americas. Landing near Cape Cod, the Pilgrims eventually began establishing a village at Plymouth, but were confronted with harsh conditions that they were not prepared to face.

The settlement struggled during its first months in the New World, until the Pilgrims met the local Native Americans tribes, who taught them how to tend to the land and survive. From growing corn to fishing, the Pilgrims’ new range of skills helped them adjust to the New World, which helped foster a deeper relationship between the English colonists and their Native American counterparts. After the Pilgrims' first successful harvest season, the two groups came together to celebrate, and this eventually became the “First Thanksgiving.”

Pilgrim Crafts

Whether you build a replica of the Mayflower ship, or create pilgrim hats and accessories with construction paper, crafts are a popular learning tool among kids of all ages. Linking the story of Thanksgiving to a fun and interactive activity can ultimately help your kids retain the information better. For a quick and easy activity, turn to worksheets or coloring pages that help with spreading the spirit of the season.

Reenact the First Thanksgiving

Gather your kids and their local friends for a shared meal, and act out the first Thanksgiving according to the original pilgrim settlement and style. Create a festive table setting and costumes to celebrate the things your kids are most thankful for.

Thanksgiving-themed Movie Night

Host a Thanksgiving-themed movie night with your friends and family to get into the spirit of the season. Special nights like this enable your family to better appreciate time they are able to spend together.

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