Last year around Thanksgiving, a teacher friend of mine asked me if I knew the true story about Thanksgiving. Well, of course I thought I did. Haven't we all heard the story over and over about the pilgrims, the Native Americans, turkey, and a big feast where everyone gave thanks for the abundant harvest. There is actually a bit more to the story than what I was taught in school and I discovered that much of what I was taught wasn't even true. You and your children can learn the truth for yourself by heading over to Plimoth Plantation's interactive website for kids called You are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving. Jacob thought this site was great and wanted to play it several times. In addition, there is a helpful teacher's guide to go along with the website and it includes questions, maps, and a timeline that can be downloaded for free.
A good book which tells the true story of Thanksgiving is 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving. The Pilgrim Hall Museum website is a great place to find authentic Thanksgiving recipes from America's past. Since it is safe to say that turkeys were eaten at the first celebration, I have included a link to some turkey crafts from DLTK and a thankful tree craft from Enchanted Learning. Another fun idea which can be incorporated into your Thanksgiving celebration is a three dimensional thankful tree. The tree is simply a branch from outside which is placed in a bucket of stones or sand to hold it upright. Your children can then make leaves out of construction paper and print on the leaves what they are thankful for. Next, punch a hole in the leaves and hang them with yarn or ribbon from the branches of your thankful tree. We did this activity one year and the kids enjoyed it. You can check out another version of this craft at FamilyFun.com.
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