11/11/08

What Really Happend at the First Thanksgiving?

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.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Well, I have to add, if you ever get the chance to visit Plimoth Plantation...Go! It is a little pricey but worth every penny (and it is a two day pass). My daughter was 9 at the time and loved it. I thought she might not "get it", since we had only studied The Ancients up to that point, but she did.

It was great explaining to the people that we were from NEW Jersey...not THE Jerseys over in England. The look of bewilderment was priceless when trying to explain how it took 7 hours to get there and 300 miles not the 20 they expected. When explaining where NJ was we had to say "the territory south of the Hudson" for them to understand. We had a fantastic conversation on the way home. I LOVE "living" history.

So, if you ever get the chance, put it on "the list".