THANKSGIVING UNIT STUDY FUN FAMILY IDEAS
learning with real life!
Thanksgiving should be a time for family and friends
and learning the real meaning behind the holiday.
It should also be a time to apply what we've learned
into practical outreach and giving activities and
family share time together.
Some study and research questions -
Where did the pilgrim's come from?
Why did the pilgrim's come to America?
How did they get here and at what cost to themselves?
Did America prove to be the asylum that they had hoped? Why or
What did the pilgrim's do for a living before coming to America?
How did they provide for themselves in the New World?
What religious liberty did the pilgrim's seek?
Why not just go along with the King's religious laws to make
for peace? Were the Pilgrim's right? Where can you support
your answer from the scriptures.
What is a Puritan? What is a separatist?
Today we think very little of what true religious liberty. It
is taken for granted because right now, here in America, we
still have the liberty to worship and honor God according to the
dictates of conscience. Revelation speaks of a time when this
gift of liberty will be threatened. What a precious time to
give Thanksgiving to God for the ability to worship Him in peace
* Do a
research paper on what Religious Liberty is.
Where in Revelation does it speak of us being forced to "worship
pilgrims took a stand for truth and had faith in God to walk in
it. God honored that faith. Has there been a time in your life
or in the life of someone you know where they have had to stand
* Write out a daily journal for a
week in the life of someone on the Mayflower - this may include
daily chores, conversations with others aboard, etc.
Explain how the pilgrims ended up in Holland before coming to
Write out the words to one of Thanksgiving Hymns listed below.
Write out several Bible verses on Thanksgiving.
Retell the first Thanksgiving story and draw pictures to
Write a letter as if you were a pilgrim after the first hard
winter. Write this letter to a family member back home in
England. Tell about the experiences of that hard winter. What
would you say?
Write out your thanksgiving menu. Write out invitations to
family and friends to invite either to Thanksgiving or to a
simple thankfulness meal at your home.
On a globe or wall map of the world find Holland (where
the pilgrims came from).
With a finger trace the route to America.
Where was the Mayflower supposed to take the Pilgrim's?
Where did the Mayflower end up? And why? Could that have been
providential? If so, why?
Draw on a small map - the route of the Mayflower - draw a
small Mayflower ship to indicate the ship's voyage path with
dotted lines to America.
Make miniature Pilgrim's and Native Americans out of Paper
dolls, puppets, cardboard etc. and act out the Pilgrim's story
with the First Thanksgiving.
Make a shoe box (or larger) scene of one aspect of the Pilgrim's
voyage or life in America.
Make a book retelling the Pilgrim Story. You can bind it using
the techniques from
Valerie Bendt's book Creating Books with Children.
Draw a scene on a large wall or hall of paper showing the first
Find a book that shows the Mayflower and if possible what it was
like to ride on the ship. What did the ship look like? Where
did the Pilgrim's stay? What was it like? A good book is "On
the Mayflower" by Kate Waters.
Draw and color a picture of the Mayflower. Or make your
own model of one.
What type of food would you eat on the Mayflower?
What a day on the ship be like? What types of chores or
would an adult or a child do?
During the voyage to America the ship encountered a fierce
During the storm a baby was born. What was the Baby's name?
How many pilgrims boarded the ship? How many survived?
How many crew members were aboard?
Read "If you sailed on the Mayflower" by Ann McGovern.
When the Pilgrims arrived in America, there were no homes for
in. What did they do? How many homes if any could be built
before winter? Where did the pilgrim's stay for the winter?
Locate on a map where the Pilgrims settled.
How many people died that first winter? How did they bury their
And why did they bury them the way they did?
What type of home did the Pilgrims build? What were they made
picture of this type of home.
Samoset and Squanto became friends to the pilgrims. There help
was very much needed. Samoset was an Algonquin and Squanto was
a Patuxet Indian. Find some information on both of these
people. God used them to help the pilgrims begin a new life in
Read a book on Squanto or listen to the Focus on the Family
Audio story of his life. It is a fascinating account. God's
preservation of his life enabled him to help preserve the lives
of the pilgrims.
Chief Massasoit agreed to a peace treaty. There was peace
between the settlers and the Native Americans for over 50
years. What is a peace treaty? What would be the obligation of
both the settlers and the Indians toward each other?
CRAFTS & FUN
pair of moccasins can be made by locating an old leather coat at
the Salvation Army or Thrift store. Use that to cut out
patterns of moccasins for your children. There are many Indian
craft books that will give you slightly different directions. A
child can add beadwork to their finished moccasins.
Create a picture with beads. First draw/color a small picture
onto graph paper. Don't go more than 10 or 12 beads/graphsquares
high and 25 or 30 wide. Then thread your beads together with
ribbon or tough string. Ribbon is a little easier to use. Take a
ribbon about 6 or 8 feet long and fold in half. Attach the
center of your ribbon onto a ring or clasp and double not it -
there should be two equal lengths of ribbon extending from the
ring. For each row (high) thread the correct number and color
onto one length of ribbon and then run the 2nd length of ribbon
through the same beads from the opposite direction. Pull tight
and then thread the next row of beads onto one length of ribbon
and then follow the 2nd ribbon through the opposite direction -
pull tight. Keep this same threading going until your beadwork
is finished. Tie off at the end.
Make Corn Husk Dolls or Indian dolls.
The book Algonquin and Iroquois Crafts for you to Make by Janet
& Alex D'Amato has many craft projects - birch bark canoes,
indian village, clothes, weaving and more.
Learn to play the Indian Flute or Ocarina.
Draw Write Now Book 3 has drawing and writing activities based
on the Native Americans, North America and the Pilgrims. These
would be good for helping a child to draw the pictures he would
What did the Native Americans eat? What did the Pilgrims eat?
How is it different from what we eat today?
What are some foods that the pilgrims learned to grow from the
What types of nuts and berries, grains, herbs, fruits and wild
vegetables would the Native Americans and pilgrims have eaten?
Remember they lived in the New England area.
Make a simple nature notebook/field book of the different
animals and plants that the pilgrims used.
The book "My Very Own Thanksgiving - a book of cooking and
crafts" by Robin West, contains wonderful kid fun recipes. Some
recipes included: Squanto's Squash, Basket O' Biscuits, Veggie
Pizza, Sparkling Cider, Pilgrim Peas and then recipes for crafts
for Napkin Rings, Thanksgiving Centerpieces, paper dolls and
many other food and crafty fun recipes too. A neat little book.
-Take the time to make some pies (apple, mince, pumpkin, berry
etc.). Also make some special holiday dishes throughout the
month of November. Stuff a squash with some stuffing and bake
it, make a healthy roast, make pumpkin pie from scratch with a
small pumpkin (and roast the seeds - yum!), make popcorn balls,
homemade bread or rolls and other goodies.
What was the first Thanksgiving like? Why did they have the
feast together with the Native Americans? Make a list of all the
foods you think that they had on that first thanksgiving.
The first Thanksgiving feast lasted for several days. What did
they do? What games and activities did they enjoy together?
Read "The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving" by Ann McGovern.
Make a list of the things that you are thankful for this
Thanksgiving. Have a special family worship together talking
about the first Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving this year. Talk
of the providence in God for the first pilgrims and us today.
Then hold a special family prayer thanking God for His
providential hand in your lives.
Make Thanksgiving Place cards for each person coming for
Thanksgiving Dinner. On the card either write a Thanksgiving
Bible Text (a text of praise to God) or something you are
thankful to God for about that person.
HYMNS OF THANKSGIVING
are a few Hymn titles to research and learn to sing as a family
during worship time. These would make excellent copy work into
Come, Ye Thankful People by Henry Alford
* For the
Beauty of the Earth by Folliott S. Pierpoint
* We Plow
the Fields by Matthias Claudius
Sunrise Hope and Sunset Calm by Amy Carmichael
Thank we all our God by Martin Rinkart
Saints of Old by Frank von Christierson
Persecuted and Betrayed & The First Thanksgiving - Two Stories
Volume 6 of Your Story Hour.
Appleseed - Two Stories from Great New Stories
Volume 3 of Your Story Hour
* Tape 2 from Diana Warings "What in
the World's Going on here Volume 2" - deals with colonization
from a Judeo Christian perspective.
TO READ TOGETHER:
May Flower by Kate Waters
Morton's Day - A day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate
Eaton's Day - A day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
of the Pilgrims by Margaret Pumphrey
Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
Own Thanksgiving - a book of cooking and crafts by Robin West
Recipes of the Pilgrims by George Erdosh
sailed on the Mayflower by Ann McGovern
Thanksgiving by Wilma Pitchford Hays
on the Mayflower by Wilma Pitchford Hays
Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward
Pilgrim Fathers by Elizabeth Payne
Friend of Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla
Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
Plantation by June Behrens
children on the Mayflower by Ida DeLage
Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness
Corn and other gifts by S.A. Lavine
Corn by Aliki
the Plates by Lucille Penner
Story of America by Christian Librety Academy Edition
the Pilgrim Adventure by kate Jassem
Easy-to-do Thanksgiving crafts by Sharon Umnit
Plantation by Video Tours History Collection 1989 (we found
this at through
and the First Thanksgiving by Rabbit Ears Productions 1993
by Video Tours History Colleciton 1990
America Began: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown by
Finley-Holiday Film Corp
~ Take time to enjoy the
specialness of this Thanksgiving as a family.
COPYRIGHT 2000 by Joan LaCelle and LaCelle Family Ministries
Clipart on this webpage is used by permission.