Since one of the best ways to teach young children concepts is through hands-on experiences, I wanted to share a few ideas that allow students to experience the First Thanksgiving. After setting up your classroom with the props, discuss the story of the first Thanksgiving and allow the children to act it out.
To create The Mayflower collect a refrigerator or large box from a local appliance store. Using box cutters cut a boat shape from the box (see pictures below). Paint the box brown (you may do this yourself or have the students help). For a more realistic look you may use a marker to create “wood grain”. The leftover cardboard can be cut into waves to resemble the ocean (see picture).
To create a Pilgrim house collect a washer or dryer box from a local appliance store. Using box cutters cut off the bottom and then cut an opening for a window and door. Paint the box or draw “logs” using a marker (see pictures below)
To create a teepee you will need 4 or 5 poles of the same length. Tie them together a few inches from the top and arrange them in a “teepee shape”. Use a sheet or large piece of burlap for the covering. You may have the children decorate the cover with their handprints or simple drawings. Wrap the cover around the poles and tie at the top. (see picture). You may create a pretend fire using toilet paper rolls for logs and red and orange tissue paper for flames.