Got the family flocking to your house this Thanksgiving? If you don’t want total chaos with the young folks as you prepare dinner, try to set up activities that will entertain the preschoolers, but also teach them about this holiday with the Pilgrims and Indians, better known as Native Americans. Engaging in games and making decorations will surely get everyone in a festive mood. Now this is a plan to be thankful for!
Sailing Across the Ocean Blue
The Pilgrims sailed across the sea in a ship called the Mayflower. Make a simple boat craft by cutting a paper plate in half and having your preschooler color it brown. Cut two squares and a triangle from construction paper and attach these to craft sticks with glue. Tape these sails onto the back of the ship. Lay this Mayflower ship in the middle of a sheet of light blue construction paper. Take a dark blue crayon and make waves to represent the sea, add a yellow sun in the sky, and draw stick figures inside the boat to represent Pilgrims. Position the ship on the sea and push a paper brad fastener through the bottom of the ship and paper. To make this drawing authentic, hold the edge of the ship and gently rock the boat up and down on the waves.
The Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to grow corn. Make an ear of harvest corn, cutting the corn shape from yellow construction paper. Cut small squares of orange, yellow and brown tissue paper and invite the children to glue these randomly on the corn cob. Add green paper leaves to the bottom of the cob.
Indian Chief Headdress
Help your preschooler trace his hand onto a sheet of white paper. Trace only the fingers, not the thumb. These four fingers will be the feathers of the Native American’s headdress. Draw on eyes, a nose and a mouth in the palm area. Add a headband right below the fingers. The kids can color the fingers, but as an added touch, glue real feathers (found in craft stores) onto this masterpiece.
Native American Guessing Game
Gather two identical sticks from the yard. Mark one end of one stick with a bright colored marker. To play this game, invite your child to hold one stick in each hand and place her hands behind her back and shuffle the sticks. Bring the hands back in front of the body, covering the marked end completely. The other player tries to guess which stick has the mark. Reverse roles and now the parent or other family member can be the Indian. Back in the days of the Pilgrims, the Native Americans used two identical pieces of bone to play this game of chance.