The best way to teach children about the Pilgrims, is to let them see exactly how the Pilgrims lived. If you are fortunate enough to live in New England, the absolute best way to do this, is to visit the Plimouth Plantation, 137 Warren Ave. Plymouth, MA. Here is the ultimate in Pilgrim education. From mid-March to the end of November, live costumed Pilgrim players go about the business of caring for their English village of 1627.
These role-players speak as the Pilgrims did. They have taken on the names of the original passengers. The planation and boarding of the Mayflower 2, is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm. You will also visit the Wamponoag village to learn about their day-to-day lives. There are educational programs, exhibits, stories and recipes.
If you do not live in the New England area, but plan a visit in this direction, visiting the planation will be enjoyable for parents as well as children of all ages. Or, visit the website at www.plimouth.org/features/village/plp for the next best thing.
Other best ways to teach children about the Pilgrims, are with age-appropriate materials, and you will be imparting to them much more than just a history lesson. In teaching the story, you are teaching them many side benefits, such as information about immigrating, race relations, sharing and caring, religious freedom, bravery and how and why we should all be more thankful today.
Younger children, toddlers and preschoolers, can benefit and learn much through visual craft projects, coloring pictures, act-out stories and simple rhyming poems. This will be much easier, given their natural short-attention span, than trying to keep them seated and keep their full attention. For pilgrim poems, printable coloring pages and craft ideas, visit www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/thanksgiving/poems-rhymes/the-landing-of-the-pilgrims-.html
Elementary school children can be taught about the Pilgrims through putting on a play, at home or at school. Give each child an important part. Also children like to learn about other children, so when teaching them about the Pilgrim children, you will also need to include Native American children. How did the children dress back then, what were the differences in their homes, what games did they play, what foods did they eat. Did they have chores, and what were they.
Another wonderful website to help adults and children alike, to learn the absolute most about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans is to go to: www.plimouth.heritageancestry.orgkids/homeworkHelp/pilgrims.php Here you will find a wealth of accurate, historical information about both cultures.
You can make this a fun-filled family project, and at the same time, your child/ren will learn some excellent historical values. You can even create recipes, such as a Wampanoag dish, known to us as succotash. There are games that both Pilgrims and Native American children knew and enjoyed.
Besides learning about the reasons the Pilgrim immigrated to America, we learn how they co-existed beside their neighbors who had a totally different culture. They will learn why the Mayflower Compact was drawn up. A side note about the Mayflower is, after the first harsh winter, when spring arrived, the very first flowers to greet the Pilgrims were mounds of mayflowers growing all around their homes and fields. There are many interesting tidbits to learn about and all of it is fascinating.
Lastly, the myths and truths are clearly separated so that all ages can learn what actually took place and what did not, in this very important part of American history. Today, pictures of what the Pilgrims wore are only partially accurate. You will learn things such as, the silver buckles shown on the hats, belts and shoes of the Pilgrims are incorrect. Silver buckles did not come into style until 75 or so years later.
Since there are some 5,000 direct descendants of the Wampanoag tribe living today, and approximately 12% of Americans can trace their roots back directly to being a descendant to the Pilgrims, it is worth knowing all about the complete history of the brave Pilgrims and the helpful, caring Native Americans. Not to forget, teaching your child about history, helps them feel like a part of it. After all, it is a very important part of our collective American heritage.