Photo: Stock Xchng/ Benjamin Earwicker
The approaching holiday of Thanksgiving is an excellent opportunity to dive into the history surrounding the holiday! While I have spent years with my young kids, making pine cone turkeys and toilet tissue roll pilgrims, and telling simple stories of pilgrims and Indians during this season, now that they are older we have so much history to explore together.
Of course, studying the first Thanksgiving is a given. Here are some resources for this topic:
- National Geographic Kids has a page with first Thanksgiving facts, complete with nice photos. I found it interesting that we have the attire of pilgrims and Indians all wrong.
- Plimoth Plantation offers an interesting multi-media experience called “You Are the Historian: Investigating the First Thanksgiving.” There is a teacher’s guide that goes with this as well.
The period of time surrounding the first Thanksgiving adds to the story:
- KidInfo.com has lots of resources on the colonies and early America, the Mayflower, the Wampanoag, pilgrims, important people of the time, daily life of the time, as well as the first Thanksgiving.
- Plimoth Plantation has a kids’ section on their website with coloring pictures, recipes from the past, make your own 17th century fun, stories from Wampanoag and pilgrim kids’ perspectives, how to talk like a pilgrim, and facts galore.
How Thanksgiving became an annual celebration:
- You can read about the Thanksgiving Proclamation made by George Washington in 1789 here.
- In 1863 Abraham Lincoln instituted the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving, a national holiday. He didn’t have the harvest in mind, however, he declared it as a holiday as a sign of unity and thanksgiving to God. You can read the original Proclamation here.
- Since Abe made this proclamation during the Civil War (and discusses it in the proclamation), you can also explore that time period as well.
What do you do in your homeschool for Thanksgiving?
Tanya can be found exploring the holidays with her three homeschooled children over at Homeschooling x3. She is also the food writer for Knoxville Examiner, where you can find lots of yummy holiday recipes!