Did you want to do some fun, educational and engaging Pilgrim themed activities with children? If so, you have come to the right place! Our activities are widely used by teachers, moms, dads, child care providers etc. for learning and teaching while being fun for the kids!
Find activities for all ages including toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners. All our activities are available at no cost and are free to print and share.
Pilgrim Theme Ideas
IF YOU WERE A PILGRIM CHILD:
In 1621, just surviving was the most important thing. Food clothing and shelter were what life was all about.
Schooling – You would not go to school, if your parents could read they might use the Bible to teach you how to read.
Bathing – In warm weather you might take a bath outside in a brook. In cold weather you might bathe inside in a tub. You would only bathe a few times a year. You wouldn’t smell very good, but then neither would anyone else!
Behaving – You would be taught to obey your parents and never question anything they told you to do. Children were never to misbehave. If you did misbehave, your parents might put you into stocks. Your wrists and ankles would be locked into holes in a wooden board and everyone would see you. How embarrassing!
Sleeping – Your bed might be a straw mattress on the dirt floor. All your brothers and sisters might share the same bed with you. Nobody had much privacy.
Working – You would start working at a very young age. You would work from sunup to sundown along side your parents. Boys might protect the fields, where seeds were just planted, by throwing rocks at birds all day to keep them away. Girls might sew and do all the chores as their mothers did.
Eating – You would eat your big meal in the middle of the day. You would probably have a knife and maybe a spoon, but no fork. It was OK to eat with your fingers. If you were a Pilgrim child you would probably eat standing up. Your parents would sit in the only chairs.
Clothes – While very young, both boys and girls would wear dresses. At about 6, you would start dressing like your mom or dad.
Playing – You would be very busy doing chores, but you would still find time to play some. Several of the games we play today were enjoyed by the Pilgrim children, like hide- and-seek, marbles, blind man’s bluff and jump rope.
Worshiping – You would go to church all day on Sun. You would sit very quietly on a hard bench and listen. You might find this a relief from your daily hard work.
Pilgrim Arts and Crafts
Use white paper bags, like lunch bags or bakery bags. The adult cuts the bag to about 6 inches long and also cuts off one whole side.
Next fold the end over several times and hole punch about every 2 inches on the fold. The girl then laces yarn through the holes, leaving enough on each side as this is tied under the girl’s chin when she tears it. Finally the adult cuts paper doilies in half and the girl glues the doily so the “lace” shows from under the fold.
Note: gluing also secures the yarn so it won’t slip later. The bag bottom is at the back of the girl’s head, the bag sides are by her ears, the other side is the top. Lacing goes over the top and down the sides.
Take 2 full sized sheets of newspaper for each hat and crisscross them. Tape pages together so they don’t slip and write name in what will be the inside of the hat. Put newspaper on boy’s head and wrap masking tape around the outside where the hatband would go. After that, roll and tape the edges to make the brim. The boy can paint the hat black and add a foil buckle. (The taping process takes two adults) This style of hat can also be used for Easter bonnets, cowboy hats, etc.
You need 2 Styrofoam coffee cups. Paint outside of one cup all black. Paint outside of other cup 1/2 black and 1/2 tan to resemble hair and face of a man. Cut a black circle bigger than the top of the cup for a hat brim. Cut a white square notched out to resemble a collar. Assemble with collar on the bottom, then cup painted 1/2 black and 1/2 tan, tan side toward the collar notch, bottom of cup glued on white collar. Then glue on black circle. Then glue upside-down black cup for hat. Add buckle if desired, and face. Cute!
Second Use for Witches Hat!
Push the point down inside and glue a cardboard circle covered in black felt on top and add a white band with a gold buckle, you will have a pilgrims hat. This is cheap if you wait until after Halloween to purchase the left over witches hats.
Girl Pilgrim Hat Favor
White Styrofoam cup
Construction paper in skin color of choice
Blue yarn or ribbon
Cut a circle from construction paper slightly larger than the opening of the cup. Draw a face in the middle of the circle and then draw hair around the face. Fill the cup with treats wrapped in plastic wrap. Rub glue around the inside edge of the cup. Place the face over the opening of the cup and tuck the edges down around the treats.3. Glue a yarn bow at the chin of the face. When the glue has dried, set the favor on its side.
Boy Pilgrim Hat Favors
Black, blue, and orange construction paper
Cut the bottom out of a paper cup. Cover the outside of the paper cup with glue and wrap the cup in black yarn until it is completely covered. Cut a circle from black paper larger than the rim of the cup. This circle will be the brim of the hat. Glue the cup to the brim so that the cut-out bottom of the cup is now the top of the hat. Cut a blue hatband and an orange buckle and glue them in place. When the hat is dry, fill it with small treats.
Thanksgiving Day Feast Centerpiece
Make a paper cutout of a 9″ pilgrim hat. Cut several from black Construction paper. Cut hatband from white construction paper. Cut buckle from black construction paper. When project is dry fold hats in half (so they stand up). Glue or staple 4 or 5 hats together along the fold to make a stand up pilgrim hat centerpiece. Can also add: Print out a simple version of Thanksgiving story and glue on the hatband for guests to read.
Make Pilgrim Paper Dolls
Make a boat (Mayflower) out of large blocks/milk cartons cleaned and covered in paper/cardboard boxes etc. provide props for children (pilgrims) to use for dramatic play. Include clothes, maps, telescope, sheets for sails, and any playhouse materials that might be found on board ship.
Make vests from a paper bag (cut armholes in the sides of the bag. Slit the bag up the middle and cut neck area out of the bottom of the bag. Have children cut fringe along the top of the bag.
Make construction paper buckles for taping on children’s shoes.
String macaroni necklaces from colored macaroni.
Put shells on science table and discuss how the pilgrims made use of them as eating utensils etc.
Cut out Pilgrim shapes. Use for crayon rubs.
Have the children make a corn collage.
Seashell pasta collage
Reinforce awareness that the Pilgrims lived in a beach area, but much different than ours
Blue finger paint – Reinforce the concept of the ocean voyage
Toilet Paper Roll, Crayons, Glue, Construction Paper, Scissors
Cover roll with black paper. Cut a small circle, draw a face on it, and glue it onto the roll. Other things to add: arms, feet hair hat brim, apron, etc. You can also make Indians and turkeys this way.
Give each child a walnut shell half, a small piece of play dough, a toothpick and a small square of white paper for a sail. Let the kids decorate their sails with crayons. Help each child p2 holes in his or her sail. Show the child how to stick his or her toothpick in one hole and out the other hole. Have the kids roll the plaudough into a ball and place in the bottom of the walnut shell.. Then stick the toothpick in the play dough.
Make Pilgrim log houses
Glue pretzel sticks onto milk cartons.
Dress Up Like Pilgrims & Indians
For Pilgrims: make black hats and white square collars out of Construction paper.
For Indians: Make vests out of large brown paper grocery bags. Color
Indian designs on them and cut out holes on the sides for arms and a hole on top for head. Cut the bag down the front for opening. Make a headdress out of construction paper. Cut out a strip long enough to fit on the child’s head when the ends are stapled. Staple or glue feathers cut out of construction paper to the headband.
Children may fashion Pilgrims’ hats from cardboard and Pilgrims’ collars from white napkins to wear as costumes.
Use large white rectangle construction paper (about 12″ X 18″) Cut circle in center to fit around childs neck, and cut a slit going lengthwise from the hole to one end. (This will leave one side open to go around child’s neck and over chest, with the other end as a collar behind head. )
Pilgrim Games and Activities
Bring gourds and Indian corn for science table and discussion.
Decorate for Thanksgiving
If you have Lincoln Logs make a log cabin. If you don’t have Lincoln Logs use a cardboard box and decorate with markers or crayons to look like a log cabin. Add to your display: Use twigs for trees. Stick them in a small amount of clay to stand up. Make Indian Tee Pees out of construction paper. Draw Indian symbols with crayons on the construction paper and fold into a cone. Make campfires using small stones with small bits of red paper for the flames.
Plant corn seed (discuss how the Indians showed the Pilgrims to plant corn)
Make a Pilgrim Concentration game
Felt Board Fun
Make five Pilgrim people and five hats. Each pilgrim should have a different expression on his/her face. Then you can play a variety of games with the pilgrims
Count the Pilgrims
Talk about how the Pilgrims feel. Get clues from expressions on their faces.
Instruct the children to put the hats on the Pilgrims. For example, “Peter, put a hat on the fourth Pilgrim.”
Passing the Pilgrim Hat Game
Make a Pilgrim Hat. The children sit in a circle. One child sits in the middle of the circle and covers his/her eyes. Everyone sings the following song to tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Pass, pass, pass the hat.
Pass it ’round and ’round
Passing, passing, passing, passing,
Quickly ’til it’s found.
While they are singing, the children are passing the Pilgrim Hat around
The circle. When the song is over, all the children put their hands behind their backs. The child in the middle opens his/her eyes and tries to guess who has the Pilgrim Hat.
Each year around Thanksgiving, we have a pilgrim luncheon. The girls come dressed in white shirts and a dark colored skirt. And the boys come dressed in a white shirt & a dark colored pair of pants. We make placemats out of construction paper covered with drawings of all we are thankful for, and then cover them with contact paper.
We also make a pilgrim shaped hat out of construction paper for the boys, and a white cap made out of construction paper for the girls and attach them by forming bands of strips of construction paper that fit around their heads. We then have turkey sandwiches, applesauce, and popcorn for dessert.
Pilgrim, Pilgrim where’s your hat? (Game)
Have the children stand in a circle. Choose one child to be the pilgrim and stand in the middle blindfold this child. Let the other children in the circle pass the hat to each other saying: Pilgrim, pilgrim where’s your hat? We’ve passed it around the circle. Now you try to get it back. The children stop passing the hat when the poem is completed. The child who has the hat at this point hides it behind his back. The pilgrims tries to guess who has the hat.
Pilgrim, Pilgrim Where’s Your Hat?
Motor Skills (fine and large motor skills)
Have the children stand in a circle. Choose one child to be the pilgrim and stand in the middle. Blindfold this child. Let the other children in the circle pass the hat to each other saying:
Pilgrim, pilgrim where’s your hat?
We’ve passed it around the circle
Now you try to get it back.
The children stop passing the hat when the poem is completed. The child who has the hat at this point hides it behind his back. The pilgrims tries to guess who has the hat.
Pilgrim Recipes and Snacks
Describe an old fashioned churn and tell how butter was made. Or better yet, make some! (see our Thanksgiving recipes page)
Explain that the Pilgrims had to learn how to hunt, fish, and grow their own food to survive in America. An Indian friend named Squanto showed them how to plant corn. The Pilgrims learned a variety of ways to use corn, such as making cornbread, corn pudding, and popcorn.
The cornbread was called journey bread since it was easy to take on journeys. The small cornmeal cakes were called journey cakes, and later, johnnycakes. Prepare Johnnycakes as a Thanksgiving snack to introduce children to some of the foods the Pilgrims ate.
1 cup yellow or white cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter
butter or margarine and oil for frying
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/4 cup milk
Measure cornmeal, salt, and sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Measure water and two tablespoons of butter into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Pour hot mixture over cornmeal mixture slowly, stirring constantly. When all liquid has been absorbed, add milk. Mixture should be thick.
Heat a large griddle or skillet. Add margarine and oil in equal parts to cover surface generously. When pan is sizzling, drop johnnycake batter onto skillet from a large tablespoon to make cakes about four inches in diameter. Fry cakes till golden brown and crisp on one side. Then carefully turn to brown other side. Serve cakes hot, topped with butter and maple syrup. Makes 12 four-inch cakes.
Pilgrim Songs, Poems and Fingerplays
The brave little pilgrim
Went looking for a bear.
He looking in the woods.
He looked everywhere.
The brave little pilgrim
Found a big brown bear.
He ran like a rabbit
OH!! What a scare!
The Pilgrims Came
The Pilgrims came across the sea
And never thought of you and me
And yet it’s very strange the way
We think of them on Thanksgiving day
We tell their story, old and true
Of how they sailed the ocean blue
And found a new land to be free
And built their home quite near the sea
And every child knows well the tale
Of how they bravely turned the sail
And journeyed many a day and night
To worship God as they thought right
The people think they where sad
And grave, I’m sure that they were glad
They made Thanksgiving day that’s fun
We thank the Pilgrims, everyone.
Five little Pilgrims
Five Little Pilgrims on Thanksgiving Day
The first one said, “I’ll have cake if I may”
The second one said, “I’ll have turkey roasted”
The third one said, “I’ll have chestnuts toasted”
The fourth one said, “I’ll have pumpkin pie”
The fifth one said, “Oh, cranberries I spy”
But before they ate any turkey and dressing
All of the Pilgrims said a Thanksgiving blessing
(sung to: “Twinkle Twinkle “)
Little Pilgrim dressed in gray
on that first Thanksgiving Day.
Little Indian dressed in brown,
Came to visit Plymouth Town,
They both came to eat and pray
on that first Thanksgiving Day.
The First Thanksgiving
by Jack Prelutsky
When the Pilgrims
first gathered together to share
with their Indian Friends
in the mild autumn air,
they lifted their voices
in jubilant praise
for the bread on the table,
the berries and maize,
for field and for forest,
for turkey and deer,
for the bountiful crops
they were blessed with that year.
They were thankful for these
as they feasted away,
and as they were thankful,
we’re thankful today.
My First Thanksgiving
by Tomie dePaola
This is the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims had a feast to thank God for their being together in their new home. Their friends came with food for the feast. We celebrate Thanksgiving every November. We like to trace our hands and make turkeys. Gobble! Gobble! There is lots to do in the kitchen.
We will eat turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, Pumpkin pie, and mince pie for dinner. Just like the Pilgrims, we give thanks for our food and for our being together on Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim children did not play
On that first Thanksgiving Day.
The first chopped wood which he could take
to help his sister cook and bake.
The second took a great big sack,
and brought some nuts, all they could crack.
The third one got a turkey and she helped to roast it in a pan.
The fourth ground corn to make the bread
The fifth made covers for the bed.
The sixth one brought a pumpkin by
she cut it up to make it pie.
The seventh came and popped some corn.
The eighth fed horses in the barn
The ninth watched food or it might burn,
The tenth churned butter in a churn.
Pilgrim children did not play
On that first Thanksgiving Day.
(sung to “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”)
This is the day for giving thanks,
Giving thanks, giving thanks.
This is the day for giving thanks,
This is the day for thanking those
Who give us food and give us clothes.
This is the day a “thank you” goes
To family on Thanksgiving!
This is the day for thanking friends,
On friendship, everyone depends.
This is the day our thanks extend
To friends on Thanksgiving!
This is the day the Pilgrims ate,
And with the Indians shared their plate.
This is the day we commemorate
The very first Thanksgiving!
This is the day to be sincere,
Giving thanks that we are here.
In November every year
We celebrate Thanksgiving!
Related Pilgrim Sites & Links
Dear Reader: You can help us make this theme even better!
All of our theme ideas have come from our imagination and from reader submissions. Please use this form to contact us if you have crafts, activities, games, recipes, songs or poems that you would like us to add to this theme.