My sister shared this Thanksgiving Story Bracelet with me a few years ago, and it has been my favorite Thanksgiving activity each year since. If you would like a copy of the paper, just click on the picture.
The children really learn the Thanksgiving story, are able to retell it, AND have a new piece of jewelry to boot- what could be better?!
First, we read a lot of books about the first Thanksgiving. The children have a good background and are familiar with: the Pilgrims leaving England on the Mayflower, because they wanted freedom to worship God they way they wanted to; the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock after a long, hard trip; the Native Americans helping the Pilgrims learn to hunt, plant, and survive when they arrived in this country; and the feast the Pilgrims and Native Americans had to celebrate and give thanks for all they had survived and all they now had in their new land.
I introduce my bracelet to the children, and we all retell the story together with my bracelet. We do this a few times each day whenever we have a few minutes. I want them to really KNOW the story before they make their bracelet, and take it home to retell.
I move each bead as I tell what it is for.
The Pilgrims left England because they wanted freedom to worship God as they wanted. (1st green)
They left England on a ship called the Mayflower. ( white bead)
It was a very long trip across the ocean. (I say a word for each of the 3 blue beads: very. long. trip.)
Finally, they saw land! (green bead)
They landed at Plymouth Rock. ( gray bead)
When they landed it was winter. (I say a word for each of the 3 white beads: very. long. winter.)
Finally spring came! (light green bead)
They met Squanto, a Native American who helped them learn to hunt and plant. (Light brown bead)
To thank the Native Americans, the Pilgrims had a feast for everyone including:
cranberries (red bead), corn (yellow bead), turkey (brown bead), and pumpkin pie (orange bead).
This is a wonderful book that is very age appropriate to teach about the first Thanksgiving.
I also like this book by Ann McGovern.
This little cartoon actually does a pretty good job explaining the basics of Thanksgiving, and the kids really like it. It is sort of goofy-but... I'm not five.
After the children retell the story really well with my bracelet, they each make one during our small group center time. I have the bags with the correct beads already sorted. They just choose a pipe cleaner. We string each bead on as we tell the story. Then they retell the story to a friend with their own bracelet.
I send a copy of this paper home with each child, just in case they forget what a bead means. I don't want anybody to be frustrated! So the parents can coach them on if they need a hint.