Life as a Pilgrim: Daily Activities

This week we got together with friends once again to live life as a Pilgrim.  We focused on activities of daily life this time, and began our work by learning about the clothing that the children would wear.
 
 
After reading Samuel Eaton’s Day and Sarah Morton’s Day, both by Kate Waters, we grabbed three petticoats and an apron.  The girls each put on all of these layers to see what it felt like to wear so much clothing at one time.  They were all quite certain that they’d stick to their jeans!
 
 
Next, we moved to the table and began to make poppets out of cardboard and fabric.  Using the pictures in the books as guides, the kids each dressed their poppets in the clothing worn by the pilgrims then.  They cut out clothing from fabric and used yarn as garters to hold up their stockings.  They worked for a very long time on this, determined to get each layer just right.  
 
 
Mine were very excited about their finished product.
 
 
 
Don’t they look great?
 
By this time we were all quite hungry, so we headed for a Pilgrim lunch in the kitchen.  After working together to set the table with plates and spoons, the kids stood by their plates – as children did then – and carefully placed their napkins on their shoulders.  They were less than pleased, however, when I put five kernels of corn on their plates.  After talking about how sick the Pilgrims were that first winter, about how that may have been due to their lack of nutritious food and disease, about how some days this was just all they had, the kids sadly ate their corn.  They were quite upset with me …

 

 
so we handed them their journals and let them write.  Each child expressed his/her displeasure well through writing.  My Little Man used exclamation points for the first time, declaring the corn to be “hard.”  Another child stated that if he had been a Pilgrim, he likely would have starved, although he would have eaten the corn since there wasn’t anything else.  
 
When they finished their writing, they cheered as we brought out their ‘real’ lunches, and headed outside happily for a picnic.
 
 
Next we learned about Pilgrim furniture.  After talking about the difference between beds for adults and beds for kids, they stuffed large burlap bags with straw.  Each child took turns laying on it.  They finally decided that this whole process was a lot of fun, but that they preferred their own beds to these scratchier ones.
 
 
Our last activity of the day was to dip candles.  While the Pilgrims bought their candles from England for the first few years, being too focused on survival to have time for candle dipping, we thought this would be a good way to see the work that went into having light during this time period.  Besides, someone was dipping candles for the Pilgrims!
 
The kids really enjoyed this process, although they got most excited about it when their candles began to grow fatter.  This took a long time, and when the kids learned that a typical candle has 200 dips, a few were rather discouraged.  
 

I took this picture when we were about halfway through the process and at the time, this was the biggest candle.  She was so excited with her finished product that she began a second candle!  All of the kids decided that they wouldn’t want to be dependent upon their own candle-making abilities for light – but that this was a fun process, at least for a few minutes.

Next week we’re taking a field trip to learn about the Pilgrims’ journey on the Mayflower and games that the children might have played.  Come back to join us!

You can read about our Pilgrim cooking adventure here.

How are you preparing for Thanksgiving?

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