Tuesday, November 1, 2011

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 and Homemade Thanksgiving Journals: Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of Celebrating Thanksgiving! Every day leading up to Thanksgiving my family is reading a good children's book, writing or drawing in our Thanksgiving Journal and doing additional kids activities or crafts.

Reading a Great Thanksgiving Book 
 
Today we read ...If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern. This classic Thanksgiving book really is a cute. It begins by explaining why the Pilgrims wanted to relocate to the New World. After that we learn about their difficult voyage, hard winters and first Thanksgiving feast.

It's a bit long for my 3 year old to sit through so we are dividing the reading over the next few days. He might not enjoy all the wordiness but my preschooler likes the illustrations by Anna DiVito. The pictures give him a good feel for the shape and size of the Mayflower as well as Plymouth Village without being too cartoonish or too realistic.

Overall ...If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620 is an quality children's book, but then, you wouldn't expect anything less published by Scholastic.

How to make a Homemade Journal

While I read ...If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620 my children worked on their Thanksgiving journals. The journals are where we will draw and write each day as we learn about Thanksgiving. I love having a record of their thoughts and reactions. Plus, my mommy heart knows how precious their childish handwriting and drawings will be in a few years.

Here's a tutorial for simple homemade journals so you can make them too.

All you need is a sheet of card stock, blank printer paper and 2 brads or brass fasteners. Even those things are flexible. Construction paper, cut down notebook paper and string would work just as well.


  1. Stack one sheet of white card stock on top of 6 sheets of printer paper.
  2. Fold papers in half.
  3. Use a hole punch to make 2 holes through the paper close to the folded edge.
  4. Insert brads, rings, string or ribbon to hold the pages together.

I always allow my children creative freedom for their cover page. Ellie chose to turn her book sideways. Then she used Draw. Write. Now Book 3 to draw a picture of a Pilgrim house. I think the thing on the right is a turkey but I'm not 100% sure about that.



Ben chose a traditional book arrangement and also used Draw. Write. Now Book 3 to illustrate his journal cover. For the record that's Squanto, bushes and clouds. I love how creative and differently each of my children accomplishes the same task!

Well, we're off to a good start in our home school Thanksgiving unit study. Do you use homemade journals with your children? For holiday celebrations, vacations, or something else?

Be sure to like Stephanie's Mommy Brain on Facebook where I'm sharing more Thanksgiving tips and links throughout November.

* More Thanksgiving Kids Activities and Books Posts 

4 comments:

Carrie said...

Ok. Next year the journal. =D But this year I'm pretty sure we can sneak that read in! It's on my history shelf and not my holiday shelf so I'm glad you mentioned it! I had forgotten I have it!

Amy said...

Love their journals! You're off to a great start!! Us? Well, our books are out (and our library had VERY FEW that you recommended which made me sad)...and we're regularly having conversations about thankfulness, but otherwise, let's just say I finally got my November calendar turned over yesterday!

Stephanie said...

Amy, that is disappointing about your library. My local branch doesn't have most of the Thanksgiving books I own. Their selection is pretty limited. I think most of our books were purchased at used book sales. LOVE those!

Stephanie said...

Carrie, I put this book on my holiday shelf because I KNEW I would forget about it on the history shelf. If the journals are too much for you here are a couple of other ideas:
1. Just give your boys a piece of blank paper and let them draw something Mayflower/Pilgrim related after you read the book.
2. Talk about the 3 things they would want to take with them on a long journey.
3. Serve biscuits, beef jerky, butter, cheese and (root) beer for lunch or supper.

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