K-4 Thanksgiving Lesson on the Mayflower

By Jacqueline Chinappi

This Thanksgiving lesson will focus on the Mayflower and all aspects of the famous boat. What did people eat, how did they sleep, and how many people were actually on the boat? Those are just some of the questions that will be answered by students after this lesson.

Introducing the Pilgrims

Young students may know about Thanksgiving but do they truly understand how the Piligrms got to America? This Mayflower lesson is great for students K-4 as it includes reading the story about the Mayflower, a craft, and a worksheet. After this lesson students will be more knowledgeable about the voyage of the Pilgrims.

The Mayflower

If-You-Sailed-on-the-Mayflower-in-1620 This lesson will focus on the book by Ann McGivern and Anna DiVito, "...If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620". Questions are provided here to be asked before, during, or after reading the book to the students. Students should comprehend and have knowledge of each question after the book is read in class.

Ask students what they may know about the Mayflower. Start out by asking such questions as:

  • What was the boat called on which the pilgrims sailed? (The Mayflower)
  • Why were the pilgrims sailing on the Mayflower? (To get away from the Church of England)
  • What was the Speedwell? (First boat the pilgrims were supposed to use to sail to America)
  • What did pilgrims eat on the Mayflower?
  • How did they sleep?
  • How many people were on the Mayflower? (30 sailors and 102 passengers-34 which were children)
  • So many things were left behind when the pilgrims set out for the new world. For example children could not bring all of their toys and clothes with them, women brought materials to cook with, and men normally brought supplies for hunting and building. What would you bring with you; what would you leave behind?

All answers are found within the book and the teacher can add additional questions at his or her own discretion,

Mayflower Craft

A great way to continue learning about the Mayflower is to have students create their very own Mayflower boats.

Materials Needed:

  • Glue
  • Popscicle sticks
  • Paint
  • Glitter
  • White paper to make triangles for sail

Allow students to be creative and use imagination when creating their boats. While you can show them a picture of the Mayflower tell them that it is not necessary for their craft to match exactly. The point of the project is to have students to create their own "Mini-Mayflowers".

Students will glue popscicles sticks to lay the foundation of the boat. Again, allow them to use their full imagination here. They can paint, color, and add as many sails as they like to their boat craft. Students can then paint their creations and even add glitter before allowing them to dry.


To finish up the lesson have students complete the Mayflower worksheet which you can download here.