In anticipation of the upcoming holiday, we read The Very First Thanksgiving Day. I made my preschool daughter a simple puppet template related to the traditional first Thanksgiving dinner with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. Although she is young, playing with First Thanksgiving Story Puppets is a nice start to understanding the meaning of the season as we act out the historical event together.
About The Very First Thanksgiving Day
The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene shares the story of the Pilgrims with just the right number of words and bright, beautifully illustrated pages. As the playful cover illustration of children playing suggests, the pictures have a child-like innocent quality to them. That is not to diminish the facts of oppression to the Native Americans, which is a fact I don’t want to be ignorant of, but rather a focus on the fact that for the children in Plymouth colony, there certainly were many reasons to celebrate and rejoice at that autumn harvest.
The text of the story loosely follows the pattern of “This is the house that Jack built,” with subsequent pages repeating key elements from previous pages. Thus, by the end, we’ve heard a number of great details about the Pilgrim’s travels and their delight at the fall harvest. I love the connections to children and regular old village life shown in the illustrations.
Making the First Thanksgiving Puppets
Our First Thanksgiving Puppets busy bag was pretty simple to create, using some basic tools and printing the puppets template on this page.
Here are the tools necessary.
- The printable from this post (see below)
- Laminator (affiliate link; this one is my favorite.)
- Box cutter (afflink)
- Hook-and-loop tape dots (afflink)
- Craft sticks, 4 (afflink)
- Tape or hot glue
I chose the cut out all the items and laminate them before assembling the dinning table template. I guess you don’t have to laminate them, but I did to prolong its life.
Then, I used the box cutter to cut slits where the puppet can “stand.” I chose to do some slots on the hill and some in front of the table, so the people could walk up to the Thanksgiving gathering.
I used the hook-and-loop tape dots to put many options on the table and ground for where the food, baskets, and pitcher could be stored. Of course, the little pieces of food needed the other half of the dots.
For the people, I used some packing tape to attach them to the craft sticks. You could also use hot glue to attach them if they want too.
Playing with the Pilgrim and Wampanoags Puppets
By placing the Pilgrim and Wampanoag puppets in front of the scene or by putting the craft sticks through the slits, you and your little one can talk about and act out the yummy feast! The characters are children, again emphasizing that for the families gather, it was a time of rejoicing and being grateful for all blessings. Retelling familiar stories such as these with imagination play is an important skill for preschool-aged children to develop. So, even though it seems simple, don’t underestimate the impact of imagination play and story retelling.
My daughter loves it. Even when it not yet Thanksgiving she’ll pull out her Thanksgiving puppet “friends” to play with them. I think it is safe to say this is a great addition to our holiday “busy bag” this season.
Get a copy of the printable First Thanksgiving puppets when you sign up to become a Line upon Line Learning VIP.
You may also be interested in the other Thanksgiving-themed products I have in my shop too!
Writing Process Prompts for Squanto’s Journey by BruchacSuggested Price: $4.00 Set Price
Writing Process Prompts for The Thanksgiving Story by DaglieshSuggested Price: $4.00 Set Price
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