How the Pilgrims Came to America: K or Pre-K Lesson, Day 1 of a Thanksgiving Unit


This is a continuation of the series of harvest lesson plans created for a kindergarten classroom. In today's lesson, the pilgrims will be

Arthur's Thanksgiving

introduced. The children will learn how the pilgrims came to America as well as a few additional facts about ships.

To present today's lesson you will need:

  • Colored photos of ships (old and modern)
  • Globe
  • Pre-cut boats from brown construction paper
  • Pre-cut triangles from white construction paper
  • A drinking straw for each child
  • Blue construction paper-one for each child
  • Mayflower measurements
  • Rulers or tape measures for each child
  • A variety of toy boats

Circle Time Discussion

Show colored photos of ships, particularly, The Mayflower.

Discuss ships. How are they made? What are they used for?

Provide a globe and point to England, then point to America.

Explain to the children that the body of water that separates the two countries is called the Atlantic Ocean.

Discuss traveling in a ship.


You will need:

Pre-cut the shape of a boat hull

Pre-cut white triangles

Pre-cut pieces of a drinking straw

Create the art project:

Provide each child with a blue piece of construction paper, glue, a boat hull, two white triangles and two pieces of straw.

Instruct the children to construct the ship by gluing the pieces onto the blue construction paper.

Encourage the children to draw the sky and the ocean to embellish the project.

Math Skills

Research the measurements of the Mayflower and share the information with the children.

Provide measuring tape or rulers.

Measure an assortment of toy boats.

Record measurements into journals.

Language Skills

Talk about feelings.

Tell children to close their eyes and pretend that they are pilgrim children coming to a new land.

Allow the children time to think about their pretend situation.

Ask children to express how they feel about moving to an unfamiliar place and traveling on a ship.

Suggested Reading

Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh