Similarly to last year, I made our classroom housekeeping area into The Mayflower, and the children have had great fun looking through telescopes for land, putting our classroom babies to bed in hammocks, pretending to be seasick (yes, this is a favorite), and surviving a terrible storm at sea! We have also spent some time during our morning circle retelling the story of how and why the group of people we call "the pilgrims" climbed aboard that ship in 1620. I like to tell the story with sound effects (a thunderstorm at sea track), and act out some of the parts such as when the sailors repaired a main beam of the ship which had broken during the storm, with a "great iron screw."
Another way I brought the story to life was with food. The passengers and sailors on board The Mayflower ate food preserved without the aid of refrigeration. (This is something my four and five year old students can hardly imagine.) We discussed together what foods the children had at home today, that would keep well without being refrigerated. They thought of food like crackers and potato chips. I thought this was good thinking, and it led well into introducing some of the foods people had eaten on The Mayflower!
Okay, people on The Mayflower didn't really eat beef jerky and sardines, but again the idea here is to eat some of the kinds of foods they had. Our food is listed below, and in parentheses are the foods people actually would have eaten on The Mayflower.
- dried edamame (dried peas)
- dried green beans (dried beans)
- beef jerky (salt horse)
- dried apples (dried fruit)
- hard wheat crackers (hard tack)
- caned sardines (dried fish)
- Oh, and I also gave the children water as everything was so salty, but I also explained to them that had they been on board The Mayflower they would have had to drink beer! Yes, even the children drank beer because the water became brackish. Yuck!
I think this was a great way to bring a bit of The Mayflower's journey, to life. Hopefully it was a memorable experience for the children - even if it was not necessarily a delicious one.