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Naturally Educational » 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Fall, Featured, History and Culture » What Do Mayflowers Bring? Pilgrims!

What Do Mayflowers Bring? Pilgrims!

We’ve been reading a lot of Thanksgiving books about feasts and Turkeys and about that perilous Atlantic journey in the Mayflower.  My daughter is fascinated by ships and we looked for a few pictures of what the Mayflower may have looked like online.  So, we headed outside to gather materials to make our own Mayflower.

I came up with this craft as we went along so hopefully I can be more or less coherent in sharing it!


  • cardboard tube (hull of the ship)
  • twigs (masts)
  • string or yarn (tying masts)
  • tissues and/or white paper (sails and flags)
  • glue stick or “Blu Tack” tacky putty
  • paper plate
  • blue and red markers or crayons
  • blue paint
  • blue tissue paper
  • scissors
  • strong glue (I like Elmer’s Glue-All)
  • paper clips
  • inspiration pictures


1. Take your cardboard tube and trim the ends to form the shape of the ship.  Cut down the center of the tube to open the top of the ship.

2. Glue the sides together at the front and back to form the “bow” and “stern”. Use a paper clip to hold in place while the ship dries.

3. Meanwhile, paint a paper blue.  This will be your ocean.

4. Use your tacky putty to glue your ship to the plate.

5. Use your “inspiration picture” to determine the correct number of masts for your ship and the placement of your sails and and flags. Tie the yard to each mast.

5. Place some tacky putty in the hull of your ship and on the bottom of each mast and place the masts in the ship.

6. Glue sails to each of the yards and add flags.  We noticed that there was a Union Jack and a St. George Flag on most of the pictures in our books.

7. Tear strips of tissue paper and glue them to the plate as waves.  My toddler son, who had up until this point not shown much interest in the craft, enjoyed tearing the paper and helping his sister add the waves.

(My daughter is explaining here that she is gluing a wave breaking over the deck of the ship because there were storms at sea.)

Our finished Mayflower.

Books about the Mayflower’s Atlantic Crossing:

Pilgrim Cat (Ages 4-8), by Carol Antoinette Peacock, helps young children relate to the story of the Pilgrims’ journey and settlement by telling the tale through the eyes of a young girl.  Faith Barrett befriends a cat she names Pounce and Pounce offers her comfort through the moldy food, frightening storms, and life-threatening illness that were part of the trying passage across the Atlantic.  The book ends on a hopeful note with the first Thanksgiving feast.

This Is the Feast (ages 3-8), by Diane Z. Shore, tells the story of the Pilgrim’s journey, settlement, and feast in rhyming verse.  Most pages have just a few lines, paired with detailed and vivid images, making it manageable for preschoolers and even more patient toddlers.  The vocabulary, however, is varied and challenging enough for bright grade school students.  The book is a fascinating introduction for young children to this episode in history.

Educational Connections:

  • History: Discuss why the Pilgrims left England and why they came to the Americas.
  • History: Examine pictures of ships built around the same time as the Mayflower. What are the parts of the ship and what are their functions?
  • Geography: Use a map to chart the voyage of the Mayflower. How long did the voyage take? How long would the voyage take today? Why was the voyage so difficult in 1620?
  • Science: What technological advances made exploration and transatlantic travel possible?

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Fall, Featured, History and Culture · Tags: , , , , ,

40 Responses to "What Do Mayflowers Bring? Pilgrims!"

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  4. […] this Mayflower craft I thought it was quite original.  I found this Thanksgiving craft over at Naturally Educational.  Here she uses a cardboard tube along with some twigs to make her original Mayflower craft.  […]

  5. I love this Mayflower Craft! I think the waves from the “storm” are very creative!:) Btw – Pilgrim’s Cat is one of our favorite Thanksgiving Books. Thanks so much for a wonderful Thanksgiving activity!

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