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Hey friends, it's Kelley from Teacher Idea Factory. I have a little off the wall Thanksgiving/Pilgrim Voyage idea for you today.  But, then again, when do I hit you with something that is run of the mill??!  I know . . . not all that often :) #dollingisanut

I have been utilizing this idea for the past six years and it ALWAYS seems to be the first thing kids bring up when they come back to visit me.  I usually pull off this little stunt in conjunction with Columbus Day, but my European vacation was already in full swing during that last day before October Break (thanks to my awesome teaching partner).  Well, we didn't want to miss out on the opportunity, so my co-teacher and I decided to rock the boat building extravaganza the day before Thanksgiving Break this year.  

Yup, you read that right . . . boat building.  What better way to take your social studies to the next level and foster team building than a ship creation day?  The parents get involved too and the classroom quickly turns into a sweet little community . . . it's truly a magical event. 

As I stated before, we usually make the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria the day before October Break.  Well, this year we will be constructing our version of the Mayflower the day before Thanksgiving Break.  We all know that this day is pretty much a wash.  So, why not get the most out of the final hours by blowing it up and going ALL OUT in the hands on learning department?  

I know it is still October and I am already yammering on about Thanksgiving, but I am giving you plenty of time to get your ducks in order if you choose to run with this activity.  We pretty much have 14-16 days before we are out for Turkey Time.  Um, excuse me, Time???  Could you please slow down a bit?

Here's how this typically goes down in my room . . . a schedule outline of sorts.  

During the week before Thanksgiving Break, the kids will learn all about maps, directions, and the pilgrim's voyage.  We also study the parts of a ship.  Then, on that final Friday, our BIG buddies will come in and help us make pilgrim garb.  After the exit and we have a quick recess, the brave parents to come in and help us turn huge produce and/or appliance boxes into the Mayflower. 

The transformation is always so cool to watch.  It is controlled chaos at it's best and the classroom gets totally thrashed.  The parents will jump in with the BIG details and the kiddos will assist.  The teamwork that transpires will truly melt your heart.  

Finally, we don't go to all that work for nothing.  If I've learned anything over the years it's that our babes need time to PLAY!  So, the kids will get to dink around in their boats for about 10-15 minutes before we clean up and exit for the Thanksgiving Break.  I let the kids bomb each other with tin foil cannon balls and it gets crazy.  We go until I can "feel" the worm turning from excitement and fun to chaos and out of control :)  Last year we got about about 8 minutes of play . . . hehehehehe! #thisyearitmightonlybe5

Does this sound like something you may want to roll with?  You can snag a copy of my Parent Note (as well as an editable version) down below.  Just click the picture to snag the Power Point.  
CLICK HERE to pick up a copy of this letter :)

One final thing for you before I jet.  If you are thinking of rolling with this, work on getting the BIG boxes now.  Contact your local appliance store or grocery store (the pumpkin boxes work perfectly and they are easy to snag this week).  Stores are always really helpful, but they don't always have them on hand.  They may have to wait until they get a shipment or one becomes empty . . . so, ask early!!!  

Alright.  There's my nutty idea for you.  I won't lie.  It is a bit of extra work up front and my blood pressure goes up throughout the process, but this activity always turns out to be my FAVORITE days of the year!!  However, that isn't the best part . . . it's the kiddos' grins that make it so worth while.  

On that note, I am O-U-T.  Thanks so much for visiting us today.  A huge thanks to Natalie from What the Teacher Wants for swappin' me days this month.  I'll see you in November during my regularly scheduled day :)

Oh . . . one more random tidbit.  In honor of my birthday, I am throwing a sale today and tomorrow.  Snag any of my items for 20% off!!!



  1. You are very welcome! Thanks for the shout out! :)

  2. I LOVE this idea Dolling!!! I wanna be in your class, but in the meantime I downloaded the letter!!

  3. I LOVE your idea! I've downloaded your parent letter and am going to give it a try. I am all about project-based learning and parent involvement. Thank you for sharing!