Late Fall is the perfect time of year for a visit to Plymouth, MA. Most schools are incorporating Wampanoags and Pilgrims into their lessons, libraries have story times and relevant books set aside and of course with Thanksgiving so close, Plimoth Plantation is an ideal family field trip.
It's best to avoid weekends and it's also fun to go on a gray, rainy day so there are fewer crowds and you can spend more time inside wetus with Native Americans and with the Pilgrims in their homes. Before visiting, we did a little research by watching a few short scholastic videos and reading both fiction and nonfiction books.
We started at the Wampanoag Homesite learning about how to live in a Wetu.
Curious how the structures were built, we investigated both inside, where mats were woven to provide walls and outside where branches are bent and tied together to make a frame.
We learned about fishing and the boats they used, how to grind corn and what they made with it, where and how they cooked meals and the different roles that men and women played.
We were even able to learn about and play with a few toys. We played catch with a deerskin ball, played a game of skill made from animal bones and examined a doll.
After spending time with the Wompanoag, we took a beautiful walk along the Eel River to the English Village.
Gardens were a large part of the survival of the Pilgrims. We learned about how they used different herbs for food and medicine and which crops were planted each Fall.
We helped make dinner by grinding herbs to add to the sausage. There are so many hands-on activities which adds so much to their experience and makes great memories.
Last, we made the short drive over to the Mayflower II.
We learned about the sailors, how to steer the ship and saw below deck where the pilgrims spent the majority of their journey. It was great to compare and contrast the Mayflower to the Constitution and other boats we have have explored.
We learned so much in such a short time. All of the people that work at Plimoth Plantation were so helpful and patient in their endeavor to teach visitors about this important time in history. We feel so fortunate to live close to this fun living museum!
And one more thing... make sure to take advantage of the many opportunities for children to play, discover, and interact with displays. It's a great way to practice reading and allow for a little extra learning.