Blog Archive

This post contains links to products on Amazon. If you purchase items through these links, I receive a small percentage of every sale.

The First Thanksgiving Week 1: Native Americans/Indians & South America

This post may contain affiliate links.

In all my studying of this subject over the last week, as I've prepared activities, I still have yet to figure out the proper term to use when speaking about Native Americans or Indians or American Indians or...  Teaching the kiddos political correctness is sometimes more than I bargain for.  So, in an effort not to offend, I will teach them all of the different names. If they are ever in the presence of one of these people, they can ask, which name the person prefers.

I'm super excited about this month's activities.  Spending a month learning about all of the aspects of Thanksgiving sounds divine, especially as the study postpones the Christmas rush and hype just a little bit longer.  I want my kiddos to develop a respect for Thanksgiving.  Yes it's nice to share what we're thankful for and prepare a large meal, but it's also so important to understand the history of the Americas, not just the settlers who came to claim a new world, but those who were already here living and cultivating the land.

The theme of this week's activities is Native Americans/Indians.  This week's activities also include a study of South America, as we did not go in depth on the subject last month.  Later in the month we will study North America. I find it fitting to study both American continents this month, as the Native American/Indian history encompasses both.

Here's what we're doing:

Group 3 Letter Salt Tray
I can't believe we're on our third set of letters this month.  Bulldozer and Princess are doing so well with them!

Just like all the other letter cards before, these free cards can be found at Homeschool Creations.

South America Countries & Flags Match Up
 I had attempted to create this activity last month, however there were some errors in it.  Then, well, the kiddos never touched it.  I'm hoping this week they'll respond better to it as it relates to other activities on the shelves.
 Source: I created the printable for this activity. The South America Flag and Country Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions a the bottom of this post.

South America Syllable Cards
 The idea to create syllable cards for countries in South America came after Bulldozer did such a fabulous job with our last syllable activity.  I thought it might be a fantastic way to help the kiddos learn to pronounce the names of the countries, as some of them are quite difficult.
I did not include countries or islands with two names or two words, but the rest are here.

Source: I created this printable. The South America Country Syllable Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Indian Irregular Plural Matching
 I loved this activity when I saw it.  Bulldozer has stopped receiving services through the school district.  There were many reasons, but ultimately it came down to the fact that we felt he needed services that met his social engagement opportunities, not just his academic performance goals.  It is now my responsibility to provide him with therapy.  This activity was specifically designed to be a speech oriented activity. Since Bulldozer requires one to one help with all of his activities during learning time, I'm excited to have the opportunity to test this one out with him.
Source:  These cards are part of a free printable (that includes pilgrims too) I found at Speech Room News.

I am super excited about all of the books I've ordered from our local library to read this week.  At this point in time, I'm unable to give a review on any of the books, but can give the titles and authors, as reading will be a very big part of learning about the Native Americans/Indians.

1.  How the Stars Fell Into the Sky: A Navajo Legend, by Jerrie Oughton
2.  If You Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast, by Anne Kamma
3.  If You Lived with the Cherokees, by Peter Roop
4.  Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, by Gerald McDermott
5.  Anansi the Spider:  A Tale from the Ashanti, by Gerald McDermott
6.  Arrow to the Sun:  A Pueblo Indian Tale, by Gerald McDermott
7.  If You Lived with the Sioux Indians, by Ann McGovern
8.  Grandmother's Dreamcatcher, by Becky Ray McCain
9.  If You Lived with the Iroquois, by Ellen Levine

Odd & Even Rain Forest Frogs
This is pretty much the same activity we did last week with Halloween themed counters.  I wanted to have the activity on the shelves one more week so the concept will hit home.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity.  The Odd & Even Frog Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Indian Chief Addition
This week, like all weeks, we have an addition activity on the shelves.  However this time, instead of individual counters (I was going to use feathers), I decided to pull out or Montessori beads.  My thought behind this was that Bulldozer struggles so much with the multi-step process of reading the problem, counting out objects for both numbers, then counting them all together...etc, that he never can finish the activity.  He knows his bead bars well.  He doesn't hesitate in selecting the correct bar for the correct number, which then only leaves the step of counting all of the beads together to find his answer.  I'm hoping for more success from him this way.
Source: I created this printable. The Native Americans Addition Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Native American Stick Game
I loved this game idea when I saw it.  In all honesty, I'm not sure how legitimate it is in regards to being an actual Native American game, but true or not, it's been a great learning activity.  The kiddos are practicing taking turns, sequencing, and so much more.  It's quite easy to make too.

Source: I found this activity at Play On Words.  I did make one minor adjustment to the number 0 sequence, just because my kiddos ended up with a pattern and that wasn't shown on any of the original numbers.

South America Puzzle
To put even more emphasis on our South America study, I created a puzzle using crayons and laminated card stock.  It's not as fancy as the wooden puzzles, but it works.  I'm sure the kiddos will love it.

Source:  I found the free map at Geography for Kids.  Then, I altered it just a little to work for what I needed, including the addition of county names on the map.

Coloring Countries of South America
Some kiddos like puzzles, and some kiddos like coloring. To cover all my bases, I included both activities.  The colors I've selected for each country match those on a Montessori map. They look much lighter because I used crayon.

Source: Once again, I used the map at Geography for Kids, with just a little altering.

Native American Homes
I loved this activity when I saw it mentioned at Living Montessori Now.  This activity fit perfectly with my desire to teach my children about the diversity of Native Americans/Indians.

Source: These free cards are offered at Montessori for Everyone.

Famous Landmarks of South America
I admit, before preparing this week's activities, I knew very little about South America.  I speak Spanish and lived with a roommate from Argentina who spoke English as well as I spoke Spanish at the time.  (We switched off days speaking each language so we both could learn each other's native tongue.)  I remember the delicious food she would prepare for us when it was her turn, but that was about it.  Most of my knowledge of that culture comes from Central America as my husband lived in Mexico for two years and my best friend lived in Guatamala for two years and then served in the Peace Corp in Central America.

When I researched the landmarks for this activity, I immediately fell in love with the land. If only the political stability of these countries wasn't so fragile and it was safer to be there.  I would love to take my family there to visit, especially Dinomite who lives for animals and wants to become an animal expert working in the rain forest.  Perhaps someday...
Source:  I created this printable. The South America Landmarks Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Grain Matching Activity
This month we're studying the different food groups.  I specifically selected grains this week because South America is known for its production of specific grains, and because the Native Americans/Indians are known for their use of grains.

In this activity the kiddos have six different grains (or grain relations) to identify:  quinoa, rice, potato, corn, wheat, and oats.  The first step of the activity is to identify the grain with the word cards. The second step of the activity is to identify the plant it comes from.  The last step of the activity is to identify foods that are made with each grain.

I did not include cold cereal, because it can be made with all grains.  There are some exceptions, especially for those with dietary restrictions. An example of this includes bread in the wheat category. For those that live gluten free or wheat free, this may be placed in another category.  Bulldozer is allergic to oats.  Thankfully it is not a contact allergy and only ingestion is a trigger, allowing us to have the grain available for him to identify.
Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Grain Sorting Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Animals of South America
This activity does not include all animals from South America.  I'm very disappointed that I couldn't find a llama or something of the like to include. However, the activity does include many rain forest animals (along with others), all of which are in South America. The kiddos will match up the animals to the cards.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Animals of South America Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Dream Catcher Craft

String is not shown in picture.
Bad dreams are quite a big deal in this house right now.  I figured it would be fun to make our own dream catchers and learn the story behind them.  Then, just maybe, I can have my bed back to myself. Lol.  I was worried that paper plates might not be strong enough to withstand the kiddos' hands when frustrated, so I opted to use heavy cardboard.  I then poked holes in it.

The kiddos will first paint the cardboard. Second they will use string to create the dream catcher. Third they will attach strings to the bottom where they will string beads and tie feathers to finish.

Piano Piece 3
The kiddos are moving along with their piano lessons. Bulldozer is learning by watching me play, rather than reading the notes.  Princess and Dinomite are doing very well reading the notes. Now they just need to improve their rhythm.

Native American Instruments
We have an extended family relative, Music Man, who has a very large collection of different ethnic instruments, some of which are Native American.  He was very kind to lend us the the three instruments above for the week.  The kiddos have been having a blast with them.

Physical Education:  We continue using our Fun Family Physical Fitness Activities.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Native American Sensory Bin
The unit would not be the same without a sensory bin to go along with it.  The picture above does not show all the contents, but it's the start of a very fun time.

Contents we've included are:  corn kernels, both plain and from the Indian Corn activity below, wheat grains, quinoa, rice, black beans, teal colored pony beads, Native American Figures (very hard to see in the picture), and some feathers, which the kiddos decided to remove.  I'm hoping to build on the bin each week, if it works out, as we learn more about the First Thanksgiving.

Tweezing Indian Corn
I wasn't sure how much the kiddos would like this activity, but I was very mistaken in my thoughts. It has been quite a favorite on the shelves. Each kiddos has their own piece of corn so there are no fights.

Source: I know I saw this activity somewhere, but I neglected to pin it. My sincere apologies for not siting the source.

Native American Weaving
It's common knowledge that Native Americans are known for their beautiful weaving and crafting. I decided it would be a great time to bring out our first weaving activity.  I had wanted to choose Native American designed ribbon, but ran out of time.  I'm hoping the kiddos will gain the courage to try the activity as they appear completely intimidated by it.

South American Fruit Taste Testing
We are blessed to have some wonderful grocery stores around here that sell tropical fruits from South America.  This week, as each fruit ripens we'll be taste testing them to see which ones we like best.  The kiddos are very intrigued by the fruits. I'm hoping this means they'll try them. I must say, the smells in our learning time room are quite different from normal. Lol.

And that's our week!  Next week we will be focusing on Pilgrims and perhaps continue with our South America study if needed.  If not, we'll possibly add some of our first North America activities to the shelves.

Directions on How to Obtain Subscriber Only Freebies

1. Click on the Subscriber's link at the bottom of this post.

2. Subscribe to our free newsletter.

3. Open the thank you message you receive after subscribing. (Be sure to check your spam folder, as sometimes it ends up there.)

4. Click the confirmation link in the thank you message.

5. Once the confirmation is complete, you will receive another message with the Subscriber Only Freebies Link and Password.

6. Click on link and type in password. (The password is cap sensitive.)

7. Find the printable pack you are looking for listed in alphabetical order, click on it, and viola!

We hope you enjoy your free printable.

Note: If you are already a newsletter subscriber, open your most recent newsletter. At the bottom you will find a link to the Subscriber Only Freebies page, along with the password in case you forgot it.


  1. I love that salt tray for drawing the letters of the alphabet in. Do you have a post that goes into the details of how to use it?

  2. This is truely great. Thank you for sharing! Cheers from Brazil.

  3. Thanks for beatiful ideas and sharing materials. Greetings from Slovakia.