We've been busy over the past two weeks! As we make our way through SOTW, we will be stopping at certain chapters and diving in a little deeper. I want my kids to grasp how difficult it was for the first settlers of our country, so we explored Jamestown in depth. I'll list all of the resources we used at the end of this post.
As I was strolling the aisles of Joann this past spring, I came across a Jamestown TOOB. Inspiration struck and I bought it knowing that we could build a house or a fort or something along those lines. I googled Jamestown Fort and saw several other moms who'd made Jamestown forts as well--like this one here--she also used the TOOB.
I found a 2.5'x2.5' piece of cardboard and drew a triangle with a pencil. I traced the small kids cup at the corners of the triangle to make the rounded corners just as the colonists did. I traced my lines with Sharpie so that my kids could see the lines better as they spread the salt dough out.
We made three batches of salt dough for this project. I used whole wheat flour to give the "earth" a natural sandy look. Here is the recipe that I used to make one batch:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. table salt
1/2 c. water
Mix together and then knead it to get a smooth consistency. I had to add a little extra water to get all the crumbly pieces to stick together. The kids had a great time laying down the dough.
It took some time to line up all of the popsicle sticks, but one of my daughters is a perfectionist and she enjoyed taking her time. I had to reinforce the walls by hot gluing popsicle sticks parallel to the top of the fence. It was a little tricky around the corners, but we cut popsicle sticks into small pieces to hot glue as we went around a corner. We let this dry for a day before we painted. ****A little tip . . . set some heavy things around the outside of the cardboard so the edges don't curl up. I set a few things on it, but I should have set even heavier things on the edges as it curled a little.
Next, the kids painted with tempra paint. Even my 4-year-old got in on the action. They painted the ground green for the woods and blue for the rivers.
We made houses out of pretzel sticks. Yes, I realize there are gaps, but you get the idea. My 9-year-old was able to make most of the houses on her own by using a low temp hot glue gun. We bought some burlap to use for the roofs. I hot glued the roofs on--watch out--the holes in the burlap led to a burned finger for me! After each house was made, I used some scissors to carefully cut out some doors. The animal pen was the kids idea. Whether or not they had one, who knows, but they came with the Jamestown settlers TOOB.
We couldn't forget to build a dock for the ships!
The colonists traded with the Indians for corn. We made corn out of small square tissue paper scraps. We scrunched them on a pencil top and used a glue stick to glue them down. Again, an idea from the kids!
The Indians were good at many things, including drying animals skins and making canoes.
This settler is chopping up wood and working on his house.
This aerial view gives you a better idea of where we placed everything. I let the kids set it up exactly how they thought it should look.
We purchased each of these TOOBS at Joann with a 50% off coupon which made them $5 each.
We read so many fabulous books! Here are a few of our favorites:
You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Colonist (love this series!)
Pocahontas (my favorite!)
Pocahontas: Young Peacemaker (a good read aloud)
The True Story of Pocahontas (independent reader)
One thing we discovered is that various parts of the story are different in each book that we read. For example, some books say Pocahontas died of smallpox, some say a high fever was the cause and another says she died of unknown causes. It gave us the opportunity to discuss how we can all be at the same event and yet remember it differently. Regardless of the minor differences, my kids got the general gist of what went down at Jamestown. Even Seth (at four) can recount the main parts of the story. He loves playing with the figures and moving them around while he talks about what they are doing!
Check out our fun doll book reports on Pocahontas and John Smith!
This post is part of the Classical Education Blog Carnival going on over at Half a Hundred Acre Wood. So many great resources are shared!
p.s. I'd love to see what history projects you've done that make learning fun! Leave me a comment with a link to your blog!