I love it when I can give my children the opportunity for some hands-on learning. To say we had that chance this weekend is an understatement. We took a visit to my favourite place – Plymouth. I just love it there, it’s so beautiful by the ocean with it’s relaxed atmosphere and it’s significance in history. Usually when we spend the day there it’s all about the scenery but this time we were there to visit Plimoth Plantation. What an awesome place!
We started the day learning about the Wompanoag people. We were warmly greeted at their homesite and they willingly answered all the questions the kids threw at them. They explained how their people use to live back in the 1600’s. All the information was so interesting and it was amazing to see my children eagerly learning the history of their country.
We learned about their Wetu’s, the Wompanoag homes and were invited in to experience what it was like. The Princess wanted to know how the beds were made…she was fascinated by the animal furs spread out everywhere and wanted to feel each one.
We tried to guess which animal each fur belonged to.
The Little Professor was impressed by the process in which the mishoons (the Wompanoag word for boat) were made. They used fire to hollow out a tree. They would light a fire and let it burn then dig out the burnt wood and coals, then they’d restart the process over and over again. We were told that if they were to work on the mishoon 24 hours a day, without stopping, they could have one completed in a week however it takes them about 3 months to complete one at the plantation.
The thing I found the most interesting at the Wompanoag homesite were their dolls. They were made without faces for a few different reasons. One being that the beauty in the doll was in the craftsmanship, the Wompanoag people did not feel they needed faces to be beautiful. The other reason – the one I really loved – was that since the dolls did not have faces they couldn’t say that one doll was more beautiful than the other, they were all pretty because of what they were and not because of their faces. The lesson to the children being that everyone is beautiful and not because of how they look but because of who they are. It’s not our faces that make us special. What a wonderful and important lesson for children to learn – so many adults need to learn that lesson too!!
We eventually made our way to the 17th-Century English Village to learn about the lives of the Plymouth Colonists. This area was a lot of fun because it’s a re-creation of the small pilgrim community. We were able to wander about the village, enter the houses and touch everything. The kids really liked being able to sit in the chairs and handle different items while they talked to the various Pilgrims who responded to all their questions as though they really were the Colonists from 1627. It helped the kids get lost in the history and really become a part of it.
They asked many questions like:
What responsibilities would I have if I was part of the Colony?
How do you wash your clothes?
Do you make your own clothes?
Do you have a pet cat? – that one was the Princess of course!
Where do the children sleep?
What are you growing in your garden?
Can you read and does the average woman know how to read?
…and many, many others. I was amazed the “Pilgrims” never broke character once, even with all the questions!
On our way out we stopped by the Patuxet Cafe and bought some uniquely prepared dishes from the 17th-century to try. We shared Succotash, Indian Pudding, 17th-Century cheesecake and Stewed Pompion between us. I couldn’t help but wonder if the meat in the Succotash was that of the rabbit we saw cooking over the fire at the Wampatoag Homesite. Trying the foods made us want to try cooking some of the recipes found on their website. Completely unrelated – it made me want to cook over the open fire next time we go camping! It won’t be freshly caught rabbit!!
It was amazing to watch the children thoroughly enjoying history. It lit a fire in me to make a bigger effort towards the hands-on learning we wanted the kids to experience with their homeschooling. We will be returning to the Plantation soon – we bought a membership for the year. The Princess and the Professor have already thought up more questions they want to ask!
We need this pile of wood for camping!!
A picture to add to my Brave Birds of Plymouth collection!