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Pilgrim Ships

10-15 Minutes: 6 and up: Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Creative Craft Activity Pilgrim Ship

Pilgrim Ships

Thanksgiving Creative Craft Activity Pilgrim Ship


Perfect for accompanying lessons on the pilgrims' voyage to America, this activity builds motor skills as children learn about history! This is a terrific process art activity for cultivating creativity and practicing fine motor skills for a variety of age groups.

Set Up Ideas

Encourage children to build their ships by first creating an ocean scene with the sea and sky on the board or on a large roll of paper. Add children's ships to the scene once completed.

Let’s Get Started

To make these adorable pilgrim ships, you'll need to gather paper plates, straws, tape and paint. For younger children you may wish to provide stencils or assist with cutting the desired shapes from paper plates.


Begin by cutting paper plates into the shapes of a ship and sails. These shapes can be simple squares and half-circles or more complicated shapes. Assist the children with cutting as needed.


Paint the ship and sails as desired. You may wish to paint the ship brown and leave the sails white. Other ideas include painting windows on the ship or a letter or design on the sail.


Tape a couple straws to the back side of the ship. Make sure that they are sturdily attached, as they will need to hold the sails to the ship.


Poke two holes into each sail and thread the straw through the holes so that the sails are kept in place. Alternatively, simply tape the back of the sail onto the straw.

The pilgrims took quite a journey across the Atlantic Ocean in order to make it to the land that would become America. Their journey lasted roughly three months! Ask the children whether they've ever been on a boat or on a long trip. Do they think they would enjoy 3 months at sea?


Tips and Tricks

Tips and Tricks

Children may need help with cutting, taping and placing the sail onto the straw. Encourage them to try their best, but be sure to offer an encouraging, helpful hand when needed.

Follow up Activity

Follow up Activity

For more pilgrim fun with a dramatic play twist, complete our Pilgrim Hats activity using construction paper or foam sheets to make fun, wearable pilgrim hats.

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