We homeschool, and right now my son and I are doing a unit on the American Colonists. We started reading about the Jamestown settlement and now we're reading about the Mayflower. As a historian, I am very careful about what we read when it comes to history. History is a tricky thing because primary sources are often very biased, and reading secondary sources can be even worse! It is very difficult to find neutral accounts of history, so sometimes it proves to be rather difficult to find just the right books to read. (Don't even get me started on Christopher Columbus!) For now we're using Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage done by the Plymouth Plantation. We will also be taking a look at 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving also done by the Plymouth Plantation. Their books look very impressive, with photos of reenactments of the events, and I love that they really seek to bring an equal point of view from the Wampanoag people.
Anyway, I also found some fun books on Colonial crafts. I was surprised with how many I found! Our first project was knotting a fishing net, because fish was a very important part of their diet. My son is still learning how to tie knots, so I helped him a lot, but it turned out really well, I think!
The cool thing about this project is that it could be applied in so many ways - for the fishing for food aspect, a religious context with Jesus and the apostles who were fishermen, for studying jobs or industries, etc. It was actually pretty simple to make too! We found the project in Projects About Colonial Life by Marian Broida in the Hands-On History series. I think some of the other crafts in there are a little pointless, but I'm picky when it comes to crafts, so that's really just me. Check it out!