Activities with Puritans and New England Colonies



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Directions for making a pomander ball:  Use a toothpick to prick a hole in the skin of a piece of fruit such as an apple or orange. Then place a clove in the hole. Repeat until the entire fruit is covered with cloves. Next stick the tips of a wire hairpin into the fruit at the stem. Then roll the fruit in a dish of cinnamon. Place the fruit in a piece of cheesecloth. Twist the cheesecloth together around the hairpin. Use a piece of yarn to tie the cheesecloth onto the hairpin. Next tie a ribbon bow around the yarn. Allow the fruit to dry in a cool, dark place for two to three weeks until the fruit hardens. Place the dried pomander ball in a closet or drawer.


  • The New England Primer was the first textbook used in the United States. The first edition was printed in 1690 and was used in 1900. The New England Primer was used to help teach children how to read. It taught the alphabet using two line rhymes such as "A dog will bite a thief at night." or "An eagle's flight is out of sight."  It included rhymes to teach the alphabet and vocabulary words, as well as many poems with religious references.  

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Create your own version of The New England Primer. First write your own poem such as the ones in the New England Primer. Use berry ink and a quill to write the poem on coffee or tea stained paper.

  • Colonial Americans sealed their letters with a wax seal. Wax was dripped from a candle onto the seam of the letter. The family seal, often times from a ring, was pressed into the wax just before it hardened.

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    Build a New England village. 

    Most of the early New England farmers settled in towns. Large land areas were given to men who belonged to the church. These men divided the land among themselves. These towns had a village green.

    This was a common pasture for cattle, horses, and sheep. The village green was in the center of the village. A church or meeting house was built at one end of the green. The land surrounding the town was also divided among the families. This land was used to grow vegetable gardens and grain. Later the pasture land was moved outside the town. The village green then became a park. In later years a school house, a mill, a blacksmith shop, a general store, and a tavern were added.

Return to the Colonial America Index Page.