Kids lesson: The legend of the five kernels

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We often get caught up in all the planning and coordination for Thanksgiving, from the travel, to the turkey–but Thanksgiving is a fantastic opportunity to teach kids about history and the importance of family and friends. Use the Legend of the Five Kernels to teach kids your kids all about gratitude and the meaning behind Thanksgiving this year.

Legend of the Five Kernels

Free Legend of the Five Kernels Printable

Download and print to help teach your kids >

The Legend of the Five Kernels

The first winter the Pilgrims spent in their new home was very cold and bitter. Food was in short supply. Some days they only had enough food for each person to have five kernels of corn for the day. When spring came, they planted food and it grew and grew. The harvest was good the following year and they celebrated Thanksgiving with their Indian friends.

From then on, when they celebrated Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims laid out five kernels of corn on each plate to remind themselves of their blessings.

Let us remember:

  1. The first kernel reminds us of the autumn beauty all around us.
  2. The second kernel reminds us of our love for one another.
  3. The third kernel reminds us of God’s love and care for us.
  4. The fourth kernel reminds us of all our friends, especially our Indian brothers.
  5. The fifth kernel reminds us that we are a free people.

Ways to make this story part of your own Thanksgiving tradition

  • Place five candy corn kernels on each guest’s dinner plate, and recite the legend before you start eating.
  • Print out the legend, roll up and secure with a ribbon, and place across each child’s plate to read before dinner.
  • Use dried corn to create a stunning fall centerpiece, and print and frame the legend nearby to family and friends to read.

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