Saturday, July 16, 2011

Children's Pioneer Day Event

Because I didn't Journal!!!  I don't remember why we did this activity indoors.  
I am not exactly sure where I got this wonderful idea.  On my Button Exchange Page, there are a few Mormon sites that this could have come from.  If there's time, it would be nice to use Activity Days (or Cub Scouts and Achievement Day Girls--whatever they call it now--the 8-11 yr-olds) for making invitations, homemade butter, posters for each camp, and learn the games ahead of time.  Then the older children can lead the younger ones in the games that are played at the Fort Laramie Camp.  We had a small group of children in our branch so I mostly used the help of parents.  I typed this program and left a space for names of folks who were helping (I asked ahead of time). It was no problem getting the children to dress up "old timey."  Putting a bonnet on a sister instantly turned her into a "pioneer woman."  A bandanna around the neck did the same for a brother helping with our program.  I always put down the time frame for each part of the activity to keep things moving so we don't go over time by much.  I included my materials list.  I like to keep a list hand so that I don't forget anything.  Butter recipes are included in an upcoming post:  Pioneer Children Recipes.

Nauvoo 10:00-10:05 am
The children are gathered together to begin.
"Brigham Young" (__________) tells about Joseph Smith and the mobs then a 'Missouian' comes and tells the Saints (the children) to leave.
"Brigham blesses (opening prayer) the "Locust Fork Company" and we begin our trek.

Sugar Creek Camp 10:05-10:15 am
The children gather round a "campfire."
They are offered a piece of Brigham Young's favorite candy -- horehound candy.
A pioneer sister (__________) tells about traveling on the plains:  "We traveled all day on the plains and if we could not get water, we traveled all night.  When we would camp, we gathered buffalo chips and wood where we could, and built our fire and cooked a little bacon.  Then the boys would get their fiddles and we would clear off the brush and dance and sing songs.  Then we would sing hymns and have prayers and go to bed.  We had to make our beds right on the ground, and if in the morning when we woke up there was a snake in bed with us, we'd just kick it out."

Winter Quarters Camp 10:15-10:25 am
Another pioneer sister (__________) offers the children a taste of horseradish.  They learn that it was used to cure scurvy, a sickness from not getting enough vitamin C.
The children taste homemade butter and bread.
She tells about pioneer cooking:
"Bread was mixed in a home-made wooden bread tray in the morning and placed in the wagon to rise during the day as they traveled along.  When camp was reached in the evening, it was baked in one of the rock ovens built by the previous pioneers.  Cows made the entire journey and furnished milk and butter for the family with some to spare for others.  The milk and cream not used immediately were put in a tightly covered wooden churn and fastened firmly inside the wagon; the butter was already churned when they reached the evening camp."

Chimney Rock Camp 10:25-10:40 am
The wagon master (__________) tells about pioneers eating dried prickly pear cactus and gives a taste of dried apples.
He tells about the Goodridge family:
"In Captain Hardy's camp there was a family by the name of Goodridge, father, mother, several young girls and an 11-year-old boy.  They were a musical family, full of fun and made the best of most every situation.  The girls sang and danced; they gathered berries on the way; they laughed.  But they also counted the graves and wondered about the sadness and hardships of the travelers and wept for those who had died along the way.  They helped nurse the sick, washed and mended, cooked and carried water; they knew how to work.  When necessary, they would wade streams without complaining, shake the dust out of their clothing without resentment and gather buffalo chips without disgust.  They could fall on their knees night and morning and thank their Heavenly Father for their health and strength, their safety, their food and clothing, and the boundless sea of grass that paved their way to freedom..."
Brigham Young tells the "pioneers" they are too discouraged and cannot leave until they sing a song to lift their spirits.  So as they leave (walk around the property) towards the  next camp, they sing pioneer songs (i.e. Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked, The Handcart Song, and Come, Come Ye Saints).

Fort Laramie Camp 10:40-11:10 am
The school-teacher (__________) tells about the work the children did:  "boys helped the family to find food, and sometimes using the slingshot or a gun, brought home a rabbit or squirrel for dinner.  They would tend the animals and drive the wagons or pull the handcarts.  Girls helped gather wood and buffalo chips for the fire, they would help make food and tend to the younger children.  The pioneers walked 1,297 miles!  Sometimes they carried a brother or sister because they were too tired to walk and there was no room in the handcart."  (Have a child try to carry a sibling about 20 feet).  But pioneer children also found time to play some old-fashioned games."
(Lead the children in games such as, Button-Button, Duck, Duck Goose, Spin-the-Bottle, Mother, May I?  and Pioneer Laundry Race.  These games and more are found in the next post Pioneer Games.)
The children taste jerky and drink lemonade.

Salt Lake Valley Camp 11:10-11:25 am
A pioneer sister (__________) tells about the seagulls and the crickets:  "It was June and the Saints were struggling to plant crops in the Salt Lake Valley...they planted rows and rows of corn and vegetables.  The crickets covered all the crops and were eating everything green.  First they tried to drown crickets with water, but it didn't work.  So then they got sticks and clubs and tried to kill the crickets.  As soon as the sun came out the next day, the crickets came out again in more numbers than before.  When almost all hope was lost the seagulls came from out of the sky, swooped up the crickets and took them away."
The children plant crops (seeds in egg cartons--cut each opening so that it makes a little bio-degradable container that can be planted directly into the ground).
"Brigham Young" arrives and declares this is the right place, blesses the "crops" and offers a closing prayer.
As the children leave, we give them an old-fashioned peanut butter cookie.

Materials List:
Homemade butter
6 camp posters
Horehound candy
Wheat bread
Peanut butter cookies (I used Archway Molasses Cookies)
Egg cartons (biodegradable)
Potting soil
Bean seeds
Plastic spoons (to fill cartons with soil)
Dried apples
4 buckets
Two boards
Campfire wood
Photographer __________

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