Twisting our own rope. Braiding rugs. Shelling corn. Grinding wheat. Making corn husk dolls. Most of this sounds like work. And it was. But it was work we wanted to do. We drove back in time, halfway across America, to visit the homestead of Laura Ingalls. We lived the stories she wrote about in her books, trying our hands at the pioneer way of keeping home and fields.
The Little House on the Prairie books share the sweet, and sometimes bittersweet, story of little Laura. She's an early-American pioneer traveling west with her Pa, Ma and sisters—along with everything they own rattling and swaying back and forth in the back of a covered wagon. They settle into their new life—attending lessons in a one-room schoolhouse, homesteading, and farming. This is the prairie homestead, farm, and schoolhouse our family visited in De Smet, South Dakota.
Washing Little House on the Prairie dresses with a plunger in a bucket (left). Our little one in the shade of a handmade prairie sun bonnet, just like pioneers wore.
On the prairie, we witnessed the magic of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant, a play held each summer on the prairie. Families gather in the field to watch the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder come to life on a set, outside, under the evening's setting sun. Here, our daughters claimed the bonnets and aprons, handmade by a local mother, as their own. The locally-made pioneer items for sale, and the volunteers performing in the magical pageant, gave me the sense that the community here cherishes their special historic pride. They share their small place charm. They share their wish to preserve an important part of American history where they live—the life and work of Laura Ingalls Wilder in her Little House on the Prairie books.
15 pioneer project ideas for children
1 hand-wash doll clothes, or rags, in a tub of water 2 make hand-dipped candles 3 cook pioneer recipes from The Little House Cookbook 4 set up a wash basin for children to wash their hands before a meal or snack 5 make simple butter: fill a small jar half full with heavy whipping cream. cover. shake and shake...and shake, until it becomes thick and turns into butter. 6 hand sew 7 embroider 8 cross-stitch a sampler: simple cross-stitch starter kits can be found at the craft store for first-timers 9 bake from scratch 10 make pancakes 11 plant seeds 12 use online resources to study pioneer life on the prairie 13 make a corn husk doll 14 sew a simple quilted square 15 and read the Little House on the Prairie books aloud by candlelight.
Then, cherish our own handmade goods at you make do™
©heather cahoon • wordplayhouse®
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