Westward Ho!

Forget the books.  Okay, don’t forget the books, but apparently we haven’t been doing enough projects for history lately.  Too many field trips and books.  So once we started learning about prairie schooners (that is, wagons), Mushroom and BalletBoy immediately demanded we make wagon models which could be then used by their minifigs and gogos, who were apparently about to stake out some territory out west anyway.

Here’s the result.

We used tissues for the roofs.

If you’re interested in more projects, the blog The Crafty Crow, which often has good kid craft links, has a nice long list of pioneer projects from across the blogosphere.


Of course, we did read books about the pioneers as well.  The best overview read was Don’t Know Much About the Pioneers by Kenneth C. Davis.  Davis’s popular adult and teen books of the same series apparently got translated into a picture book series at some point.  This was actually a good, quick overview.

The best fiction book we read was, by far, Dandelions by Eve Bunting.  Bunting’s books are often quite deep for the picture book genre and this story of a family who move to Nebraska was no exception.  Zoe, the family’s oldest daughter, describes her father’s can-do spirit and her mother’s growing depression at life on the prairies.  The dandelions, fellow transplants, become a metaphor for the family.

4 thoughts on “Westward Ho!

  1. I love those wagons – very cool project, although I think the pioneers might be shocked by that little green being in the back! Thanks for sharing the book recommendations and the links to other pioneer projects.

  2. I remember having a Land Run when I was in 4th grade, and the teachers had brought wagons from home and actually turned them into small covered wagons. They put stakes all over the playground with tags on them, and two groups of kids even got to pretend they were Sooners and sneak out early to get the best spots. They packed the wagons with lunches and gear; the rest of us had to carry everything. Each ‘claim’ had a tag on it that corresponded to either a ‘challenge’ or a ‘prize’ on it – a challenge might have been that one of the party had broken his or her leg, and a prize might have been a recently abandoned wagon still full of good, usable stuff. We were in groups of four or five, and one person had to be designated the Head of Household. That person was responsible for grabbing the tag from the land claim and going to the land claim ‘office’ to find out if our claim was a prize or challenge claim. There was a bunch of other stuff to go along with it, but I still remember that day. I learned more about Oklahoma history in that one day than I have before or since!

  3. So fun! I had just about decided to just do read alouds for history next year and your blog makes me want to add in some projects. My 7 year old likes crafts so…

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