8 Family-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Pioneer Day

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handcart statue

1. Make Pioneer Taffy

taffy homemade
via www.jamiecooksitup.com

Good old-fashioned pioneer sweets did not come from Walmart. A little muscle and some teamwork make this Pioneer Day activity fun for all ages! Of course, the tasty reward at the end makes the hard work worth it. Jamie from the blog Jamie Cooks it Up gives some pro advice on taffy-making here.

2. Play Pioneer Games

hopscotch
via Pixabay

Put away the X-box and unplug the Wifi—it’s time for some screen-free fun and games! Play an old classic like tag, hopscotch or leapfrog. Or learn a new “old” activity like rolling the hoop, marbles, or Cat’s Cradle. Here’s a list of outdoor and indoor pioneer games for inspiration:

  • Rolling the Hoop
  • Potato Sack Races
  • Cat’s Cradle
  • Ring Toss
  • Checkers
  • Ball and Jacks
  • Marbles

The following links give instructions on how to play many of the more unfamiliar games:

http://historicthedalles.org/schoolhouse/childrens-games/

PIONEER CHILDREN – fun, games, toys

3. Make Pioneer Toys

hobby horse
via emmabradshaw.blogspot.com

Once your kids have gotten over the news that Legos and Barbies have not existed since the beginning of time, show them how pioneer children had to make their own toys most of the time. Here’s a really simple low-budget toy for you to try (button and string are all it takes). And here’s a little more complicated one (hobby horse pictured above).

4. Create a Covered Wagon

covered wagon craft
via Blue Skies Ahead blog

You might not be able to tackle a life-size version of pioneer transport, but some of these smaller replicas use things like recycled boxes, popsicle sticks, and plain white paper so even the littlest crafter can participate:

Pioneer Day Covered Wagon Craft

http://www.elmers.com/projects/project/covered-wagon

http://www.thecraftycrow.net/2011/09/pioneer-crafts-for-kids.html

Then there’s our personal favorite, the edible Teddy Bear driven covered wagon treat from mommy blog Alli ‘n Sons. Doesn’t it look delicious?!

covered wagon snack
via Make Myself at Home

5. Visit This is the Place State Park

This is the Place State Park
via Wikimedia Commons

If you leave nearby, This is the Place State Park in Utah, a family outing is obviously in order. However, if you are one of the many non-Utah residents who still celebrate Pioneer Day, no worries. Thanks to modern technology, you can visit the park via technology.

The park’s official website provides a virtual tour here.

Or you can check out the YouTube videos below. Most of them were created by amateur videographers, but they still provide a fun look at pioneer life as replicated by the environment and “pioneer” actors.

6. Dress Like a Pioneer

What child doesn’t love to dress up? Make celebrating Pioneer Day even more fun with period-appropriate garb.

A variety of DIY pioneer girls’ costumes (including bonnets and skirts) can be found online. Here’s a cute pattern from the blog Make It, Love It. Or you can go the no-sewing route with an even easier bonnet here.

 

pioneer bonnet
via www.makeit-loveit.com

Not sure how to dress your pioneer boy? Here’s a great link with instructions on how to do a full costume—from the cap to the knickers.

pioneer boy
via William’s Creek at www.pioneerclothesforkids.com

7. Look Up Your Pioneer Ancestors on Family Search

family search pioneers
via familysearch.org

If you come from pioneer stock, or you’re not really sure, just go to this special page on the Family Search site that’s designed just to help you identify your Mormon pioneer ancestry. The site is designed to show various facts about your pioneer heritage, with names, photos, and details about how and where they traveled.

via familysearch.org

If you don’t have any pioneer ancestry, it could be just as fun to discuss how your forebears were pioneers in their own right or even how your family could be compared to the pioneers, as referenced in this article entitled, “Modern-Day Pioneers.”

8. Watch the Live Stream Pioneer Day Concert Presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day
via lds.org

What better way to celebrate Pioneer Day with music? Now you can watch it live on the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s YouTube page. The concert is typically held the weekend before July 24, so be sure to check the schedule so you don’t miss it!

Pioneer Day is about history, family, faith, and sacrifice, so no matter how you celebrate, be sure you do celebrate the contribution of those who have paved the way for the blessings you enjoy today.

 

Jasmine has degrees in Spanish and International Relations from BYU and has always had a love for writing ever since she penned her first haiku at age 9. She and her husband, Shawn, are the the parents of 8 children, who keep her very busy when she is not writing for Third Hour.