Focus on American Pioneers with These Clever Hands-On Activities

When it comes to studying history, there is no better way to make it come to life for kids than to add in hands-on history activities, no matter what time period you’re studying.

If you’re currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive ideas into your lesson plans.

 

If your middle school student is currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive history activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on history projects for tweens/teens.

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Go West! was a rallying cry for thousands of brave men, women, and children during the 1800s. They left everything and everyone they knew, packed up their wagon, and traveled for months to claim land, hoping for a better life for themselves. The journey was difficult and often deadly. Once they settled, life didn’t get much easier. Homes had to be built, crops planted, animals cared for, and new societies created.

By working through projects like those below, students can get a small glimpse into what life was like for those who settled the American Midwest all those years ago.

Fun Hands-On History Projects for Middle School – The American Pioneers

Cook a Pioneer Breakfast 

Teens love to eat and they need to know how to cook, so let them create some delicious bacon johnnycakes or maybe some biscuits and butter.

Create a Quilt

Quilts were a common household item for the pioneers. They were a useful and functional item in the home. Plus, they were considered beautiful heirlooms, used to tell their family’s story.

Studying early American History? Consider making a quilt as a part of your lessons. Instructions included to make a doll-sized quilt. @Education Possible

How Would You Do on the Oregon Trail

Have your middle schooler take part in an Oregon Trail simulation to see just how difficult the trip was for the early settlers.

Keep an Animal Journal

When President Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark on their journey from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean, part of their task was to keep detailed notes about the plants and animals they encountered along the way.

Let them use these notebooking pages to create their own animal journal.

If your middle school student is currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive history activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on history projects for tweens/teens.

Learn About the Trails with Covered Wagon Activities

Use a variety of hands-on activities to get a good idea of what life was like traveling west by covered wagon for months on end.

Life Sized Log Cabins

By using plans, a tape measure, and chalk, older kids can get an idea just how compact pioneer living was.

If your middle school student is currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive history activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on history projects for tweens/teens.

Pioneer Candy

Let your older kids try their hand at making some of the delicious candy from the pioneer days – maple candyrock candy, and taffy.

There are a whole bunch of different flavors you can use.

Personal Records

While you’re studying the journey west, have your teen pretend they were there, along the trail, with the pioneers. Have them create a personal journal to record their life and experience.

Notebooking Pages LIFETIME Membership

Play Some Games

Games of the time were simple, yet provided kids with plenty of entertainment when they were free from their usual responsibilities. Although some of these games may seem to young for middle schoolers today, kids of all ages had fun playing them together back in the pioneer days.

Get outside with your older kids and play hopscotch, have a three legged race, challenge each other in a ring toss, or a try your hand at clothespin drop.

Ultimate American Pioneers Notebooking Unit

Use our beautiful notebooking unit to direct your learning about this time period or use it to keep everything in one neat place.

If your middle school student is currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive history activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on history projects for tweens/teens.

What is your favorite hands-on history activity for studying about the American Pioneers?

If your middle school student is currently learning about the American Pioneers, make sure to add some of these interactive history activities into your lesson plans. Hands-on history projects for tweens/teens.

 

If you need ideas for making other historical time periods fun and interactive, follow along with our 5 Days of Interesting Hands-on History Projects for Teens.

 

Very few middle school kids want to sit down and only read about history from a dry textbook. They want to get their hands dirty, build stuff, and really get a sense of what it was like to live during the time periods they’re studying. Don't make history boring - use hands-on projects and activities to make history fun. A week of fun and interactive ideas for middle school history.

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman