Use these pioneer life activities for kids in your homeschool to help teach history. The subject is more fun when you add American history activities to your lessons.
Whether you’re building a log cabin, creating a covered wagon, or cooking food like an American pioneer, hands-on activities give kids the opportunity to see what life was like years ago.
They help teach about the pioneers’ struggles and successes, as well as the strength of their faith, courage, and determination.
The more interactive you make history, the more engaged your kids will become. Below, you’ll find some simple pioneer life activities kids can do to gain a better understanding of the past.
Pioneer Life Activities
Do your kids hate history? Want to get them excited about it instead? Provide them with an immersive, hands-on experience.
Activities like the ones listed below allow students to step into the shoes of people like the early American settlers.
Instead of just reading about the pioneers, they’ll see for themselves what life was like back then. These projects will help them understand the intense labor and resourcefulness required to survive in those times.
They’re a wonderful way to get tweens engaged in the lessons.
American Pioneer Life
During the 1800s in the United States, Americans were moving west in quest of a better way of life. These American pioneer families were claiming land and building homes on the plains with whatever materials they could find.
The westward expansion was in full force.
Some built log cabins and others cut “bricks” of earth to form sod houses. Many settled near creeks and rivers. Eventually, small towns started growing.
Life was hard for all members of the family. Pioneer kids and parents worked together to grow crops, build and maintain their homes, and care for the animals.
It’s a fascinating time to cover with your middle schoolers.
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Great Pioneer Projects: You Can Build YourselfPioneer Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and RecipesHeading West: Life with the Pioneers, 21 ActivitiesA Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840
Benefits of Adding Pioneer Activities to Your Homeschool
When you add history-themed projects to your lesson plans, you give tweens a deeper understanding of American history.
That’s why I regularly added pioneer crafts and other fun exercises to our homeschool.
When older kids sew a quilt or bake crackers, they gain valuable insight into the daily lives of these early settlers. It brings history to life for them by going beyond dates and facts.
These activities create a memorable experience of what it might have been like to live during this period in history.
Plus, these interactive activities also help students develop practical skills and problem-solving abilities.
As your kids explore the simple life of pioneers, they’ll also gain a new appreciation for the conveniences of modern life.
How to Include Hands-on Activities into Your History Lessons
Including hands-on activities in your history lessons isn’t just about making learning more fun for kids. It’s also about enhancing comprehension and retention.
Here are some ideas for fitting more projects into your busy homeschooling day.
- Set aside the textbook reading occasionally and work on a project instead.
- Make a list of Pioneer Era activities and have your tweens pick their favorites. Then commit to working on them during the semester by adding them to your lesson plans.
- Invite friends over once a month for an afternoon and build something pioneer-related together.
- See if you can add a history class to your co-op and have it focus on historically relevant hands-on activities.
More American Pioneer History
Here are some more things you can use to help teach this part of history to your middle schoolers.
Sometimes it can seem daunting to work on projects when you’ve already got a full homeschooling schedule. But the rewards from these activities are huge.
So take some time to work on these hands-on American pioneer activities.