Pioneer Children

What was Life Like for Pioneer Children?

In this video the kids are volunteers at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia [where?] and they tell what everyday life was like for pioneer kids (since they pretend they are living in Williamsburg in the 1800s, their state allowed slavery so that is why they talk about slaves’ lives-there was no slavery in pioneer Indiana).

What kind of toys and games did pioneer children know? Watch the video to find out.

Have you played any of the games they mentioned in the video?

Have you played with any of the toys they mentioned in the video?

Pioneer Recreation

Whenever possible, pioneers liked to mix work with fun. In days long before television, movie theaters, shopping malls, and the internet, people had to be creative. Some social activities pioneers participated in were; cabin raising, husking bees, quilting parties, spelling bees, fireside chats, county fairs, and Sunday church services.

When a new cabin was to be built, everyone in the community pitched in to help his or her neighbor. During the building process, breaks were occasionally taken for shooting contests, wrestling, or even a drink of alcohol! A great feast was usually held when the cabin was completed. Often a cabin was raised (built) for newlyweds. On the wedding day, usual chores were put aside, and the feast lasted all night.

At a husking bee, neighbors gathered together to husk or shuck corn on two teams. The cut and piled corn was divided between the two sides. The side that husked its half first, won. And custom held that when a boy found a red ear of corn, he would kiss whichever girl he chose!

Kids Husking Corn

A Quilting Bee

Spelling Bee

County Fair

Quilting Bees

Quilting parties (or bees) gave women and girls a chance to get together and to share news with their neighbors. Also, their beautiful, quilted bedspreads were very much in demand.

Pioneers would also have spelling bees (have you ever participated in a spelling bee?) where the settlers challenged each other’s spelling skills.

Pioneer communities would also organize county fairs to promote farming and agriculture. Food and animals were judged, and a prize was awarded to the best in each category. Have you been to a county fair? What did you like the best?

And sometimes, pioneer neighbors would visit just to sit by the fire and talk about news and events of the day.

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