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"Domestic Arts" on the trail had an entirely different character than they do today! Hard work, tolerance for tedium, great patience...all were necessary of those who provided domestic services for their families. Involving your students in reliving this flavor of "domesticity" is an eye opener...and a lot of fun!

Cooking activities are quite interesting...try making "hard tack" (try tasting it!), or beef jerky, butter or dried fruit. Celebrations involve food...plan a Pike's Peak Party with your Pioneers...have them develop the menu and provide the victuals. At Trail's End, try a potluck luncheon, with each pioneer bringing a guest and a homecooked "covered dish" from the era (with Pioneers and guests arriving in costume, of course!).

Handsewing tasks of all kinds will give your students a good deal of "perspective" about the ease of today's life compared to that of our pioneering past. Try tatting, embroidery, knitting and sewing (simple clothing, toys, dolls).

And then there is quilting...a favorite of the Wagonmistress! What a learning activity this provides. My 5th graders worked on their quilting projects (along with MANY other learning activities) almost every day we were on the trail. Each family created a child sized quilt. We learned about geometric shapes, tessellation, enjoyed beautiful picture books about quilts and quilting, engaged in careful design and pattern making, accurate measurement, painstaking cutting and sewing, and delighted in sharing our finished products. After we displayed our quilts to everyone's satisfaction, we donated them to a shelter for women and children.

Not sure you are ready to create "real" quilts? Take a look at some of the links provided for quilting. Math lessons, paper quilts, KidPix computer quilts (try making a class slideshow of these!)...all kinds of "quilting" possibilities await you and your Pioneers! quilters
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Map of Oregon Territory Classroom Teacher, The Wagonmaster
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Last Updated: 12/24/12