Pioneers

Pioneers Run Slideshow

Pioneers, for kids, sheds light on a grueling period of American history, which will leave them grateful for the comfortable lives they lead today. What drew these hardy settlers to leave everything behind and travel thousands of miles to unknown places? Kids will see how the desire for expansive, untouched farmland – as well as a lust for furs, timber, and gold – drove three major waves of migration. Early pioneers, who ventured west between 1760 and 1800, only went as far as the Mississippi and Ohio valleys, but later waves went as far as the Great Plains and California.

Learn about “prairie schooners,” or wagons, in which every square inch of space had a function because it had to keep a family alive for months. And although many talk about battles between Native Americans and pioneers, kids will discover that these conflicts were actually few and far between, and what really threatened them was the hardship of the trail and settlement. They built houses out of whatever they could find – mostly sod and logs – then struggled to produce bounty from their land despite prairie fires, plagues of locusts, and other calamities. And yet, despite the perils, there were also pleasures for pioneers; for kids who like parties, accounts of how close-knit communities held hoedowns, raised barns, and feasted every holiday will be fun reads.

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