This post is part of our Autumn in All Subjects series.
Autumn offers a lovely time to study the harvest season during Colonial America. In our society, seasons don’t seem as significant to our overall survival as with other time period groups. In Autumn, the colonists worked diligently to prepare for the coming winter. While it’s fun to read about what the colonists did in the Autumn, hands-on activities can be even more memorable. Share some of the realities of American history with your children by exploring the world of the colonies through relevant Autumn activities.
Home Building and Barn Raising
Colonists knew that they needed homes to protect them during the bleak, winter months. Communities worked together to build houses and raise barns in Autumn. The weather, being a bit cooler, made it more comfortable to work into the evenings. While men worked together to build, women prepared a meal for all of the families to share.
Activity: Use craft sticks and glue to build a barn or early style American home. You can use pictures from the internet as models or check out this model in the style of the home from Little House on the Prairie.
Colonial Canning and Drying
Colonists canned and dried foods in the fall for storage to make it through the winter. No grocery stores in the colonies meant making sure your family had enough food to survive the cold months. Fruits and vegetables grown throughout the summer and fall were canned for longer life. We still can and dry foods today, but mostly for convenience rather than survival.
Activity: Canning with children offers a great activity practicing important life skills including following directions, measurements, food cleaning and prepping, and more. Fruit jams, tomatoes and other vegetables provide easy options for working with children. You can use the canned goods throughout the year, continuing the same traditions of early Americans. For some tips on canning with children, check out these sites:
Activity: Drying apples is pretty easy and lots of fun for children. Simply core and peel apples. Slice them and poke a hole in the middle of each slice. Slide the slices onto string and hang the string up to dry. After 3-4 weeks, the apples will be dried and they can be stored in paper bags for future enjoyment!
Colonists preserved meats as another method of ensuring they had enough food for the winter. We still preserve meats today, but typically they’re available at our local grocery store. Bacon, sausage, beef jerky and other meats can be purchased preserved.
Activity: You can share this life skill with your children by salting meat at home. Early Americans used The Farmer’s Almanac for instructions and you can, too! But today, The Farmer’s Almanac is online:
Quilting and Weaving
To make sure that their families kept warm through winter, Colonial women spent time quilting and weaving. All work was done by hand as they didn’t have sewing machines. Fabric was scarce, so Colonial women saved and used scraps from old clothing and linens, for quilting. They really understood the necessity of recycling!
- Gather a group of children (and adults, if you’d like) and try this fun quilting activity from Liberty’s Kids: Colonial Quilt
- Help your child make a simple loom following these instructions: Weave It By Hand
- I use a set of weaving sticks to make winter scarves for my family. You can order the sticks in sets or do as I did: purchase dowels and drill a hole near the end of each. For more information about stickweaving along with specific instructions, check out this site: Stickweaving Instructions
Getting Outside and Having Fun
Enjoy history and the cool Autumn weather by playing outdoor games like Colonial children. They didn’t have a lot of time to play due to having to help their families prepare for the upcoming winter, but like all children, they enjoyed games and fun.
Activities: Many of the games that Colonial children played still provide fun for today’s young people. The following site shares some outdoor and other games that children played in early America including marbles, whirligigs and blind man’s bluff: Colonial Children’s Games.
This Autumn, share early American life with your children through hands-on activities and lots of fun! Create sweet memories while studying history in a relevant way. Be sure to share if you have your own Colonial activities that you enjoy with your children.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the rest of our Autumn in All Subjects series as well as the other bloggers participating in 5 Days of Autumn Learning Activities.
Classes By Beth joins these link-ups and blog hops on a regular basis:
Finishing Up Strong, What to Read Wednesday, After My Coffee, Tell Me a Story, Anything Goes, Laugh and Learn, Titus 2 Tuesday, A Little Bird Told Me, Hearts for Home, Favorite Things Friday, Homeschool Mother’s Journal, Link-It-To-Me, Meet Up Monday, A Little R&R, Thoughtful Thursdays, Tell It To Me Tuesdays, Social Butterfly Sunday, Homeschool Blog and Tell, Literacy Musing Monday, Looking Up Link-Up, Weekend Pin-It Party, Ultimate Pinterest Party, Let Your Shine on Link Party, Turn It Up Tuesday, Friday Favorites Link-Up, Drop and Run Wednesday, Sunday Blog Hop, Family Fun Friday, Wednesday Read Aloud, Learning From Each Other