Option 5: Pioneer Dress Up – Petticoats to Union Suits
This activity is fun for both boys and girls. We have calico
print dresses, aprons and bonnets for the “little prairie
women.” For the “working men” we have straw hats, plaid
shirts and suspenders. After the students are dressed-up
(and maybe the teacher, too) we will learn that clothes were
made for practical purposes such as staying warm in the
winter and shading them from the hot summer sun.
Students will also practice sewing on an authentic treadle sewing machine.
Key Takeaway: Rather than purchasing their clothing in a store, it was often hand or machine sewn by pioneer women.
Option 6: Fun and Games on the Prairie
There will be lots of running and playing at this option!
Students will experience a pioneer recess or play day.
Rather than playing on Xbox or Wii, students will learn about
the games Laura and her friends played. Have fun with the
wagon wheel race and have a corn shuck relay
Key Takeaway: Pioneer children played just like modern children, but their games were often homemade and simple.
Option 7: Pa Goes Hunting
Students can experience how pioneers prepared for a
hunting trip. They can learn the art of “tracking” by
making their own animal track out of plaster of paris.
They will also have the opportunity to see and touch
animal pelts while learning about their uses.
Key Takeaway: Pioneers often didn’t have a grocery store to purchase meat; instead they went hunting to provide meat for their families.
Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder?
All field trip groups will visit the Surveyors’ house, where we will talk about Laura’s life and her books. The overview begins with where Laura was born and the many places she traveled. Students will learn how Laura and her family came to live in the Surveyors’ House and we will then play a game of “can you find” asking the students to find artifacts located throughout the home.
Key Takeaway: Learn who Laura Ingalls Wilder is and about her life in De Smet.
First School of De Smet
Option 2: Surviving The Long Winter
Step right up to the table and learn how to grind wheat, just like the pioneers did during the long winter. Then, learn about the lack of food in De Smet, because the trains were unable to push through the huge snowdrifts. Students in this session will learn about trains, grinding wheat, and how to operate a “Hand Car” used by the railroad.
Key Takeaway: Learn how pioneers survived the long winter and the importance of trains.
Option 3: Writing with Laura
Part of Laura’s legacy was that she recorded the
everyday details of pioneer life. For example, she often
talked about the weather, their home, and the food “Ma”
prepared. The students will have a chance to create their
own journals. They will then record information about their
lives, just like Laura. Because Laura wrote her Little House
series about the events that happened in her life she gave
us a glimpse into our pioneer heritage. While students make their journals, they will listen to a tape of Laura speaking.
Key Takeaway: Learn about the importance of writing and recording daily activities for historical purposes
Option 4: Pioneer School Day -Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic
Who will help the teacher haul the wood for the stove or get the water for the students to drink? Find out what kind of books pioneer students studied from. What did they bring for lunch, boiled egg, ham or some potatoes? Students will do their schoolwork with a quill and ink pen or chalkboard and slate pen. After all, there were no Jel-pens in a one-room schoolhouse!
Key Takeaway: Compare a pioneer school day in a one-room schoolhouse to modern schools.
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800.880.3383 | 605.854.3383 |P.O. Box 426, 105 Olivet Avenue, De Smet, South Dakota, USA|
© Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, Inc. - All Rights Reserved
.The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Call early for best selection
Field Trips can be scheduled
9:00 am-4:00 pm
on a space available basis.
or by email
Each session will take about 30 minutes. All groups will spend 30 minutes at the Surveyors’ House. The length of your visit depends on how many sessions you select.
If you select two sessions in addition to 30 minutes at the Surveyors’ House your trip will be 1.5 hours.
If you select three session in addition to 30 minutes at the Surveyors’ House your trip will be 2 hours.
Donate to Laura's Legacy today!
Customize Your Field Trip
Create your customized tour by selecting the options that your students would enjoy. Each option will take 30 minutes (including transitions). To ensure that all students gain a basic understanding of Laura Ingalls Wilder they will attend the sessoin at the Surveyors’ House.
Phone 1-800-880-3383 1-606-854-3383 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Option 8: If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen!
Spend some time in the kitchen with “Ma Ingalls.” The pioneer children will help haul water into the house and then they will carry in corncobs, haytwists, or cow chips to burn in the cook stove. Students will view Ma’s cooking utensils and then compare them with modern kitchen utensils. Finally, students will have a pioneer snack-popcorn & milk!
Key Takeaway: Learn how pioneer kitchens and snacks were different from today’s kitchens and foods.
Option 9: Meet Mary, Laura’s Sister
Help your students become empathetic to blindness and learn how it affected Mary’s life. The students can begin learning Braille and learn to do beadwork with their eyes closed. This session helps students develop an appreciation for all that Mary was able to do in her life.
Key Takeaway: Learn about Mary’s life, her time in the Ingalls Home and how she overcame her blindness-learning to read and do beadwork.
Option 10: Family Game Night-Pioneer Style
After the chores were done and the biscuits baked,
what did early pioneer families do for fun? Many
families spent the long, winter evenings gathered in
the parlor. They didn’t get to watch television,
instead they made their own music. Pa played the
fiddle and Ma played the pump organ while the rest of the family sang along. Students will get to play time period musical instruments and then make their own instrument to take home !
Key Takeaway: Learn what pioneer families did for fun together.
Option 11: Behind Closed Doors
Students will take a behind the scenes look at how
a museum works. Find out where and how the
original treasures of the Ingalls family were
preserved from light, heat, humidity and even
human touch. Compare the old-time newspapers
with newspapers of today. See original books and other unique, historical items that belonged to Laura and her family.
Key Takeaway: Learn about the work completed at a museum.
Option 12: Save some time to shop!
Consider allowing your group to visit our gift shop, complete with t-shirts, sweatshirts, books, postcards, “whatnots” and small gift items.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society is a non-profit organization and the gift shop is one of our main income sources. We appreciate you allowing time for your students and chaperones to purchase souvenirs. All proceeds go to preserving Laura’s legacy and the Historic Homes.
Cost of Admission
$6.00 One chaperone
per 10 students
Complimentary Pass-Teacher and Bus Driver
Laura Ingalls Wilder
PO Box 426
105 Olivet Avenue
De Smet, SD 57231
Last year we customized our field trip program and added many hands on activities for your students. It was so much fun we are doing it again this year!
We have included descriptions of the activities we feature so that you may chose the ones that your students will enjoy the most.
All groups will start out with the, “Who is Laura Ingalls Wilder?” session at the Surveyors' House. Then it is off to whatever activities you have chosen.
We look forward to hosting you and your students. We have had a wonderful time revamping our field trip program and we can’t wait to see you this spring!