Others who have submitted their ideas for this week's lesson plans:

Janetta Graham! ~ Thank you!


alt Start with a prayer.
alt Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
alt Sing, "Covered Wagons
alt Scripture - Recite and Memorize Doctrine and Covenants 136:17 

Breakfast - Dress up like pioneers and have a pioneer breakfast together. Eat mush and fried potatoes, flapjacks and bacon. Warm hot cocoa and toast.  Or you can have biscuits and  gravy with an assortment of jams. (If you want to try several pioneer recipes throughout the week, there are quite a few listed at the bottom of this page...give 'em a try!)

Monday's Pioneer Clues - You will need to print this document for this activity.  It contains the clues for each day this week.  Print it out and cut out each clue individually (question and answer together).  So there should be three questions for each day.  I am doing these plans with three of my children and I'm going to hide one clue in each of their bedrooms before we start each day.  Once they find it, they come and meet me.  My oldest knows how to read, so I'll read the question and he'll read the answer.  Everyone will get a chance to help read their question and answer.  I will simplify my answers a bit, but I hope it will give my children an idea of what pioneer life was like on the trail.

Vocabulary Words - If your children are younger, write out each word on a 3 x 5 index card.  Give them a handful of raisins and have them place the raisins around each letter of the word.  Once they've finished the first card, have them spell each letter back and give the sound each letter makes.  If they are older, and can sound words out, give them a word and have them spell it with the raisins.  Vocabulary words for this week: pioneer, wagon, west, compass, plains, trail, prairie, walk, Utah, sing, fort, explorer, settler, crops, wilderness.

Object Lesson - Play the following pioneer game with your children.  Ask one child to leave the room (or close his or her eyes) while you hide a thimble, rock, or other small object somewhere in the room. Then have the child return (or open his or her eyes) and look for the object. Have the other children help by saying “hot” when the child is near the object or moving toward it and “cold” when the child is far from the object or moving away from it.  When the child has found the object, ask them the following question:

• What does it mean to have faith?

Explain that to have faith is to believe and trust that something is real and true even though we have not seen it with our own eyes. Point out that the child who was looking for the hidden object had faith that it was in the room, even though he or she could not see it.

• In whom must we have faith?

Explain that we must have faith in Jesus Christ.  Discuss how the pioneers faith had to be strong to endure all that was required of them.  We too, will need a great amount of faith, to do withstand the many temptations and trials that will come our way.

Art - Make your own candles. (Here is how to make Beeswax Candles

Make homemade butter - Go to the store and buy heavy whipping cream.  Make sure it is not ordinary whipping cream; be sure it is designated as "heavy".  Fill a small container half way (like a baby food jar, sippy cup, anything like that will work) along with a pinch of salt.  Have each child shake, shake, shake their container until it forms a ball.  Drain any excess liquid.  Have them spread their butter on a piece of bread.

While everyone is munching away ask them:

* How hard was it to shake the jar?
* How did your arm feel?
* How long would you say it took the cream to turn to butter?
* How does it taste?
* What can making butter teach us about reaching our goals?
* Should we just quit when it becomes hard?  Why or why not?
* What are the rewards of finishing a task?

The pioneers became very tired as they walked all day long, day after day.  Heavenly Father blessed them and he will bless us as we are faithful too.


alt Start with a prayer.
alt Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
alt Sing, "Covered Wagons
alt Scripture - Recite and Memorize Doctrine and Covenants 136:17 

Tuesday's Pioneer Clues - Start by hiding your clues.  Have the children join you once they've found their papers.  Read them together.  (To get the clues, go to Monday's lesson plans). 

Reading - Find the missing word in each scripture and write it on the space in the wagon wheel frame.  If your children are younger, do this activity together.  When you have finished filling in the scriptures, read the sentence on the wagon frame (starting with the first scripture). You’ll find out how the pioneers received help from Heavenly Father, and how we can too.

Click to View Larger Format

Science - Shadow Clock.  The pioneers were able to tell time based on the position of the sun.  Take each child out on your driveway.  You're going to trace their shadow a few times (however many times YOU want to : )   Anyway, you have the child face the same direction each time.  Using sidewalk chalk, trace each child's shadow.  Have the child write their names by their shadows. (That was my children's favorite part - they love writing their names).  We also wrote the time inside each new shadow.  If your children are old enough, they could trace each other's shadows.  Repeat every couple of hours.  After it is all done, ask, Are the shadows mostly long or short?  Why are some shadows in front and some are behind?  Why are some small and some long?  Have them think about where the sun is in the sky at different times of day.  This is how the people were able to tell time back then.

Art - Build a diorama by gluing the pieces to some lightweight cardboard. Color figures, background, and strip. Then cut out on solid black lines. Also cut slots A and B. Fold background in on dashed lines. Then insert slots A of strip into background slots B and stand on tabletop. To make figures stand up, fold tabs back.

Click to View Larger Format

After you have built diorama (dimensional scene), put figures in place as you tell a pioneer story.  Have your child make up their own story to go along with the figures.

Click to View Larger Format

Snack - Ice Cream in a Baggie (always fun!)


alt Start with a prayer.
alt Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
alt Sing, "Covered Wagons
alt Scripture - Recite and Memorize Doctrine and Covenants 136:17 

Challenge - Spend an entire day without using any modern conveniences. Turn off the television, don't use the telephone, and walk everywhere you go. Sleep outside under the stars (in the backyard) as a family with blankets. Wash your hair in a tub of water, and do some wash by hand. That evening, talk about the blessings of living during this modern time, and the things you feel you could live without.

Wednesday's Pioneer Clues - Start by hiding your clues.  Have the children join you once they've found their papers.  Read them together.  (To get the clues, go to Monday's lesson plans). 

Lesson - Tell the children you would like them to participate in two activities. Ask one of your children to help you.  Have them tell you, without looking at a watch or clock, when he or she thinks one minute has passed. Give the child a signal to start timing. While you keep track of the time on the clock or watch, talk with the child and your other children to make it harder for the child to concentrate. When the child says that one minute has passed, tell everyone how much time has actually passed. 

Then ask all your children to stand and see if they can remain completely still and quiet, like a statue, for one minute. Give the children a signal to start, and say “stop” when one minute has passed. 

Point out that the passage of time is hard to judge. Sometimes time seems to go by very quickly, while on other occasions it seems to pass very slowly.   Explain that a valiant person is one who is strong, obedient, courageous, and true in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Tell your children that they will learn about some of the early Saints who valiantly endured to the end of their lives.

Writing - Letter Home.  Have your children assume the role of one of the pioneers and write a letter to a friend describing their daily life.  If your children are younger, have them draw a picture of their life on the trail.

Art - Make homemade marbles out of clay.  Research rules of marbles online and play a game together.

Snack - Make Potato Candy

1/2 cup mashed potatoes
powered sugar
peanut butter

Combine 1/2 cup mashed potatoes and power sugar till is firm enough to roll. The mixture will become very wet; just keep adding powdered sugar. Roll out on powdered sugar like noodles. Cover with peanut butter. Roll into jelly roll cut into small pieces.

Photo shared by Wendy - 07172007


alt Start with a prayer.
alt Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
alt Sing, "Covered Wagons
alt Scripture - Recite and Memorize Doctrine and Covenants 136:17 

Thursday's Pioneer Clues - Start by hiding your clues.  Have the children join you once they've found their papers.  Read them together.  (To get the clues, go to Monday's lesson plans). 

Pioneer Treasure HuntClick here to open the Treasure Hunt.   

Science - Natural Dyes.  In the time of pioneers, they had to make their own dyes from plant materials and such.  Try your hand at dying a shirt, bandana, yarn, etc.  You could even dye your cleaning rags or something your don't care about. You'll need:

  • pot
  • wooden spoon
  • several squares of white cloth or yarn or whatever you are going to dye
  • Lots of onion skins
  • purple grapes
  • blueberries
  • carrots
  • grass
  • raspberries
  • 2 or 3 teabags
  • cinnamon
  • cranberries

Bring to a boil about 2 cups of water in a medium pan. Add one of the above ingredients. If using berries mash them well. Reduce heat and let simmer. Stir and then add your fabric or yarn. Keep it in for as long as you like. The longer you leave it the darker and deeper the color will be. Rinse and hang up to dry.  Here are the colors you will get:

  • onion skins - yellow-brown
  • Grapes - pale blue
  • Blueberries- purple color
  • tea bags - tan or brown
  • Cinnamon- very pretty brown
  • Cranberries - rose
  • Carrots - yellow
  • Grass - Green
  • Raspberries - pink

Math PuzzleClick here for this worksheet.  My oldest child insisted on a harder worksheet, so this worksheet is with him in mind.  Essentially, it is a puzzle and can be assembled without doing any of the math.  However, various puzzle pieces have math problems on them.  I had my son choose eleven colors of crayons and had him color each puzzle piece that "just" had a number on it a different color.  Then, he had to do each math problem.  Color each puzzle piece according to it's answer.  So, if your child chose red for number one, all math problems with a sum of one are to be colored red.  After the puzzle is colored, assemble.


alt Start with a prayer.
alt Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or family motto.
alt Sing, "Covered Wagons
alt Scripture - Recite and Memorize Doctrine and Covenants 136:17 

Friday's Pioneer Clues - Start by hiding your clues.  Have the children join you once they've found their papers.  Read them together.  (To get the clues, go to Monday's lesson plans). 

Load the Wagon - "Talk about how the pioneers couldn't take all of their possessions, so they had to choose what would be the most useful/meant most to them.  Ask each child to go to their bedrooms and decide on three things they absolutely couldn't leave behind.  After each child returns, ask them to explain why they chose each item....if it is useful or meaningful?

Snack - Make an edible pioneer wagon

Handcart Races - First, color both figures and carefully cut out along the heavy lines. Then mount them on lightweight cardboard. Punch a hole where marked in each box.  Cut two pieces of twine or lightweight string 6′ long. Tie one end of each string to a sturdy object such as a table leg, chair leg, or even a fence. Thread one figure onto each string.

Make your handcarts move by quickly raising and lowering the strings. The first handcart to the opposite end of its string wins!

Right click on image and copy or save graphic

Summary - Sing or say the words to “Come, Come, Ye Saints”. Discuss how the words provided encouragement to the Saints as they crossed the plains. Point out that even though the pioneers’ journey was difficult, they were joyful as they traveled, because they loved the gospel and wanted to be able to live it in peace.  Encourage the children to work hard, as the pioneers did, to accomplish their goals and to help others.

Field Trip and Activity Ideas:

- Go on a picnic.
- Talk to some senior citizens.  Find out what it was like when they were young.  Ask them what life was like for them as a child.  Do they know what it was like for their parents?
- Visit a heritage building.
- Walk through the oldest section of the town or city where you live.  See if you can identify the original homes and pick out what they have in common.
- Learn about the first settlements in your area.
- Have a square dance with some neighbors. Involve extended family and friends to cook up some traditional pioneer desserts to serve as refreshments, like pies and cakes. Make sure to wear your pioneer dresses and hats, and, if possible, dance to live fiddles!

Pioneer Games:

alt Duck Duck Goose - renamed "horse, horse, ox."
alt Sack Race - Use two old pillowcases and let the children race each other in the backyard. 
alt Checkers - Make your own checker board with 12 squares across instead of 8 and use buttons as player pieces.
alt Pioneer Games by Susan Davis Friend Feb. 1989 (form of baseball, dare base, chain tag, last couple out, railroad spelling bee)
alt Pioneer Puzzle Game - July 2004 Friend Magazine 
alt Stick pulling - a favorite game Joseph Smith played with children and his peers (use a stick or broom)
alt Just Like Us - Word search puzzle from the July 2005 Friend.

Craft Ideas:

alt Make Sugar Cube Temples - Build sugar cube temples and talk about the importance of temples. Talk about how important the temples were important to the pioneers. (Click here for instructions on how to make Sugar Cube Temples...look on right side of page), (Click here for Sugar Cube Temple from lds.about.com)

alt Pioneer Bonnets and Vests - Make a pioneer bonnet pattern #1pioneer bonnet pattern #2 and vest

Other Activities:

alt One room schoolhouse-pretend you are going to school in a one room schoolhouse.  All of your siblings are in the same class as you are.  Find chalk and chalkboard or dry erase marker and whiteboard and write your letters, name, numbers, shapes, math, etc.  Have the older siblings teach something new to the younger siblings, if applicable.
alt Pack up-pack up necessary belongings for a long "trek".  Suggestions might include food for lunch, a book to read for story time, harmonica or children's primary songbook, simple games.  Put them in backpacks or wagons.  Walk to the nearest park or designated area. 

alt Plant seeds or a new garden just like the pioneers did when they settled a new land.

alt Make your own covered wagon with a cardboard box (A refrigerator box would work the best).  Draw wheels on outside of box.  Load up your wagon with things pioneers would take.

Photos shared by Wendy - 07172007
alt Pioneers didn't have mileage markers in their wagons like we do in our cars today.  To mark the distance they traveled they tied a piece of cloth on their wagon wheel and counted how many times it revolved (or spun around to its original location).  Tie a piece of cloth to your bike and mark how far you traveled in a given distance (i.e. 25 revolutions etc.)
alt Learn to sew using lacing cards (make your own by punching holes around a design), scrap pieces of material, tie quilts, make your own doll clothing.

alt Learn to dance like the pioneers.  Dances such as Virginia Reel.  Songs such as Turkey in the straw

alt Play horseshoes

alt Jump rope

alt Build a campfire and tell stories and sing songs

alt Pioneer Fashion show

alt Do your chores! 

alt Pantomime chores that they pioneers would have done (chop wood, build a fire, fetch water from well, harvest crops, make food from scratch (i.e  butter, bread), churn butter, collect firewood, etc.

alt 3 legged races

alt Make a handkerchief doll from the July 1992 Friend Magazine (pages 26-27). 

alt Make a pioneer spinner with string and button.

alt Make bracelet or necklace with string and beads.

alt Design your own pioneer clothing.

alt How did they make barrels and wheels round with straight wood?  They had to bend the wood in water to shape it (learned that in Nauvoo).

alt Make a prairie diamond by bending a nail in a circle to fit as a ring.  These were the rings men gave their women to propose.  (taken from Nauvoo welder shop)

alt Take inventory of your food storage to see if your family would have enough for the long journey across the plains.

alt Learn and play pioneer songs on the piano, recorder, harmonica, or other instrument.

Pioneer Recipes:

Pioneer log cabin, bread and milk, honey taffy pull
Nauvoo Ginger Cookies, Johnnycake, Homemade butter, Old-fashioned pickles
Pork sausage patties and mormon gravy, rice in cream, baking powder biscuits
Mormon Johnnycake, Honey Candy, Pioneer Lettuce Salad, Rice in Cream Molasses Candy
Buttermilk Doughnuts, Apple Candy, Bread and Milk, Old-Fashioned Muffins, Horseshoe Cookies, Johnnycake, Washboard Cookies, Toasted Spice cake, Pioneer Hardtack
Garden Patch Dish, Pioneer Johnnycake, Raspberry Fruit Dip