Thursday, June 23, 2016

Little House in the Big Woods Plans, Instructions, & Resources

My favorite book series growing up was the Little House books. I decided I wanted to introduce Bo (6) to the books, even though some of the stuff was over his head. Through discussions, videos, and activities I was able to make the books understandable. I used the Prairie Primer as my starting point. I looked through and picked out the fun activities and topics I wanted to cover. I reread each book and took notes of topics and possible activity ideas for each chapter. I also scoured Pinterest and the internet for more ideas. I came up with quite a few. I picked two books to cover this summer.  I chose to do Little House in the Big Woods first because it was the easiest read and a good starting point. I made up a schedule for each week. Then I started collecting other resources.

I found videos covering some of the topics to be discussed in the interactive folder and songs from the book. On the schedule the red font indicates that I have video for that item. Here is the link to my Youtube playlist for both books (Little House in the Big Woods begins at the top and ends with Food Preservation in Early Virginia). They are in the order they appear on my schedule.

We made an interactive folder to collect the information we learned along the way. Here is the link to the pages and instructions on how to make the folder. I also collected some printable resources too. Here is a link to a Pinterest board with the items I printed. The blue font on the schedule indicates that there is a printable on the topic.

Here is my schedule for Little House in the Big Woods.

I am going to go through all of the activities, trips, and food suggestions. I will explain what we did (if we actually did it) and how to repeat the activity yourself at home.

Chapter 1
Lincoln Logs- We built Laura's homestead out of Lincoln Logs. This gave Bo an idea of what a log house might look like and was very simple to do.
Shoot BB gun- We shot at a target facing a large pile of dirt. This gave us an opportunity to talk about gun safety. It also helped Bo to realize just how difficult it would be to hunt and get enough food to feed a family.
Hot dog "Pig Tails"- We didn't get to do this activity because it rained that week. My idea here was to cut a hot dog in half and make the tip pointed like a tail. Then roast them on a fire.
Pig Bladder/Balloon Game- I didn't have a pig bladder on hand, so I decided to use a white balloon instead. All I did was blow it up and hand it to Bo. Kids love balloons and always have some kind of game to play with them. We did discuss Laura and Mary playing with the pig bladder while we hit the balloon around.
Leather Craft- I found a leather teepee at Hobby Lobby. We assembled it and talked about how leather was made. Any leather craft would do.
Pork Rinds & Jerky- This was simply a taste test. Pork rinds were similar to pork cracklings. Jerky is a way to preserve meats.

Chapter 2
Jack Frost Painting- Using a thimble, paint with white paint on blue paper. This was a hit with all 4 kiddos.
Butter- Put heavy whipping cream and a couple of marbles in a plastic jar. Put the lid on tight and let the kids shake. They will get tired so be prepared to shake it all by yourself. Eventually it will turn into butter. We spread it on some bread and sprinkled it with sugar to make one of my favorite snacks bread, butter, and sugar (creative name, I know). There's a recipe for making butter on page 166 of The Little House Cookbook.
Wash Clothes- This was a favorite with all of the kids. I bought a small washboard off of Amazon. I had some mismatched socks that we normally use for dusting and a bar of hotel soap. I set up a tub of water and showed them how to wash the clothes. I made a clothesline out of twine and gave them old fashioned clothes pins. They went to town. All the socks were washed about 5 times each.
Paper Dolls- Here is the link where I found the dolls. I printed them on heavy card stock and let the kids color them and I cut them out. I did wind up stapling them together because it made it easier for little hands.

Petland to Pet Puppies- I took the kids to this pet store to show them a bulldog. Plus, who doesn't like petting puppies? Best of all it was free.

Chapter 3
Dissect Owl Pellets- I bought an owl pellet kit on Amazon. I sat down with Bo and we pulled it apart. This was an absolute blast. It was very educational as well.

Chapter 4
Carve Soap-I didn't trust Bo with a knife, so I picked something safer. Take a bar of Ivory soap (it's soft and not too crumbly) and draw a shape on it that you would like to carve. Using a popsicle stick carve away all of the soap on the outside of your shape. Do this over a tray to collect the shavings or you will have a mess.
Pancake Men- Ma made pancake men for the girls. Make your favorite batter and pour it into the shape of a man. Body, head, arms, and legs. This was another exciting activity for the kids. Page 92 of the cookbook.
Knitting- We finger knit because it was simpler. Bo tried, but quickly lost interest because he wouldn't listen to instructions and therefore couldn't make anything. We used this site for directions.
Lung Model- This was to show how a lung works. Cut a water bottle in half and take off the lid. Tape a balloon to a straw and put it in top half of the bottle. The balloon should be in the bottle and the straw poking out of the top. Cover the rest of the mouth of the bottle with play dough. This helps hold in the straw in place. Cut off the stem of another balloon and stretch it over the large opening at the bottom. Blow into the straw and watch your lung breath.
Snow Candy- I used the recipe on page 192.
Clove Apple- We didn't have time to do this activity, but I will go ahead and explain it. Take an apple and shove cloves into it. Then set it out to smell good. It's very simple.
Carver- We went to George Washington Carver State Park. I picked this location because it has a nice walk, but more importantly there's a house that would be a similar size to the little house in the big woods.

Chapter 5
Baths- We didn't do this because once again we didn't have time, but I will share my idea. Fill up a tub with warm water. Put it in the middle of some chairs and hang up blankets around them. Jump in with a bar of soap and take a bath like Laura.
Paper Quilt- I cut out 4 squares of white paper. The kids decorated the squares and I glued them down to some construction paper to make a quilt. It was very simple, which I loved.
Butter Cookies- I used this recipe.

Chapter 6
Tin Can Lantern- Clean out a tin can. Fill it with water and let it freeze. Use a hammer and nail to poke holes in the can. Let the ice melt and the can dry. Add a tea light and you've got a lantern! Bo enjoyed this one a lot.
Rye 'n' Injun Bread- We didn't make it because it was too intensive to do with the short time that we had. The recipe is on page 86.
Milk Cow- I loved this activity. Take a latex glove and poke holes in the finger tips with a needle. Fill the glove with water and tie it up somewhere. Put a bowl below and milk away. Sissy really liked doing this one. Bo was just glad he doesn't have to do this for all the milk that he drinks.

Chapter 7
Candles- Melt some candle wax (I found it at Hobby Lobby). Put small pieces into a glass jar and place the jar in almost boiling water. Stir the wax to help it all melt. Cut a length of wick for your candle. Dip the wick into the melted wax then a jar of cold water. Repeat this until your candle is a decent size. You can touch the candles to shape them after you dip them in water. Bo and I enjoyed this one.
Wildcat- We went to Wildcat simply because we enjoy the trip. There's a walking trail, nature center, and a spring to wade in. In the woods, we talked about what it would be like to see nothing but the woods all the time.
Maple Syrup- This was once again just a taste test, but I forgot to do it.

Chapter 8
Square Dance- If we had more kids, we would have gotten up and danced, but we didn't so we just watched the video.

Chapter 9
Play barefoot- This is obvious and simple. Try walking on the grass, dirt, gravel, and sand. If children don't go barefoot often this will be a new experience.
Covered Wagon- We had a covered wagon kit, but it was way above his ability level, so we quit and moved on.
Store- I put things (candies, bracelets, toy, necklaces, etc.) in jars. Each jar had a price between 1 and 5 cents. I gave "Pa" 10 cents for his "rabbit fur." He was then allowed to go to the store and buy things. He really liked this.

Chapter 10
Picnic- I had school so we didn't get to go, but my plan was kinda fun. I was going to take the foods or something similar to what is listed in the chapter.
Collect Rocks- This was going to happen on our picnic, but we didn't get to go. I was going to let each kid collect rocks and paint them when we got home.
Schimihorn- This is a park with a river running through it. It was going to be the location for the picnic and rock collecting.
Cheese- We didn't have time because of school. The recipe is on page 172.

Chapter 11
Balance Beam- We took a 2x4 and walked on it. This was to simulate a fence rail like Charlie walked on.
Nut Taste- I just picked one of each kind of nut from a tub of mixed nuts. I let Bo try each one and told him what kind it was. He liked them all.

Chapter 12
Stump Jump- This was the game the cousins played. We didn't have stumps, so I drew circles on the patio and we jumped on them.

Chapter 13
Survival KitI explained what each item could be used for and asked him what he thought. It all went into the Altoids tin. Not pictured is a card with his name, address, and phone numbers for Mom, Dad, Mia (grandma), and me. Here is the explanation I gave or he offered for each item.
Pencil- mark how many days have gone by, what you last remember seeing
Pencil sharpener- sharpen the pencil, put a small stick in there to make little pieces to start a fire
3 sizes of safety pins- fishing hook, tore your pants
Paper clips- wire, fishing hooks
Band Aid- booboos
Compass- hopefully help you get back
Candle- light, start a fire
String- tie stuff up, fishing
Balloons- hold water, send up a note, inflate and tie to string and safety pin, it acts like a bobber
Magnifying glass- remove splinter, look at bugs, make a fire

Here's what we did!
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

That is all for this book. This post is also available to download here. I hope you got some good ideas. Please leave a comment down below and don't forget to follow us on social media.

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