Thursday, July 11, 2013

Pioneer Day

I like to do activities for Pioneer Day throughout the month of July.  There are so many fun pioneer songs to sing & your program songs can easily be incorporated into all of these activities.  Have fun!

Pioneer Children – Another classic made by my mother.  Choose a child to put their face through the visual while singing a Pioneer Day song.  This works especially well with “Pioneer Children Sang as They Walked” p. 214.

Bonnets – Assign a song to each bonnet.  Have a child pick a bonnet and then sing the corresponding song.

Wagon Wheel of Fortune – This idea is courtesy of “The Ordinary Adventures of a Primary Chorister” blog (  Select 6 graphics and tape them to a large spinner.  I used one that I bought from Oriental Trading.
Graphics can be found at  Explain that, "When the Pioneers were traveling across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains to reach the Salt Lake Valley, they encountered many adventures!  We are going to sings songs today that teach us about their journeys.  First we will spin the spinner on the wagon wheel.  The spinner will land on a picture of one of their adventures, and I will explain how we will sing the pioneer song."   Select a child to spin.  Sing the song according to the graphic where the spinner stops.
Ox:                              Sing very slowly
                                     "Teams of oxen were used to pull heavy wagons.
Oxen are very slow animals, but because they are stronger than horses or mules, many pioneers used them to pull their heavy wagons."
Bunny rabbit:           Sing very fast
"Rabbits were seen along the pioneer trail. Rabbits are FAST and hard to catch!"
Pioneer girl:              Only girls sing (Put girl pioneer clothes on a girl)
                                    "These are some of the things pioneer girls would wear."
Pioneer boy:            Only boys sing  (Put boy pioneer clothes on a boy)
                                    "These are some of the things pioneer boys would wear."
Cowboy boot:         Sing western style
"Lots of pioneer boys and girls your age were real cowboys and cowgirls! They drove cows and other animals all by themselves along the pioneer trek!"
Snake:                        Sing very quietly
"Yes, there were rattlesnakes! If the pioneers encountered a rattlesnake it was best to be very quiet and not disturb it!"
Native American:  Children trade seats
"There were many, many encounters with Indians along the trails.  Pioneers would 'TRADE' some of their precious items (jewelry, dishes, toys, furniture) for much needed food, or furs and blankets to keep warm."
Ax & Wood:              Sing "choppy" (staccato)
"Children had the job of collecting firewood for campfires. When there were no trees for wood, they would collect sagebrush or buffalo dung to burn in their campfires!
Beehive & Bee:        If the child holds this picture up high in the air, everyone hums. When the child hides the picture, everyone sings the words. 
                                    "The Pioneers wanted to call their new home 'Deseret', which meant 'honey bee' in the Jaredite language in the Book of Mormon. The honey bee was symbolic for how industrious or 'busy' the pioneers were, just like bees!"
Ant:                            Stomp to the beat
"Sometimes insects, like ants, invaded the pioneer camps. Pioneers had to stomp to get the ants off their bodies! Yikes!"
Cow:                          Hot-n-Cold (A child leaves the room while someone hides the cow in the room. When the child returns, the rest of the children sing loud when he/she is close to the cow and softly when he/she is not close).
                                    "If a cow wandered away from the pioneer camps, sometimes children your age had to search for them and bring them back to the camp."
Mountains:               Echo sing (Divide the children in two and have the first group sing a phrase of the song.  The second group echoes the first.  Have the pianist play each phrase twice throughout the entire song.) "When the pioneers finally reached the mountains they discovered some places in canyons, between two mountains, that would echo anything they said or sang!"

After each picture has been landed on with the spinner and used, replace it with a new picture.