the term "light a shuck for home" came from having to carry coals or a shuck of corn stuck in the fire and lit. if you left home a long time to visit or go to town by the time you got home the fire was out and you may not have matches to start a fire. bringing the fire with you from a neighbors was a way to start the fire. you might have a fire relay (with a lot of adult help) start a fire at one place and the person going "home" has to start the next fire with coals from the first fire, etc.
there is also open fire cooking. pioneers had to eat a lot of beans! they are easy to cook and they could carry the pot in the wagon to the next meal stop.
using different types of fuel for your fires could be interesting too. not many people in American today would want to cook over cow "chips" but the pioneers had to use what they could get and there are a lot of places twists of grass, brush and chips were all they had. and it ws usually the childrens job to pick up the chips as they walked by the wagons.
learning how they carried thngs like eggs and meat would be different too. they had eggs for a while at the first part of the trip if they stored them in the flour barrel. meat was stored in salt or dried.
drying meat over a smokey fire isn't hard. boys like to do that kind of thing.
As kids, we used to have a lot of fun making miniature covered wagons (using wooden mandarin orange boxes), using small branches for the wheels and support for canvas covers. Twigs made great 'pretend' campfires and we really had to read a lot of different things about the old west to get an idea of what life was like, and how we could emulate some of those conditions (in miniature, with not-too-sophisticated materials).
Weaving, candle-dipping, make a quilt square, cooking or baking. How about a corn husk doll, make blocks from wood. Or a stuffed rag doll.
When my children were in kindergarten, I "helped" each class make bread. I stressed cleanliness, and had each child wash hands and knead the bread. Then they again, washed hands and pinched off a bit and made individual rolls. When the rolls doubled in bulk, we all went to the cafeteria and watched as they baked.
You also can get cream and a few jars and shake like crazy to make butter. Fill the jars half full and have each child help in shaking. Wash butter in very cold water, press in towels, and salt lightly. Ask grandmothers or mothers for help with the bread. There is someone out there who would be so happy to help with this.
I remember when our children's teacher had each child bring in a can or few potatoes, or something to make vegetable soup at Thanksgiving for a "feast." Another project is to have each child make a square for a patchwork quilt. Four to six inch squares of white fabric, several colors of fabric paint and pens for handprints and names.
Stitch all patches together, use batting in the middle and plain or printed backing and just tie each corner in little tufts with yarn for a comforter or have a quilter stitch around each hand, though that is LOTS of work. Be sure to date the quilt and have your local newspaper there for pictures.
Any quilter would be happy to help with this project. If in doubt, look up your local quilters guild for help. Believe me, any would be happy to. Use the parents and grandparents, even some retirement homes for help. Wish I were there, myself, to help!! I had a ball.
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