When I was a child, every girl read and cherished Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House on the Prairie Series. We loved the TV series, too. Now you can bring early American history into your social studies lesson with free activities from Laura Ingalls Wilder. When my mother read Little House in the Big Woods to me, we were both fascinated by the pioneer way of life. Laura Ingalls Wilder had a gift for story-telling as well as fascinating personal stories to tell. I purchased the rest of the series, one by one and read them. I later read the Little House on the Prairie books to my own children and used them in our homeschool. The Little House books make perfect American history and social studies lesson plans. Several websites feature free printable lessons and activities from Laura Ingalls Wilder, but this website is the most comprehensive:
http://www.laurasprairiehouse.com/ Calling itself the Definitive Laura Ingalls Wilder & Little House on the Prairie, this website is nicely organized with dozens of free pioneer activities. There is a move in social studies, just now to differentiate between settlers and pioneers. Pioneers were trail blazers who built new towns and settlements. Settlers moved into these areas and settled them. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family, both the her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls and her husband Almanzo Wilder were settlers pioneers. They brought customs and traditions with them from the New England towns they lived in and they formed many new traditions based on the areas they settled.
Laura’s Prairie House features several cross-referenced indexes of pioneer lesson plans. Search for activities according to the books in the series. Beginning with “Little House in the Big Woods”, the original series was written over a period from 1932-1943 and includes (in order) “Farmer Boy”(based on childhood memories of Laura’s father Charles), “Little House on the Prairie”, “On the Banks of Plum Creek”, “By the Shores of Silver Lake”, “The Long Winter”, “Little Town on the Prairie”, “These Happy Golden Years” and “The First Four Years” (stories from Laura’s early married life). I clearly remember when “The First Four Years” came out in 1971, and West from Home in 1974. The publication of these books sparked renewed interest in pioneer and early American lore.
You can also use the activities menu here to locate lesson plans and free printable activities. Scroll down past the list of books to find links for free printable teacher and homeschooler lesson plans and activities, resources for educators, crafts from Little House on the Prairie, Little House in the Big Woods and On the Banks of Plum Creek. There are free printable recipes, including maple candy, johnny cake, parched corn, cornbread, vinegar pie, horehound candy and other foods Laura features in her books. You can find free printable music and lyrics from songs as well as complete episode guides and links from the Little House on the Prairie television show. Laura’s Prairie Home features comprehensive biographical data on the Ingalls and Wilder families, too.
For more history and social studies lesson plans, visit the blogs linked.