GUEST CONTRIBUTOR: ANDREA SCHMUTZ, USU EXTENSION ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
I love the fact that Pioneer Day (a state holiday in Utah) falls in the same month as the 4th of July. The two holidays encourage us to celebrate heritage - of our country and of our state. They remind us of sacrifices made by courageous people who lived difficult lives. Traditionally, Pioneer Day commemorates the arrival of the first group of Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. However, the holiday is an opportunity to honor the many different pioneers who contributed to the wonderful state and country in which we live. Regardless of your faith, this July 24 take a moment to enjoy some family time with these budget friendly activities inspired by the pioneers.
Homemade butter in a jar - The pioneers did not have the luxury of running to the grocery store to purchase a pound of butter. However, many of them owned cows or they could trade for fresh cream to make butter. To make butter like the pioneers, all you need is heavy cream, a little salt (optional), and a jar with a screw-on lid. For detailed instructions, visit USU Extension Utah Ag in the Classroom.
Bread in a Bag - As the pioneers travelled west, they carried food that could last for up to six months without spoiling such as flour, cornmeal, dried fruit, beans and cured meat. Bread was a staple in their diet. Give bread-making a whirl with this “Kid Friendly Bread in a Bag” recipe. Be sure to try a slice with your homemade butter!
Toys - Pioneer children had simple toys made from available materials that often included pebbles, rope, scraps of material, wood, pieces of yarn or wool, or anything else they could find. Here are a few toys you can make using supplies you probably have lying around your house:
Games - Like their toys, the games pioneer children played used simple materials or no equipment at all. Many of the games they played, like hopscotch and jump rope, are still played by children today. Here are a few pioneer games you can try with your friends and family:
Some of the activities may prove to be more challenging than they sound. As you do them, remind yourself that you can do hard things just as the pioneers did hard things when they settled this land.
Parting thought: “To reach a goal you have never before attained, you must do things you have never before done.” - Richard G. Scott
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