Raisin and I recently finished reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods (afflink). I was delighted to begin this series from my childhood. Raisin was initially not interested in a book about a young girl, but he was pleasantly surprised to really enjoy it as we read!

I think one of the reasons that he enjoyed it, despite the young girl protagonist, is because Laura and her sister Mary do so many things that are vastly different from the life with which Raisin is familiar. Here are just a few of the educational activities we either learned about and/or replicated in our own home.

  • Smoked Meat. In the first chapter, Pa made a chimney in a hollow tree and smoked his meat.
  • Corn cob doll. Laura had a corn cob doll.
  • Clove apple. Ma’s sister brought her an apple with cloves in it as a Christmas gift (to make the kitchen smell nice). This is so easy to replicate.
  • Butter making. Fresh homemade butter on crackers was the most memorable part of our
  • Candy thermometer. Yum! We have a candy thermometer, so it’s much easier than hovering over the pot.
  • Maple syrup. I’ve never done this, but it’s fun to learn about the process!
  • Cheese making. We happened to visit Wisconsin recently, so it’s fun to see a bit about the cheese-making process in the book as well as on our family field trip!
  • Harvest machine Gears. My son has Wacky Gears Factory (afflink), so as we read about the harvest machine and looked at the picture, Raisin and I determined to make our own version of it, so we could better visualize how the horses turned the gears that turned the motor!

Now we’ve begun Little House on the Prairie. He’s enjoying that too so far! I have not found as many obvious learning lessons, but then, we’re only two chapter in!

What have you done to extend learning while reading the Little House books?

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