Hello and welcome to 2020!
It's a new year and a great time to start new things. New Year's resolution goals and challenges abound on social media and all the blogs right now...you can map out a plan to read more books, eat healthier, work out more, spend more time outside and more.
Honestly, I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions and some of the plans or challenges I've seen look a bit daunting to complete. I do, however, love to push myself to improve and to learn about topics that interest me.
With that in mind, we've created a simple History Challenge for 2020 for you. It's full of activities that will help you integrate history into your life easily. And truly, I bet you're already doing most of these things already or have plans to do them in the next year.
There are 12 activities and you could easily complete this challenge just by adding one of the activities each month to your Heritage Letter. I'll be back from time to time throughout the year both here and on Instagram to give you some tips and recommendations in each of these areas.
And to get you started thinking, let's do a quick rundown of how you could complete this entire challenge by using our Laura Ingalls Wilder letter as a jumping off point...
-a historical fiction book
Reading any of the Little House Books would fit this category perfectly!
-a nonfiction historical book
Read one of Laura's later books like West from Home that includes her letters home to Almanzo when she traveled to San Francisco to visit their daughter, Rose.
Kids will enjoy Who Was Laura Ingalls Wilder by Patricia Brennan Demuth. Older children and teens will love Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Storybook Life from the Heroes of History series by Janet Benge and Geoff Benge. And adults will delight in Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pamela Smith Hill!
-a history-related audiobook
Enjoy listening to one of the Little House books while you work on craft projects.
-a historic home
If you live near any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites plan a trip to see it. If not, visit a Pioneer era historic home, homestead, or farm in your area.
-a history museum
If you live near any of the Laura Ingalls Wilder museums or a museum that focuses on the Pioneer era plan a trip to see it. If not, check the traveling exhibit schedule for your local history museums to see if they will be hosting any Pioneer related exhibits soon.
-a living history event
This is where the fun in learning really happens! Find a museum, historic home, or other venue near you that is planning a pioneer day event and go join in on the fun.
-make a historical craft
Let the Little House books be your guide here. What handicrafts are Ma, Laura, & Mary doing, or even Pa? You can knit, make a rag doll, make a small quilt, sew bean bags, make an apple pomander or clove apple, the possibilities here are endless. While you're crafting think and talk about the history of the craft or imagine yourself living in an era in which you only had items like the ones you are making if you made them yourself. Cooking a historic recipe could easily fall into historical crafts as well!
-play a historical game
Again, let the books be your guide. What games were the characters playing? When the weather is pretty you can do potato sack races, hoop rolling, three-legged races, hopscotch, and jump rope. Indoors you can play with paper dolls, make shadow puppets, or play chess, checkers, or marbles. Have fun enjoying the simplicity of these games!
-wear historical clothing
Get into the spirit of the pioneer by wearing pioneer inspired clothing! Women and girls can wear a bonnet and a long dress or skirt. Boys and men can wear straw hats and overalls or pants with suspenders.
-watch a historical movie
Or a historical show in this case! Watch a few episodes of Little House on the Prairie TV series with your family.
-watch a historical documentary
Watch Dean Butler's 2015 documentary Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder
There you have it! Our entire 2020 History Challenge completed just using activities related to our Laura Ingalls Wilder letter!
And did you see how easily you could complete several of the activities in one outing? You could listen to one of the Little House books on audiobook in the car while driving to a living history event at a historic home or museum. Join in the day by wearing historic clothing, even just a sun bonnet will do, and while you're at the living history event you'll be sure to have opportunities to participate in historic crafts, games, and food. In one day you could easily complete HALF of our history challenge! How terrific would that be???
While you're enjoying history and our letters remember to tag us on Instagram @heritageletter to spread the love of American history and for a chance to be featured in our feed!
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