I have always been fascinated by the pioneer period. It is amazing how strong people survived tough situations and came out victorious on top. It is what helped create many parts of the wonderful country we have today. The pioneers had to be resourceful and ready for anything. They developed ways to live off the land in even the harshest environments. If you are doing a unit study on pioneers of the past, I have compiled a list of pioneers unit study resources to help you put together an awesome and enriching unit. Here, you will find educational videos, printables, free and paid unit study resources, and even some recipes.
Pioneer Unit Study Resources
Pioneer Lesson Plan Ideas
Every Star is Different has a lot of activities you can do to incorporate lessons like math into your pioneers unit study. Many of these are for younger kids, but you could easily adapt them for older ones, too.
Education Possible has a free American Pioneer Notebooking Unit for middle schoolers that has many parts in it that would be amazing for older students.
Pioneers Lapbooks and Printables
These free printable Pioneer Girl and Pioneer Boy Paper Dolls are a fun way for your child to engage in an activity that Laura and Mary enjoyed.
This simple Pioneer Life Word Search from About.com’s homeschooling section is a great free printable.
Lapbook Lessons has a free 25 page Oregon Trail Lapbook available for printing.
Pioneers Crafts, Experiments, and Tutorials
Make Dipped Beeswax Candles with the instructions from Homework: Create Every Day.
Pioneers often had to make things from the land, including making ink from berries. Here is a tutorial on How to Make Berry Ink from Hurrayic and here is a tutorial on How to Make Ink from Walnut Shells from Little House on the Prairie.
Use this tutorial to teach your children how to make a Corn Cob Doll using a real corn cob.
Pioneers Videos and Clips
Little House on the Prairie: The Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder is a one-hour documentary that goes beyond the famed Little House book series to the behind-the-scenes, true life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Right now through Cyber Monday Little House on the Prairie is offering homeschoolers an exclusive coupon code for 20% off! Click HERE and add the documentary DVD to your shopping cart. Click checkout and apply code LHSCHOOL to get 20% off! And you can enter a Giveaway to win the documentary here.
A Day in the Life of a Pioneer Child is a 3 minute video showing what it was like to be a child in the pioneer days with their chores and school.
Frontier House was a show on PBS about modern families that go back to pioneer living. There are full episodes available on YouTube.
Make Hardtack with this recipe from Education.com. Hardtack is a kind of cracker that pioneers often carried with them on long journeys, so they would have something to eat with them at all times.
Apple pie has been an American favorite for many generations. Use Almanzo’s Apple Pie Recipe from Little House on the Prairie for your end of Pioneer Unit Study celebration. It includes directions for Ma’s Old-Fashioned Pie Crust.
Don’t forget your apron while you are baking! Use this tutorial to make an Easy DIY Apron for both mother and child.
Additional Pioneers Resources
Library of Congress has a great set of links on the Westward Expansion featuring many PDFs for classroom teaching.
Kid Info is a resource with information on Lewis and Clark and more on the Pioneer Life and Westward Expansion.
The University of Missouri has an eThemes section on the Westward Expansion and Pioneer Daily Life.
Pioneers Books for Kids
A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood
The Little House Collection Box Set by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker
Pioneer Women: The Lives of Women on the Frontier by Linda Peavy