Kids in the old days were a lot like kids today – when they got bored, they wanted to play with new toys. Today’s kids have plenty of toys and games to choose from but kids in American pioneer families didn’t have so many choices.
Being a part of a pioneer family meant long, hard days traveling with as few personal belongings as possible. The days of travel often turned into weeks and even months of travel that was slow, at best.
Where the typical pioneer family was going, no one really knew. They went west mostly, with the plan of reaching a particular location or landmark but there weren’t any road maps and signs to point the way. There weren’t even any roads.
The absence of roads meant travel was slow, slow, slow and often very boring. Brothers and sisters in a pioneer family had to learn how to create their own fun along the way.
Most pioneer families traveled on foot or atop horses and some of them even had the luxury of a covered wagon to travel in. Either way, they didn’t have much room to store things while they traveled so their load was limited to just the constructive things they’d need to build a new home and start a new life way out west, wherever that was.
Traveling with as few things as a pioneer family did meant kids had to use their imagination to find their fun. There was just no room for toys and games. But, just like kids today, being bored makes a kid very creative.
When the day’s travel time was over, pioneer kids often enjoyed games of tree tag and they liked fox and geese, too. These are the kind of games that can be played just about anywhere, so long as there’s a tree nearby.
Pioneer girls enjoyed their rag dolls, too. Rag dolls were easy to pack away for the day’s journey and new ones could be made as soon as more rags accumulated. Most toys were left behind but there was often room for a rag doll or two.
Sledding and skiing were activities pioneer kids enjoyed once they reached the mountains. Story telling was an important past-time, too. And pioneer kids and their parents all enjoyed a swim whenever a good swimming hole came their way.
Being part of a pioneer family meant doing a lot of hard work, even for the kids, so the children learned a lot of very important skills along the way. But they never turned down a chance to have a little fun, too.