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Laura Ingalls Wilder would approve


Around this harvest-y time of year, we just want to stroll around farms, eat homemade apple pie and take in the simple pleasures of life. Here’s a birthday party concept that lets you brings those simple pleasures to your own homestead, pioneer style. But simple doesn’t have to mean low key. We’re taking a page from the liveliest pioneer’s books so your kid can party like it’s 1899.

Old-Fashioned Games

We’re not talking gee-haw whimmie diddles . These old-school games are some of the most fun that ever hit the barn yards back in the day.

Hula Hoop Roll: Split kids into teams and give each team one hula hoop. Have the teams line up single file, relay style. When the whistle blows, the first person from each team rolls the hoop. As soon as the hoop falls down, the next kid in their team’s line runs to the hoop and continues rolling it. As soon as the hoop falls, the next kid in line runs out to grab it. Play until one of the hoops passes the finish line.

Potato Sack Races:  To play this classic picnic game, set the starting line at one end of the backyard and finish line at the other. All racers line up at the starting line in their sacks, then take off when the whistle blows. The first person to jump to the end wins. (If you can’t find burlap sacks, pillow cases work, too.)

Drop the Handkerchief: Just like Duck Duck Goose, everyone sits in a circle. One person who is “it” stands on the outside of the circle with a handkerchief. He walks around the circle and drops the handkerchief behind someone. That person picks up the handkerchief and chases the person who dropped the handkerchief around the circle until they get back to their original spot.

Folk Art Inspired Crafts 

  • Roll your own candles using different coloured sheets of beeswax and wicks from a craft store.
  • Make a yarn doll to tell your worries to and stash under your pillow at night.
  • Make feather quill pens and practice your calligraphy.
  • Shake heavy cream in mason jars to make butter (it takes about 5 – 7 mins). Back in ye olde days, pioneer parents handed off the task of churning butter to the kids. But that didn’t mean it was easy. To keep the rhythm of churning and the make the time pass quicker, they would sing the traditional churning song:

“Come butter, come

Come butter, come

Peter’s standing at the gate

Waiting for a butter cake

Come butter, come”

Let each kid take some freshly churned butter home as a favour, or stop when it’s whipped cream and top pound cake slices with a blob!

Homespun Snacks

Pie pops put a country-licious spin on bite sized cake pops. They’re much easier to make, too. You’ll need: 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of water, 1 teaspoon almond extract and 1 package Frozen pie crusts.

Combine berries, sugar, cornstarch and almond extract in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture is thick. Allow to cool. Roll out the pie crusts, and using a cookie cutter or small drinking glass, cut as many circles as you can get out of the pie crusts. Place a popsicle stick on top of one of the circles and spoon a tablespoon of filling into the center. Top with another circle, and press the edges together with a fork. Brush the tops of the pies with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 400.

  • Stovetop popcorn or homemade popcorn balls
  • Homemade sugar donuts (“bob” for them by tying them to a string and hanging from the ceiling and trying to bite them off without using hands.)
  • Hot apple cider (bonus points if you hollow out apples and use them as cups)

Loot Bag Ideas

Books about pioneers or pioneering are always a great choice, but you can also fill your loot bags with other old-timey loot:

  • Old fashioned candies (toffee, scotch mints, real licorice)
  • Yo-yos
  • Marbles
  • Jacks or tiddly winks
  • Wooden stamps

Photos by suretotalkhelloturkeytoejennapretcascadianfarm via Flickr. 

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