Pioneer Girls Summer Camp in Northeast Seattle
This summer, re-live the life of a pioneering girl!
- Hand-sew your own small patchwork quilt or cushion
- Cook authentic pioneer recipes
- Dress up in pioneer clothes and bonnets
- Do pioneer chores such as laundry, churning and baking
- Eat unusual pioneer foods such as hard tack, birds nest pudding, vinegar pie and corn mush
- Do pioneer-era crafts
What Girls Do at Camp
Inspired by the wonderful Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, we explore the world of the nineteenth century pioneer child. Taking Ma Ingall’s list of daily chores as our guideline, we wash on Monday, iron on Tuesday, mend on Wednesday, churn on Thursday, and clean on Friday.
As we wash out our whites by hand with a wash board and tub, I tell the children all about the lye that was used as washing soap, the sun-bleaching of whites on bushes and grass, the fact that outer woolen clothes were usually only sponged and not washed, and the resulting rather smelly nature of pioneer life.
I show them how to use a flat iron to iron the clean clothes, how you can sprinkle water on the dry clothes or iron through a damp cloth, and how clothes used to literally freeze-dry in cold prairie winters, coming in from the washing line stiff as boards.
Twice a day the children eat authentic pioneer foods for their morning and afternoon snacks, most of them taken directly from the pages of the Little House books and Farmer Boy. As we tuck into our apple turnovers or succotash, I talk about popular flavorings in pioneer times, the problems of open-fire cookery and the challenge of baking without precise temperature measurements.
Each day we sew on our quilt projects. Some children love these so much they go home at the end of the week with an armload of cushions, doll’s quilts and pin-cushions. Others prefer the outdoor life! The children have ample time to play in our big and beautiful back yard, where we have a garden, swings, a slide, a teeter-totter, and a tire swing.
The summer camp is at my home in northeast Seattle, in the Maple Leaf neighborhood, on a quiet dead-end road.