The Oregon Trail for Kids

We are continuing in our homeschool history for kids  unit on westward expansion for kids. Today we are exploring the Oregon Trail for kids. We made a salt dough map, a covered wagon, crackers, and tried line dancing as fun hands on history projects. You will also find great westward expansion books and free printables for homeschoolers.
Westward Expansion for kids

The Oregon Trail for Kids

Free Westward Expansion Notebooking Pages about the Oregon TrailHere is Goofy drawing a pictures from Draw Write Now that goes along with our study this week. We alternate between letting him free write, dictating, and writing the same copy work as is provided in the book.  (You can get the {free} Westward Expansion Unit Printables here)

Dangers of Traveling West on the Oregon Trail

We discussed the dangers of heading West  – bandits, snakeroot poisonous for cows (which if not caught people would drink in their milk), exhaustion, and the length of the trip – it took several months. Families had to save up about $1000 to go, so it wasn’t cheap! They traveled in caravans for safety & protection! We also talked about the 1862 homestead act that gave every single or married couple 160 acres. Sounds like a lot of land, but it wasn’t the fertile land they had before and it took more land to feed their herd.

Oregon Trail Salt Dough Map

Salt Dough Map showing the Oregon Trail for homeschool social studies
We painted our Salt Dough Map according to elevation. We added 4 major rivers and the Oregon Trail Route (in black). It was such a fun, memorable project. Making the map has certainly helped Goofy to remember a lot of Geography facts!!

DIY Covered Wagon (part of our hands on homeschool history unit)

DIY Covered Wagon project for kids - homeschool history westward expansion unit
We made our own covered wagon.  We used cardboard for the base & wheels, a skewer to hold the wheels on, paper for the covering, and our Wild West Toob characters to go with our wagon. I love doing projects like this that really make history come alive for my 1st grader! 

Make your own Crackers (like they did on the Oregon Trail)

How to make crackers project for kids - homeschool history westward expansion unit
We also made ‘supplies’ for traveling out west – crackers. They are simple to make. Just mix 1 cup flour, 1 teas baking powder, and pinch of flour. Blend in 1 TAB butter. Add 1/4 cup milk and mix until ball forms. On floured surface roll out your crackers, cut, prick with fork, and place on greased cookie sheet. I wish we’d gotten ours thinner…. so keep rolling!  Bake at 450 for 9 minutes. Enjoy!

Practicing Counting by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, and 10s

How to make crackers project for kids - homeschool history westward expansion unit
We practiced counting wagons in the caravan by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. (This is part of the {free} Oregon trail Skip Counting File Folder Game)

Square Dancing for Kids

Square Dancing as part of hands on westward expansion homeschool history unit
The kids and I learned a little square dancing and had fun dancing together!

Wonderful Oregon Trail Books to Read

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! Beth is also the creator of www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com where she shares Kindergarten spedicif worksheets,& educational ideas.

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