Little House and Other Pioneer Inspired Gift Ideas (Day 7)

Gift Ideas that will Inspire your Pioneer Learning Adventure Dressing up and entering INTO history maximizes learning opportunities!Yes, this is vintage homeschooling and that lanky girl in the magenta shirt is me. One of my favorite field trips as a girl was down to the historic town of Tubac in southern Arizona.  Our group had rented the old school house for the day.  Girls donned dresses and bonnets while boys ironed white dress shirts and added suspenders to complete their costume.  For an entire day, we stepped back in time.  We did old-fashioned school assignments (they aren’t for the faint at heart), packed lunches in cute little pails and even had segregated playground time.  As an avowed tomboy I was pretty disappointed to not get to play ball with the boys, but I quickly rallied the girls for some fun active games of our own.  They were awesome enough that the boys soon stopped to watch from their side of the school yard.  But I digress…

Reading about this era in history is fun. Entering into it with our imaginations took our learning to a whole new level.  Suddenly, we were experiencing it.  And while this particular experience stands out because we went somewhere, you can enter into history right from your own home.   How?  Costumes! Our costumes played a critical role that day.  Some were fancy and others more simple.  But they inspired each of our imaginations and served to transport us to another world, another time.   It never has to be an all-out thing, but adding in a key costume piece here and there works wonders!  Having a simple bonnet will probably do the trick with learning about this period of history.

This post is pretty girl-focused.  For boy ideas look back to my Cowboy or Davey Crockett posts.

Beautiful gifts to inspire learning about the pioneer days!

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Dress the part!  Make one (it’s easy to find a pattern or two) or buy one.  Despite the blah picture, this one received good reviews.  And of course you can always go the Etsy route. Ashley’s Attic, has a whole line of pioneer dresses. This one is my favorite.  I’m also loving this dress that I found over there.  A less expensive option is to make skirts and get a tailored blouse that can go with it!  Skirts are much easier to make and we managed to make several in our day with our limited sewing skills.  The fun part is browsing all of the calico’s at the fabric store and picking out one that fits each persons personality.  Mine were always blue!

Bonnet – every girl needs a bonnet, or two…  Again, you can buy a pattern or I’ve pinned several free bonnet patterns/tutorials on my Costumes to Sew pinterest board.

Boots – If you want to take it a step further, getting these cute pair of boots will complete the outfit.  Plus they would be cute for winter wear right now.

Galvanized Washboard – so she can see what handwashing was like!  I’m not the only one who thinks this would be a super fun idea.  My friend, OhAmanda, threw her daughter a fabulous Little House birthday party and said that washing with a washboard was one of the highlights of the party!

Waldorf Inspired Little House Dolls – Aren’t these simply beautiful?

The perfect Christmas gift for a girl who loves Little House on the Prairie or playing dress-up!

And as I mentioned in my medieval and colonial gift guides, paper dolls are a wonderful and frugal way to encourage pretend play and foster a fascination with various historical periods.  Not only that but playing with paper dolls also promotes fine-motor skill development (which isn’t a toddler/preschooler activity), promotes creativity as they create their own pretend worlds and produces patience as they cut out dresses. fine motor skills, creativity, and patience!

I love these Little House on the Prairie Paper Dolls, both The Big Woods Collection and the Christmas on the Prairie collection.  There is a pop-out scene that is two sided giving a backdrop for your little girls play.

I think the perfect gift combo for a young girl would be this boxed set of the Little House series (because every family should own them) and a bonnet.  A bonnet is one of those key pieces that immediately takes you there even if you don’t have the rest of the outfit!

Oh and if you are wanting pioneer themed paper dolls that aren’t hinged to a particular “story”, then check out these American Pioneer Family Paper Dolls.

 

Lincoln Logs

Another wonderful toy that both inspires the imagination and promotes problem skills through building are Lincoln Logs.  They get to build their own frontier lob cabins.  Throw in this Wild West TOOB set and you have the makings for some great pretend play!  I’m also curious to try out this LINCOLN LOGS Building Manual.  As one who is not engineer minded, I’d appreciate some more directions!

 

Pair it with a book!

Wonderful books that will make the pioneers come to life!

Books always make great gifts, especially when tied in with a theme.  Here are a few of my top recommendations.

Picture Books (no one is ever too old for a good picture book!)
Apples to Oregon – a delightful book about a father who brought fruit trees (and children) across the plains!
My Great-Aunt Arizona – love this fanciful book
Pioneer Days: Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes – a great collection of resources to make the most of your pioneer adventures.
Daily Life in a Covered Wagon – an engaging read that helps you imagine what it would be like to go west in a covered wagon.

Readers

Wagon Wheels, Level 3, Grade 2-4 – My boys love this one, but I thought I’d include it here.  It is great for the new reader and a quick, empowering read even for the older ones.
Prairie School (I Can Read Book 4) – Love this book that inspires kids with the power of learning and discovery.  I love the natural learning atmosphere that is embodied here – much like I try to create in our own home.

Chapter Books

Little House on the Prairie Boxed Set – because every home should have a set so you can read them over and over again.
Little House TV Series – ok, ok, I know this isn’t a book, but once you’ve read the books (read them first!), this series is delightful and clean family entertainment.
The Courage of Sarah Noble – a classic read-aloud book.
Sarah, Plain and Tall – another classic pioneer days book.
Caddie Woodlawn – As a tomboy, I LOVED this book as a girl.  She loves adventure just as much as I did.

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31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

Kings, Queens and Knights, Oh My! Gift Ideas (Day 2)

Inspiration for medieval themed gift ideas for kids! {31 Days of Gift Ideas that Inspire Learning}

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Oh the middle ages… What kid hasn’t fallen under the spell of this mesmerizing period in history. It is alluring for boys and girls alike. Today for my first themed gift guide, I want to share some ideas of some amazing gifts that will capitalize on their interest in or pursuit of learning about this period in history.

First off…  Medieval Costumes for Kids.  Costumes enable your child to transport into that period of history.  Kids don’t NEED costumes.  All they really need is an active imagination, but I’ve found that a few key costume pieces and accessories can pack a powerful punch and make for great gifts!  I usually try to get one or two items that are specific to that time in history and then also find items that can be used for other historical periods as well.  As this series progresses, you’ll notice overlap of some of my favorite items!

Gift Ideas for Your Knight

Gift Ideas for your Young Knight | part of a 31 day series of gifts that inspire learning

I have three boys. Battles, bravery and chivalry captivated their attention long after we first delved into this period of history in our studies. Part of that is because it is just a fascinating period of history and part of it is because I was strategic in gathering some amazing gift ideas for them.

Knight costume – this Melissa & Doug outfit is fabulous.  My nephew has it and loves it.   This knight costume comes in S, M, and L, making it easy to buy for your little or your big guy! Costco also carries some great knight costumes at this time of year.

Knight Armor Set – We have three of these sets and my 10 year old still squeezes into it for battles!  They’ve used it when we learned about the Armor of God, morphing it into a Roman soldiers garb.

Playsilks – we love playsilks.  I’ve waxed eloquent on them before.  We use them for all kinds of things.  With three playsilks, you have a knights costume – front/back and belt! They also make for great capes that boys and girls both love!  If you don’t own any playsilks, I highly recommend you remedy that, pronto!  We love the 100% silk playsilks, but you can also get a beautiful polyester playsilk set for less.

Foam Swords – I’m partial to form swords and yes, I buy them in bulk.  They don’t last forever, but it is impossible for the kids to hurt each other with them.  Occasionally you can find these at the Dollar store or in the dollar bin at Target.

Castle Tent – This pop-up castle tower tent is amazing.  It’s always a hit with both boys and girls.  I love that it is easy to take down and store flat!

The Making of a Knight – A captivating book that follows a young boy through the process to becoming a knight

Kitchen Knight  – This is one of my all-time favorite illustrators.  The story will inspire your boys to chivarly and brave deeds.  If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll want to pour over this book again and again.

Any of these combined together are sure to win a boys heart and capture his imagination. {31 Days of Gift Ideas that Inspire Learning Series}

Robin Hood DVD w/ Errol Flynn – a “must-watch” for boys and girls alike!

Bow & Arrow Set – What is a knight or Robin Hood without his bow and Arrow.  You do have to be careful with these and they tend to break after a while, but my boys will play with the bow even long after the arrows have all snapped.  I did call the company and they sent me out a replacement set of arrow free of charge a few years back.

Robin Hood Hat – Your kids don’t necessarily need a full costume.  Sometimes a simple hat is enough to do the trick.  My boys have used their hat for Robin Hood play, Peter Pan and for dramatizing the life of William Tell!

Stick Horse – This wooden horse is a staple in our house.  We own three of them and they’ve withstood countless hours of rough boy play.  I had my concerns when my mom first gave these to my boys.  I had visions of them turning them into weapons.  In the 4-5 years that we’ve owned them, I’m proud to say no one has been clubbed with these wooden stick horses.  These are a true gem.

Imaginative play is the place where a child’s information acquisition comes to life and is cemented into long-term memory.  Any time we can engage the imagination our children cement into working memory all of the wonderful things they are learning about.  Another toy that accomplishes this in a beautiful way are toy castles.  There are so many options out there and tomorrow I plan to give you a castle comparison of the best castle sets on the market.

 

Gift Ideas for Your Princess

Boys aren’t the only one’s enthralled with this period of history. As the oldest of three girls, we adored studying this period of history. The books available, the idea of princesses and kingdoms, beautiful calligraphy and side-saddle horse riding captured our attention. And the dresses…. Oh the dresses.

As girls, we loved watching Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood and feasted on the many outfits of Maid Marrian as we tried to fashion our own from our dress-up collection. Of course, my boys also love the movie, but for the adventure aspects because they could care less what Maid What’s Her Name is wearing…

It’s time for Dress-Up!

Here are some beautiful dresses to consider:

Gift Ideas for your Little Princess that will promote learning through play!| part of a 31 day series of gifts that inspire learning

1. Guinevere Costume
2.. Renaissance Maiden Costume
3. Renaissance Queen Costume
4. Renaissance Damsel Dress
5. Pretty Maiden Dress
6. Crimson Princess Costume
7. Purple Renaissance Queen Costume
8. Enchanted Princess Costume
9. Panne Velvet Costume

Gift Ideas for girls learning about the Middle Ages! Spark the Imagination! ~ Part of a 31 day series of gifts that inspire learning

Did any of you ever play with paper dolls when you were young?  My sister’s and I spent hours playing with paper dolls and the Dover Historical Paper Dolls were our favorites! A great way to explore the customs and dress of the medieval ages in a fun and painless way would be to get your daughter a set of these Medieval Costumes Paper Dolls.  The details are exquisite and the imaginative play options are endless!

Do you have a child who would love to learn the medival art of caligraphy and illustration?  This combination would inspire her and equip her.

Inspire your girl {or boy} by giving them the inspiration and tools to explore the medieval art of illustration and calligraphy!
Marguerite Makes a Book – This luciously illustrated book gives you a peek into the process of illuminating manuscripts.
Quill Writing Set
Learn Caligraphy: The Complete Book of Lettering and Design

 

Whew.  Tomorrow I’ll give you a tour of some fabulous toy castles as we round out our exploration of gift ideas for the Middle Ages.

Here are a few blog posts from our medieval adventures:

Knights-in-the-Making
Knights-in-Training {free chivalry printable}
10 Adventure Books to Inspire a Boy’s Faith

 

 

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To check out the whole series, click here.31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

Tale of Two Kingdoms

There is a fierce cosmic battle going on between two realms:

The Kingdom of Light vs. The Kingdom of Darkness.

We pulled out our heart lesson again.  Just as Keegan was aghast at discovering that everyone was born with a dirty heart when we did the heart lesson for the first time, they were shocked and saddened to discover that because of Adam, we are born prisoners in the kingdom of darkness.   Rejoicing ensued afresh at how Jesus has rescued us.  And this time, my little Trey man was pondering this truth as his brother had before

We made flags for each kingdom to perch at the top of the two opposing block kingdoms recently constructed during our lesson.

And we continued to explore… boys eyes sparkle with a sense of adventure as they realize that there is a real-live battle going on that they are taking part in.

The beauty of this battle is that no matter how intense it gets, we know who wins.  We dove into Revelation to discover what the final battle will look like.

The boys are stoked.  I’m sobered.

Funny how a combination of age, gender and season of life can elicit such different reactions.

As I stare at my 3 boys {and our adorable tiny toddler}, I’m struck with the importance of training them well, so that they will be equipped to engage in these spiritual battles that rage around us.

With much of our culture fixated on celebrating evil, death and violence and others making light of it, we chose to declare this month, “Spiritual Warfare” month and have been delving into learning about the spiritual armor.

We learned the importance of focus.  It is vital that we keep our eyes and ears open, that we continually seek the great giver of every aspect of our protection…  We learned that we are called to play a role in helping to let others trapped in the dark know about the freedom Jesus offers and the invitation to become citizens of the light.

We made Belts of Truth and learned the importance of immersing ourselves in the truth found in God’s Word. {Aren’t these belts just the cutest?  I was thrilled when I found the idea over at Eagle Nest Mom.}

When exploring the Breastplate of Righteousness, I explained that each day they can protect their hearts when they trust and obey.  His righteousness paved the way for this vitally important protection.

Trust and Obey.  As a ‘why’ girl, I found this a welcome reminder.  Obedience is a protection because being in the will of God is always the best place to be!

Have you really thought much about the spiritual realm?  I must admit that I haven’t spent too much time thinking about it in recent years.  It was not in vogue.  But as I dive into scripture and explore this topic, I’m finding myself alert and intent to GO and GROW.  I find myself eager to prepare my children.  I think of Daniel’s parents and the solid foundation they provided for him that prepared him to survive in a hostile culture and I think “YES! That is my goal!”

I WILL prepare them to stand strong, firm in what they know is true.  Because, what better gift could we give our children than to introduce them to King Jesus and equip them to stand firm so they can point others to Him too.

I want to prepare them to be on the alert and ever eager to be used by God to show others the way to the kingdom of light.  I want them to be well equipped to play whatever role God has for them to play in their life.

And so we carried on.  Everyone in our small group is talking about this topic.  It is so cool to see how God placed the same thing on each of our hearts independently.  A friend and I gathered boys together to give them the opportunity to try and get a hands-on look at this wonderful armor that God gives us.

We explore having our feet shod with the readiness of the gospel of Peace.

We pour over pictures of Roman soldiers and their shields and thank God that He wants us to have big faith because He is a BIG God and that faith thwarts the fiery darts of the wicked one.

As we converted our medieval helmets into Roman {Helmet of Salvation} helmets, we discussed the importance of guarding our minds and how Jesus gives us the power to do that when He saves us!  I was struck by how vital it is to guard our thoughts.  For our thoughts dictate our behavior.

After all of this armor that was focused on defense, the boys were thrilled to finally going on the offensive with the Sword of the Spirit.  We read of the example Jesus set in Matthew 4 when Satan tempted Him…  It is amazing what an effect dramatically reading this passage can have on 6 little boys.  Mesmerizing I tell you.

I pulled out my Child Training Bible and we talked about how this wonderful tool makes it so easy for us to find Scripture to use when resisting temptation!  The boys are excited to continue their Bible memory work and start doing ‘sword drills’ {aka: racing to look up Bible passages!}

This won’t be the last time we visit this topic.  We might just make it a yearly tradition.  Reminders of the truth. Reminders of what’s at stake. Reminders of His provision. Reminders of the end-game.  It is all VITALLY important.

We’ve loved our armor sets that we originally bought at Oriental Trading Company.  They don’t sell a ‘cross’ version now, but you can get one here or this Gladiator set is pretty cool too!

Of Pediatricians and Patriots

Of Pediatricians and Patriots: How a sensory and literature rich approach to education can make a difference.

We are knee deep in the middle of our nations fight for independence and the boys couldn’t be happier.  Last fall I picked up two pirate costumes at our PE groups clothing swap.  The red velvet jackets with gold braid are a favorite item being worn these days despite the temperatures approaching 100.  Our only two patriot ‘coats’ are a blue police jacket and my grandmother’s cardigan that has really cool engraved pewter buttons.  Buttons aside, the boys think it is a pretty boring stand-in.  But it has provided an opportunity for the them to realize the benefits of being a soldier of the king verses a patriot in a poor fledgling nation.

As we read about these men that made so many valiant sacrifices, they have also been drawn to the beautiful rhetoric.  Their ability to memorize, when motivated, never ceases to amaze me.

Recently, I took Treyton in for his 4 year old well-check.  This new pediatrician is especially thorough and started asking me all kinds of questions about his development.  As she started to ask about his knowledge of the 1,2,3’s and A,B,C’s I realized that I had come to the point, where I hadn’t really thought about it.  I nodded, indicating that he knew most of what she was asking about, but than explained a bit of my philosophy.

Skills like this come surprisingly easily in a home where there is a lot of interaction.  As I dole out a snack, he learned pretty quick how important it was to count.  Counting wasn’t merely something he memorized to please someone.  There was a lot riding on his understanding of 1-to-1 correspondence.  He could immediately spot that he only received 10 blueberries while his brothers had each snagged 20.

And don’t get me started on the ABC’s.  I mean really, what academic advantage does a child have if he can sing the ABC song?  Until he is ready to start alphabetizing, not much.  Now phonemic SOUNDS…  That is a whole different story.

As I sat there in my pediatricians office, I started to share with her the value in learning ABOUT things instead of merely memorizing and acquiring skills.  One of my goals in the early years is to nurture that natural curiosity and insatiable desire to explore the world around them.  Stoking the fire of inborn curiosity and protecting that natural love of learning is so crucial at this age.

For some reason our culture seems fixated on skill acquisition as if memorizing numbers from 1 to 20 (or 50 or 100) somehow indicates ‘giftedness’.  So much time is spent on trying to get kids reading or counting that could be utilized in far more effective and enjoyable ways.

I’m not sure how convinced she was, until I mentioned our current study of the Revolutionary War and how fascinated he is by it all.  He may or may not be able to recite his ABC’s in the correct order {I’ve never communicated that learning that was important}, but this kid of mine is soaking up so much.

I relayed how I was dialoging with my bigger boys, asking them which famous statesman from Virginia spoke these famous words,

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take,
but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” 

Treyton was trotting by {in costume, of course} and before the boys had a chance to respond, he glibly responded, “Patrick Henwy”.

The pediatrician just sat staring.

Then I told her that he was currently really into the life of Paul Revere and the events surrounding the battle of Lexington/Concord.  At this point, Treyton piped up and told her about Captain John Parker and his courageous words to the militia on the Lexington Green that day.

Rest assured, while she might think us a bit odd {and I’m totally ok with that}, I don’t think she is worried about his academic development.

Skills will come.  In fact, he’s acquiring them without even realizing it.  More important is that his love of learning -that God has placed in each young child, is alive and well.

After re-enacting the battle at Lexington and the ‘shot heard round the world,’ Treyton wanted me to record the battle for his cousins and grandparents. He is incredibly proud of his make-shift bayonet (a bamboo skewer) and the boys are loving their ‘gun smoke’ that they’ve created by filling their popguns with dirt. After reviewing this clip however, I’ve realized that we need to work on explaining the reality of guns that fire only one shot before needing to be carefully reloaded…

Want to get a few key costume pieces or book ideas for your study of the American Revolution?  Check out my gift guide.

Gifts that Spark a Love of Learning about the Revolutionary War

Open-Ended Costumes

[Open-Ended Play Series, Part 7]

(Rich getting baptized by fire into our ‘style’ of homeschooling at my baby sister’s Egyptian Feast.)

Our family LOVES to play dress-up. still… Growing up, we had a toybox chock full of wonderful dress-up clothes. Most of the items were thrift store finds which made them perfect for open-ended play. Mom also had a knack for putting together simple (VERY SIMPLE costumes)… With a few basic pieces, we could pretend we were just about anything.

One multi-use item that comes to mind was a red taffeta skirt. We used it as a saloon girl costume (back in our naive young years when we had no idea what a saloon girl really was), as a southern bell (by adding a tutu underneath to make the skirt flair out) and as a cape.

In college, my sister and I even used it to outfit my hubby, then beau, as a Spanish torero for a costume party we were attending. :sigh: I love him…

Here’s a short list of great additions to any child’s costume collection:

• longer skirts, preferably with elastic waist or wrap style so it can grow with your kids.
• vests (these can be used for both boy and girl costumes and if it is generic enough, can also span many different genre’s of make-believe play)
• hats: any themed hats make great additions. bowler caps, 3 cornered hat (colonial or pirate/sailor applications), vintage women’s hats, etc.
• Capes: a simple black cape can turn a little one into a super hero, knight, king, opera cape, etc.
• longer women’s coats. We had a blue and red long coat. They doubled as women’s coats over fancy dresses or when studying colonial America as the patriots and the British)
• Gold metal chain link belt (as a medieval belt for either a fair maiden or knight)
• sports jacket (I just found one that is several sizes too large for my oldest son and know that with three boys it will get a lot of use).
• a pair of suspenders.  This has so many applications and after reading some books about the War for Independence a few weeks ago, my boys are obsessed with this item from the dress-up drawer now!

By encouraging creativity in multi-uses for costumes, we can help our kids to think creatively and come up with their own unique combinations. The sky really is the limit on this and the possibilities endless! I’d love to hear about any favorite costumes you all had as kids or that your kids use.

A current fave in my house are daddy’s old tie’s and some kids suit coats that we found at Goodwill.  Of course, Keegan also is enjoying using a pair of tuxedo pants and pretending they are ‘golfer slacks’ while he goes outside and braves the 100+ degrees to hone his skills! 😉  The ties also quickly come off and are used as reins for their stick horses…

And because I’m feeling all nostalgic at this point, I thought I would share one more picture from way, way back when we prepared some more elaborate costumes for a History Fair.  Until next time…

Mayflower Living for Wee Folks

Despite our rocky start, our Mayflower day was still fun.  My goal was to give the kids a small, prek/k friendly, taste of life aboard a boat…

Families tacked up blankets to give themselves a little privacy aboard the Mayflower.  Although we couldn’t mimic the crowded conditions aboard, we did decide to set up some “living quarters”.

Our quarters were a bit fragile (playing football in and around quarters, as well as a 20 month old on the loose has a way of doing that).

Mayflower Living for Kids: Learning about the Mayflower voyage by acting out the journey!

After some finagling we were set for our day.  To get in the mood, the boys decided to dress the part!

Nothing helps you learn about the trip the Pilgrims took on the Mayflower like dressing the part and sleeping in small quarters. {Thanksgiving Book list Included}
As I mentioned before, I ended up putting together our meal all by myself.  Did little pilgrim boys not cook?  They seemed to think so…

Due to ‘severe’ (imaginary) storms, we had dinner in our living quarters below deck.

We dined on stale biscuits, dried meat and cheese.  In a departure from historical accuracy, we didn’t go for worm-infested food… No one really complained, except daddy.  But I don’t think any of us would be thrilled with a diet of this and very little else.

Later that night we bedded down for the night in our tight quarters.  They had a blast and think living on the Mayflower would be lots of fun.  Mommy, on the other hand, is so thankful for modern day comforts like a dry home, soft mattress and SPACE!  One night of my feet sticking out of our living quarters and little limbs smacking me was enough.

Maybe in the future, they will grasp how hard life was on the Mayflower and how incredibly easy we have it nowadays…  For now they enjoyed stepping into another life for a while.

Part 2 of our Pilgrim learning adventure found here.
Measuring – A lesson in comparison – Noah’s Ark vs. the Mayflower.

Lessons in Thanksgiving: Links to helpful “hands-on” learning ideas.

12 Captivating "Living" Books that draw you into the historical background for the first Thanksgiving.

Favorite Thanksgiving/Pilgrim/Mayflower Books of ours:
The Story of Thanksgiving ~ This charming board book is the perfect introduction to Thanksgiving for the 1-4 year old.  We loved reading it last year, but were unable to get it from the library in time, this year…
Pilgrim Cat ~ This is one of their favorite pilgrim books.  It follows a pilgrim girl and her cat during their Mayflower trip as well as first year in Plymouth.  Keegan had me read this to him 5 or 6 times the first day we had it.  It introduces several key Thanksgiving story themes in a very relatable way.  The boys were running around taking turns being Samoset and Squanto.
On the Mayflower: Voyage of the Ship’s Apprentice and a Passenger Girl ~ This charming book includes photographs from a reinactment aboard the Mayflower II.  The boys found the photographs mesmerizing and loved the perspective being from the young boy and girl.
You Wouldn’t Want To Sail On The Mayflower!: A Trip That Took Entirely Too Long ~ Interesting tidbits about the trials of life aboard the Mayflower.  For kids a bit older, but easily adaptable down to this age.
. . . If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 ~ Another great book that gives you an overview of life on the Mayflower.
Off to Plymoth Rock! ~ This lyrical, rhyming book is the first book Xander ever received.  When my mom gave it to me at the Thanksgiving of 2003, none of us knew that Xander was growing inside of me!  The hopeful grandma had signed it – ‘from Mom/MIL/sometime Oma.’  Subtle mom, real subtle. 😉
Squanto And The Miracle Of Thanksgiving ~ A beautiful telling of Squanto’s story and how God brought him to the aid of the Pilgrims.
Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy ~ The photographs in this book are captivating for my boys.  The text is a bit advanced for a 3 and 5 year old, although there are times that Xander enjoys it.  We will definitely get this and the girl companion book as the kids get older.
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl ~ We love this peek at the life of a pilgrim girl.  The photographs are amazing and really help transport you back in time.
Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times ~ This is the third in this photographic series and gives a lot of factual information about the Wampanoag.  
Saying Grace: A Prayer of Thanksgiving ~ Ok, this one is fiction, but it is a beautiful and inspiration look at praying a prayer of Thanksgiving.  I’m so glad we’ve added this to our collection!
Stories of the Pilgrims ~ We discovered this a few years ago.  It is an engaging read-aloud that follows the pilgrims from their days in England under persecution, to their journey over to the New World in search of freedom to worship God as they wished.  As we read this, it opened up dialogue about how deep their faith was and what they were willing to sacrifice in order to worship God.

Five

My X-man is now 5. A big whopping 5 years old. Where, oh where did the time go?

This meticulous, imaginative boy is such a delight. He continues to amaze me with what he is picking up and learning. He is very proud of being in kindergarten!

He is tender – loving his brothers and caring for me.

He loves Jesus. It has been such a joy to watch this child of mine, also become a child of God this last year. His soft heart, desire to seek God and pray for others warms my heart. When I am down, he is always quick to ask if he can pray for me. I admire his faith and reminded afresh that faith like that is what Jesus wants us to have – pure, simple, whole-hearted. Oh the things my kids teach me!

He had a wonderful birthday and is enjoying playing with all of his new treasures. Oma and Opa have encouraged his love of outer-space. His new spacesuit has inspired a whole new round of imaginative play. I love his newest version of a space helmet…

Costumes are “IN” right now. VERY in. Every day, all day.

Take-Off

I love watching their little imaginations soar.

Today we had some impromptu flying fun! The boys were struggling with sharing the ‘baby’ that I had out for a pouch sling demo. So I helped them out by letting them take turns piloting the plane so they could take the baby to the beach. (Notice the excellent care ‘baby’ is receiving from his ‘daddy’ on the plane.)
Trey enjoyed his role as co-pilot…
…until I pulled the camera out.

pshhhhhhhhhhhhhh pshhhhhhhhhhh
“This is Pilot Xander, requesting permission for take-off. Over.”
pshhhhhhhhhh pshhhhhhhhhhh

Up, up, up and away!

Banking to the right before flying off into the sunset…
Flying planes is serious work.

:sigh: