Today starts a series that will explain why I made a Coonskin Cap.
Alright this doesn’t have much to do with frugality. Unless I could classify it as frugal fun. It WAS very fun and didn’t have to cost me anything but I did make some frugal purchases to add to the experiance.
Let me back up a bit. I’ve mentioned before that I volunteer to help with an after schoool nature club “The Eco Cubs” at my neighborhood elemantry school.
The teacher who supervises the club is a fourth grade teacher. She asked for my help on their Oregon Trail BIG DAY.
Fourth graders last history unit of the year is about the Oregon Trail. Throughout the unit the students prepare for a reenactment of the westward migration. This “Oregon Trail Big Day” takes place in a park adjacent to the school. I was glad to participate.
If it’s been a few years since you were in the fourth grade you may need a refresher course: The 2,200-mile east-west trail served as a critical transportation route for emigrants traveling from Missouri to Oregon and other points west during the mid-1800s. Rather than a single trail, “The Oregon Trail” was a series of trails following the same general route west. Travelers were inspired by dreams of gold and rich farmlands, but they were also motivated by difficult economic times in the east and diseases like yellow fever and malaria that were decimating the Midwest around 1837.
Throughout their unit of study the children prepare for this Big Day by each purchasing supplies for their paper doll family and wagon.
They learn that the recommended supply list included such things as; flour, bacon (what we now call salt pork), coffee, tea, sugar, lard, rice, beans, & dried fruit.
In addition to food they needed weapons for hunting and protection, carpentry tools so they could construct their new home, garden implements and seeds for their future garden and livestock.
Briefly the rules of the game are:
Each wagon trail (about 10 students) is lead through the park by a “Trail Guide” (Teacher) and trail guide assistants (parent or other volunteer) following a map.
The map indicates landmarks and Forts the pioneers visit on their travels west.
At each stop they are quizzed about that site. Right answers earn them rewards in the form of additional supplies. Wrong answers mean they give up supplies.
Additionally there are parent “Rovers” along the trail who act as fur traders, mountain men, native Americans, lost travelers etc. The rovers provide additional scenarios the pioneers might encounter. For instance the travelers may be attached by outlaws resulting in injury to one of the travelers. One of the paper dolls must then go into an “injured pouch” carried by one of the trail guide assistance.
Later the pioneers might meet a mountain man who has medicine, they trade for the elixir and the injured person is removed from the pouch. Highway men may steal food from the train or they may successfully kill a buffalo and have food to feast on.
The object of the game is to reach Oregon City before winter with enough supplies to establish a new home.