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Pioneer Day is July 24th. Don’t know what Pioneer Day is? It’s a holiday celebrating the day the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 after their long walk across the plains. Although it’s a holiday mostly celebrated in Utah, it’s a great day for anyone to celebrate the pioneers of our American heritage.
HOW TO CELEBRATE PIONEER DAY
Regardless of your faith, celebrate Pioneer Day by doing some family friendly activities that take you back to the basics–you know, like living in the days of Little House on the Prairie.
Here’s some simple and kid-friendly ways to make this day memorable for everyone!
1) READ PIONEER STORIES
Set the tone for Pioneer Day by reading some pioneer stories!
Here’s a few cute Pioneer books:
2) MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTER IN A JAR
What you need to make homemade butter:
- whipping cream
- glass jar
Pour the cream into a glass jar. Secure the lid tightly. And shake, shake, shake! Take turns shaking the cream until a soft butter forms. You can add in some salt if you’d like. Then eat your homemade butter on some warm rolls.
3) MAKE ICE CREAM IN A CAN
Ok, so maybe the pioneers didn’t have ice cream on the trail, but they certainly didn’t have the luxury of going to the freezer to get a refreshing treat.
Have kids make ice cream in a can to appreciate the work that goes into a tasty treat. Plus, ice cream will taste much better when you make it yourself!
Follow these simple homemade ice cream directions to make your own ice cream in a can.
4) WATCH A PIONEER MOVIE
Make some popcorn and have a family movie night with a Pioneer movie. Here are a few of our favorite pioneer movies you’ll love:
Whether you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or not, Legacy is a good, FREE film that depicts the persecutions the pioneers went through until they eventually made it to Salt Lake City.
17 Miracles is another inspiring movie that tells the story of 17 miracles that happened as the pioneers were on the trail. It’s free to watch using your Prime Membership. Get a free Amazon Prime 30-day trial here!
Little House on the Prairie
5) LISTEN TO THIS PIONEER DAY PLAYLIST (FREE ON SPOTIFY!)
6) DECORATE COVERED WAGONS
For a fun craft activity that children can enjoy, decorate covered wagons!
To make edible covered wagons, you’ll need:
- graham crackers
- thick stick pretzels (like Honey Wheat from Dollar Tree)
- chocolate frosting
- large marshmallows
- gummy life savers
- thin stick pretzels
To make covered wagons, use frosting to attach everything to a graham cracker to make a wagon!
Use this photo as a reference, although if kids are decorating, they may not look perfect, and that’s okay!
7) GO ON A “HARD THINGS” HIKE
One of our favorite Pioneer Day traditions is to do a “hard things hike“. The Mormon pioneers did something so hard–trekking across the plains without shoes, warm clothes and much food is not easy! For this reason, we like to take our children on a hike. We call it a hard things hike for a reason.
It’s usually hard and hot, but as we are hiking we talk about the pioneers and how did they did a hard thing, too. We also talk about how most of the children walked the entire way, which helps motivate our children to walk the entire hike too.
This is from our 2017 hike around the top of Snowbird in Salt Lake City.
8) DRESS UP IN PIONEER CLOTHING
Play dress up! Wear a bandana or old-fashioned hat or bonnet to eat one of your meals in.
9) ATTEND THE DAYS OF ’47 EVENTS
If you’re in Utah, check out the Days of ’47 events including a big parade, festivals, rodeos, fireworks, and more!
10) PLAY SOME OLD-FASHIONED GAMES
Put down the Xbox and phone games and get outside for some good old-fashioned fun!
Do a tug-o-war, stick pull, or play red rover or kick the can!
If you feel really ambitious, create this cute ring-toss via