Let’s Have a Pioneer Party

by Marilyn Nash Hull

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    Tear grocery sacks into four-inch squares, leaving the edges ragged. Write your message on one side with dark ink. It could say:

    We’re getting together for pioneer-style fun.

    Wear levis or a long dress.

    Food and games of the early west

    See you at the cabin of (name) ,

    (address) , on (date and time)


    Both boys and girls can have fun testing their pioneer skills. Here are some suggestions:

    Log Sawing

    Time participants to see who can saw through a log the fastest. (Have Dad set up a “saw horse.” Use soft wood logs that are not too big around.)

    Nail Pounding

    See who can pound a nail the fastest or with the fewest blows of the hammer. Use a thick piece of soft wood and nails about three inches long.

    Potato Peeling

    Who can carefully peel a potato with a potato peeler in the shortest time? A contestant is disqualified if the judge says the peelings are too thick. Two or more could compete at the same time.

    Button Sewing

    Have scraps of cloth, needles, measured ready-cut thread, and four-holed shirt buttons ready for use. On the “go” signal, the needles are threaded and knotted and a button is sewed onto the cloth. Each hole must be crossed four times and the thread knotted twice at the end. The winner is the one who finishes first and is the neatest.

    Songs with accompaniment by a guitar or other musical instrument, or square dancing could also be fun. A storytelling contest might be held with original or retold stories.


    Make neckerchiefs of inexpensive red print fabric cut into triangles for the boys. Waist aprons can be made of unbleached muslin for the girls (see illustrations). Kerosene lamps, logs, hay bales, old rocking chairs, or other objects from pioneer times would help to make a pioneer setting. If the weather is nice, have the party outside and let nature be your best decoration.

    Party Manner for the Month

    Pioneer boys and girls worked and played hard, but they were kind to each other. You should be kind too!

    Illustrated by Noriko Meek