Laura Ingalls Litte House - Corn Cob Dolls
Sara in Mt. Morris, Illinois USA
Laura Ingalls Wilder - Little House on the Prairie Party For those of you who have read the little house books, some of these ideas will make sense to you. Others may have only seen the TV show.
We used our scanner and scanned a book cover for Little House on the Prairie and then we inserted the words, "Little House on ___________ Street" (use your own street name) and then I made up a cute little verse and added clip art of a fiddle, a covered wagon, rag doll, bonnet, etc. inside.
Ours was a family party and so there were not games, however, you could easily incorporate games like drop the handkerchief (which is very much like duck, duck goose, where the kids stand in a circle and one walks around the outside with a handkerchief and drops it behind someone, they in turn have to pick up the handkerchief run after that person and try to catch them, or they're it.) You could use a dowel rod and a hula hoop and simulate the hoop and stick game that kids used to do in the 1800's. Where they try to keep the hoop rolling by using the stick to move it with.
There are games like cats cradle (with the string), blind man's bluff ( where one child is blindfolded and has to try to "find" the others just by the sounds from their voices. The first one caught is the next blind man), jump rope games, potato sack races, water melon seed spitting, musical chairs, walking on stilts, square dancing. There are lots of possibilities.
We made corn cob dolls by taking a small square of homespun material and wrapping it around a corn cob (this is a fieldcorn cob, not a cob from corn on the cob sweetcorn)like a babies blanket and tying it on with a string or piece of yarn. We also made button strings. This is where you insert some string through the holes in a button and then "wind up" the button by twirling it around and around and then soon you are pulling in and out on the strings and it whistles. Be careful not to let the kids get this caught in their hair! My daughters dressed up in their prairie dresses and wore bonnets.
We served the food in baskets lined with plaid linens and used a red checked table cloth on the table. We also used crocks for the dips and baked beans and used many old "antique props" for decoration. I have an antique wagon and we decorated it to look like a covered wagon by using an old sheet and some wires, we hung antiques from it, like an old frying pan, tin cups, etc. and this was used to put the gifts in. I have a tape of religious fiddle music and we had that playing in the background for effect.
I put stick candy, beef jerky, a shiny penny, an inexpensive slate with chalk (I couldn't find actual slate pencils) a tin cup, and an autograph book & pencil in each goodie bag, for which I used a brown paper sack tied with jute. Also, on the computer I made with business card stock, name cards with a flower on or just plain ones for the boys to resemble Laura's and Almanzo's. I think I gave each child 10 cards with their own name on. I made the cake myself and found a cheap set of plastic cowboys and indians that had a covered wagon in it at the dollar store. I used the covered wagon from this set to put on top of the cake.
Also at the dollar store, I found a figurine of a girl in what looked like a prairie style dress. This represented the china shepherdess. That was on the cake as well. Basically, the cake was simple, used green to simulate the prairie, blue sky with clouds and little flowers in the grass. A good place to find items that would appear to be from the 1800's would be Cracker Barrel. They sell candies that would have been in the general stores of that time and many toys and things appropriate for that era.
At my family parties, we always have a theme and several of the guests try to dress accordingly. We had several in bonnets and some in bib overalls. We did not do this, but it would have been fun to have an old crank ice cream maker and to have made home-made ice cream. Basically, anything old timey fits in well with this theme.