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Lesson Plan: It's A Colonial Arts, Crafts, and Food Fair!

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Laurie Patsalides • updated: 1/6/2012

Here's a fun afternoon full of colonial lesson plans for all elementary grades. It's a colonial arts, crafts and food fair! Your students will enjoy listening to colonial music and traveling from one activity booth to the next, making things that colonial kids made hundreds of years ago.

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    Setting Up The Booths

    A Colonial classroom Arts/Crafts, and Food Fair can be as easy or as involved as you care for it to be. You might assign an afternoon in the classroom to be "fair time". Set up several stations for the kids' participation. I have included four arts, food, and crafts stations. Recruit parents to help run the stations. A little Bach or Mozart music playing in the background makes the afternoon extra nice. The children might even enjoy dressing up in colonial styles for the party!

    Booth One:

    Calligraphy Letters

    Using calligraphy pens and parchment paper and envelopes, allow the children to practice their calligraphy. Instruct the students in simple calligraphy. There are many simple instruction guides available. Let them choose someone special to write a letter to, and encourage them to use their best "colonial writing".

    Explain how colonial children would have written with a quill pen. You might even print out a sample of an old colonial writing. Sprinkling a small amount of potpourri inside the letter is a nice colonial touch. Students can address the letter and it could actually be mailed from school to the lucky participant. Here's an online calligraphy lesson to try.

    Booth Two:

    Pomanders

    You will need:

    • oranges, apples, and lemons (enough for each child to have one)
    • whole cloves
    • nails

    Colonial people used pomanders to make their homes smell nice. They give off a spicy, citrus scent that masks unpleasant household odors. They are still made today, especially around Christmas. Each child will choose one piece of fruit. They will poke a small hole in the skin of the fruit, and push a whole clove into the fruit. Students will insert cloves into their fruit in a creative way, making a design.

    Booth Three:

    Bilboquets (These are colonial toys)

    You will need:

    • large construction paper circles
    • long pieces of yarn
    • tape
    • large wooden beads

    Form the construction paper circle into a cone shape and tape to secure it. (or staple) Thread one end of the yarn through the bottom of the cone. (snip a tiny hole if needed) Tie a knot in the end of the yarn that is inside the cone. String the wooden bead onto the other end of the yarn. Tie a knot to keep the bead secure. Play this game by tossing the bead and trying to catch it in the cone.

    Booth Four:

    Ginger and Shrewsbury Cakes and Liberty Tea

    You will need:

    • loose leaf herbal teas
    • 4 or 5 tea balls
    • teapot filled with hot water (adult use only)
    • honey

    In this booth, make Liberty tea and explore some of the treats colonial children enjoyed.

    Pour loose leaf herbal tea into a large bowl. Have students fill a tea ball with tea and place the ball into their tea cup. An adult will pour hot, not boiling water into each cup. Sweeten with honey. Rinse each tea ball between servings.

    Shrewsbury cakes are very similar to sugar cookies. In colonial times, cookies were called "cakes". Bring bags of ready-made gingersnaps and sugar cookies to accompany the Liberty tea. (Look for organic, cane juice sweetened cookies if sugar is a problem. )

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    Resources

    1. Colonial Williamsburg Website

    2. The American Girls Party Book: Pleasant Company Publications, 1998.

    3. Online Calligraphy Lesson


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