Pioneer Days

Books to Share

  • Going West by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Hooray for the Golly Sisters by Betsy Byars.
  • I'm Going to Texas / Yo voy a Tejas by Mary Dodson Wade.
  • The Quilt by Ann Jonas.
  • She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain by Kathleen Bullock.

Books to Display and Booktalk

  • Golly Sisters Go West by Betsy Byars.
  • If You Say So, Claude by Joan Lowery Nixon.
  • Josephina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr.
  • The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston.
  • Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner.

Bulletin Boards

Pioneer Reads Across Texas

Place a large map of Texas on your bulletin board and make a wagon train of die-cut covered wagons with book titles, authors, and call numbers of books about pioneers and early Texas settlers.


Borrow items such as a butter churn, quilt and/or prairie dress from local museum, historical group, or antique shop. Tell the children about the time period in which they were used and their purpose.

Nametag and Stamp

As the children enter the storytime room, give them a nametag made from a die-cut covered wagon and stamp their with the Kidstamps' "Patchwork Quilt" by Jerry Pinkney.


Five Little Pioneers

(By Leila Raven Parrish. Repeat the verse changing five to four, three, two and one, and speak softer each time.)

Five little pioneers (Hold up 5 fingers)

Shouting, " Westward, Ho!" (Cup hands around mouth)

When they get to Texas They bow just so. (Bow)

They look to the left, (Look left with hand above eyes)

They look to the right, (Look right with hand above eyes)

One closes his eyes and says, "Goodnight." (Close eyes and place palms together under one side of face)


Come, Butter, Come


Come, butter, come,

Come, butter, come.

Samantha's standing by the gate

Waiting for her butter cake.

Come, butter, come.


This is the Way We Churn the Cream

(Sing this song from Ring A Ring O'Roses to the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush.")

This is the way we churn the cream, (Suit actions to words)

Churn the cream, churn the cream.

This is the way we churn the cream

To make the yellow butter.


Fabric Quilts


  • 8" x12" felt squares
  • 1x1 fabric squares
  • Elmers or white glue


Precut fabric squares. (They look best if cut with pinking sheers.) Children create a quilt by gluing the small fabric squares to the larger felt square.

Wheels Across Texas


  • Paint
  • Empty plastic thread spools
  • Shape of Texas cut from brown grocery bags


Precut Texas shapes from brown paper bags. Children dip the spools into the paint and stamp a trail across the shape of Texas.

Paper Bag Pony Express Mail Bag

(Adapted from Little Hands Big Fun Craft Book by Judy Press)


  • Large paper grocery bag
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Markers
  • Die-cuts and glue
  • Paint
  • Plastic thread spools


Cut 6-inch wide strips from top of paper bags. Fold in the bag's edge to create a mailbag. The children decorate the bag by coloring with markers, spool painting, or gluing on die-cut forms. An adult then folds a 6-inch wide strip to create a strong 2-inch wide handle and staples the handle to the decorated mailbag.

Games and Activities

Make Butter

Put 1 cup of whipping cream at room temperature into a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Add a few well-washed marbles to the jar and replace the lid. Shake the jar without stopping until butter forms. Pour off buttermilk and rinse the butter with water. Give the children a sample on a cracker. While children and adults take turns shaking the jar recite the rhyme "Come, butter, butter" and/or sing, "This is the way we churn the Cream." Hint: Make a batch in advance in case the process doesn't work and to ensure there is enough for all to have a sample.

The Old Brass Wagon

(Sing this to the traditional tune. Children hold hands in a circle and do what the words say. Add verses such as "Jump up and down" and "Wiggle your hand.")

Circle to the left The old brass wagon,

Circle to the left The old brass wagon,

Circle to the left The old brass wagon,

You're the one my darling.

Guest Speakers

Invite someone from a local historical club such as a spinner who can bring a spinning wheel to demonstrate.

Audio Recordings

"Skip to My Lou" on Choo Choo Bugaloo by Buckwheat Zydeco.

Web Site

The Definitive Laura Ingalls Wilder Pages

Professional Resources

The Kitchen by Bobbie Kalman.


Texas Reading Club 2002 Programming Manual / Read Across Texas!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011