Children's Activities - Program Outline

Brothers on the Stairs

Title: Children of the Fort

Type of Program: Education Program

Venue: Outdoors (location depends on activity)

Audience: Elementary Students

Tangible Resources: Period Toys, Hoop and Stick, Graces, Yoke and Buckets, Butter Churn, Straw Ticks, Slate and Slate Pencil

Intangible Concepts

  • Education - Education was considered important especially in the early years. Children were taught the basics.
  • Work - Children were given chores from an early age. For many frontier families, children had to contribute in order to make ends meet.
  • Play - In an age with no video games or computers, most play was done outdoors, which generally resulted in healthier kids, but also led to more injury. With limited finances, most toys were made out of common household items.
  • Danger - Each environment has its own dangers. The nature of frontier life exposed kids to disease, accidents, and the elements.

Universal Concept:

  • Growth, Life - Children brought life to the fort. Parents at the fort did their best to provide their children with the things they needed to grow up to be responsible individuals and productive members of society, despite the challenges of their unique environment.


  • The lives of frontier army children were shaped by the unique experiences of their environment.


  • Detail the experiences of frontier army children comparing them to the experiences of a child today.
  • Demonstrate a task or amusement of fort children, allowing the group to participate in the activity.

Objectives: After participating in this program, the students will be able to:

  • Explain the differences between the activities of officer's children and enlisted men's children.
  • Describe at least two tasks performed by each of the above.
  • Describe two amusements enjoyed by each of the above.
  • Perform one task or amusement of fort children.

Suggested Activities:

  • Demonstrate how butter was churned.
  • Allow children to carry buckets of water using a yoke.
  • Have children stuff a mattress with prairie hay and allow them to lay on it.
  • Have the children do an easy math problem or write their name using a slate and slate pencil.
  • Have the children read aloud from a period book or reader.
  • Have toys for the children to use.
  • Play one of the period games such as Annie Over with the children

Resource Management/Safety Issues:

  • Running and horseplay may cause injury particularly if kids are handling the hoop and stick and the graces at the same time.
  • If the kids stuff mattresses as part of the station, be aware that some may be allergic to hay.

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Last updated: May 7, 2020

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PO Box 918
Fort Scott, KS 66701


620 223-0310

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