Friday Funtivites: Local History

Well, it is Friday again…for another half hour at least.  We have had the pleasure of hosting out-of-town family, so my posting has been put on the back burner for a few days.  But, I did want to share this week’s Friday Funtivity:  Explore your local history!  And sometimes that means thinking outside the box!

Barrel Warehouse

Kids will love seeing how the barrels are moved into position & stamped.

Were we live in Kentucky, we have an abundance of history in the bourbon industry.  Now, I am not advocating drinking; and our family personally does not partake, but we love to tour local distilleries!  Someone recommended these tours to us or I never would have even known that one could tour a distillery.  The historical facts and even the science behind the products are very

interesting-even to someone who does not drink.  These distilleries are usually located in beautiful countryside with open fields, trees, and even a floating railroad bridge near one.  The kids love seeing the stacks and stacks of barrels (and have no idea what is inside!), the machines & equipment–even the bottling plant is a favorite!   The taste-testing part of the tour is always at the end and is easily avoided–we just leave at that point.  And an added bonus is that these distilleries are free with few exceptions.

Perhaps you do not live in this area (where we can be at 7 or 8 distilleries within an hour and a half drive) or perhaps you do not feel that you could personally go to a distillery with a clear conscience, take away from this post the big picture idea–what do you have in your area that could bring your local history to your children?  Here are a few ideas to consider to get you started planning your own Out of the Box Historical Outing!

  • Do you have a local battlefield that would make a perfect picnic spot?
  • Does your town have a small historical museum that may be free of charge?  (some cities have these in or near the courthouse)
  • Are there any old businesses that may give tours? (or new businesses–it doesn’t always have to be historical)
  • Do you have a historic homes district?  (If these homes do not offer tours or they are too expensive, this is a great place to go on an architecture scavenger hunt!!  How many flying buttresses can you spot???)
  • Do you know of a place that might be fun to tour but they don’t have tours posted?  Give them a call!  Most places are happy to give tours (and sometimes samples–find a candy factory if you can!!) Some places would rather give tours to groups–call 2 or 3 other moms and make an afternoon of it!
  • Does the bus depot or train station offer tours?
  • Search the internet for free activities in your area.  Try

Your town doesn’t have any of these attractions?  Or they do, but they are way too expensive? Here are a few  suggestions for you:

  • Take the kids to the main branch of your local library and ask for microfiche of old newspapers.  Not sure what date to check out?  How about your child’s birthday 100 years ago?  Or the date great grandparents were born or wed?  Point out the prices of things.  Show the kids the headlines and discuss how they are alike or different from today’s papers.  Are there ads for any businesses that are still around?
  • Check out a few books from a specific time–from your area or not.  Let the kids write their own newspaper set in that time period.  Paper can easily be turned aged-brown by putting a tea bag in hot water for a few minutes, pour it into a shallow pan, soak the paper in it (after printing if using the computer), then lay on newspaper and press with paper towel, then hang to dry.
  • For added fun, let the kids dress up in time period clothing and take pictures.  Using the “sepia” setting, print the pictures and add them to their newspaper.  Let them make advertisements for the local haberdasher or the milliner.
  • Kids can also search for pictures and/or facts on the internet.
  • Do you have a “Senior Saint” in your church or neighborhood that would be willing to share stories of the good ol’ days?  With your friend’s permission, let each child write down 3-5 questions to ask.  The kids can take notes or record their interview.
Wild Turkey

Making history fun!




What have you done to make local history come alive for your children?  I’d love you to share in the comments section!!


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