• Primary
Time Traveling 2nd Graders Take a Step Into Colonial Past!
by Charley Weiss and Katie deChabert, 2nd Grade Teachers

What better way to learn the history of Colonial America, than to actually experience what life was like back then? Our two recent field trips allowed the 2nd Grade students to dive right into history and to experience life in Colonial Times. We didn't really have a time machine, but we had a big yellow school bus and the TCS van to take us to two special venues.

Deacon John Grave House:
First we visited the Deacon John Grave House, a historic house built in 1681 that has been restored to look just as it did back in Colonial Times. Our three docents were wonderful; they showed the 2nd Graders colonial tools, gave us a tour of the house, and explained how colonial houses were built. The students also had a chance to play colonial games.

Upon our return to school, we reflected on our trip:

We played with Colonial Toys

  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Stick and Hoop
  • Graces 
  • Corn Husk Doll 
  • Ball and Cup 

Keeping Room

  • fireplace would get up to 900 degrees
  • butter churn 
  • foot warmer 
  • yoke 
  • toaster 
  • meat roaster oven
  • skillets with long handles 

Weaving Room

  • Spinning Wheels 
  • Flax 

Bedroom Chamber

  • It had a secret staircase to the attic.
  • It had a secret room, too. 
  • It had the bed wrench to tighten the ropes that held up the straw mattress.
    • “Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”
  • Bed warmer  
  • Small Fireplace 



Our next trip was to Bushnell Farm.

Bushnell Farm
At Bushnell Farm the students visited the John Bushnell Home, a 17th century house with a blacksmith's forge, a loom, and a historical home. Here they re-enacted a story read in class called "The Ox-Cart Man," a story about a man and his family who spend the year growing vegetables, knitting mittens, weaving linens, making birch brooms, and saving goose feathers, so that the Ox-Cart Man can go to market and sell and trade his goods. 

At Bushnell Farm, the students each received an item such as turnips, knitted mittens, shingles, onions, maple syrup, and wool to trade at market. They brought them to market (a real life replica of a market in Colonial America) where they traded their goods for peppermint candy.

The students also visited the mill, where they ground corn, and the barn where the family kept old buggies and farm equipment. We had an amazing day!


Our colonial study continued with special visitor Mr. Pete Cornell. Mr. Cornell is Will's father, but he is also an architect, and he spoke to us about how the colonists had built their homes and how we could build our own homes when we go into the woods and start building our village with our colonial families.

We also learned:

  • The importance of shapes in building (triangles are the strongest and were easiest for the colonists to build when they first arrived).
  • The colonists architecture evolved as they lived here.  It become similar to the homes that they were used to in England and is very similar to our current Colonial style homes.
  • Where the colonists built was very important.  They were looking for flat land that was close to a water source.

The 2nd Graders will continue to study Colonial Times in November. We will soon venture into the woods to start our Colonial settlement, where we will build houses from natural materials!