Bring Pioneer Day to life by sharing real accounts from pioneers with this Pioneer Day Meet the Pioneers activity! I’ve compiled 4 journal entries from pioneers to share with your children in primary.
As you read these accounts, I hope that your primary children will learn more about the faith and struggles of many early pioneers while reviewing songs about pioneers in singing time this summer.
Pioneer Day Meet the Pioneers
I have always felt a deep appreciation for the early pioneers, especially after visiting several pioneer sites with my family when I was young.
This cool page on the Church’s website has SO many pioneer stories! I’m so grateful that the pioneers felt inspired to write down their experiences so that we can learn from their experiences and feel closer to Christ.
While I was exploring this page, I found journal entries of several pioneers. I compiled some of these stories to share with you and use for this activity!
Before primary, read through some pioneer stories through journal entries, General Conference talks, or from your own family’s accounts.
Print out the pioneer posters later in this post that include journal entries from 4 different pioneers. You may also bring in your own stories and pictures. You may find some additional pioneer photographs on the Church’s website.
If you choose to teach/review a song about pioneers, start by singing through the song. If you are reviewing a mix of songs, choose one to start with.
Explain to the children that you’ll be learning about early pioneers. Invite the children to be reverent as they listen to real-life accounts of pioneers.
Once you have sung through the song, post one of the journal entries on the board and have one of the children come up and read the story to the class.
You might ask some follow-up questions after each story or invite the children to share how they might have felt if they were an early pioneer.
Continue reviewing and sharing stories from pioneers. Invite the children to share any pioneer stories they can recall. Share your testimony about the pioneers and how they were guided by Heavenly Father.
Sample Pioneer Stories:
Here are some examples of journal excerpts from early pioneers included in the printable. If you want to add a little bit to these entries, you could do some research on each of these pioneers to share with your primary kids.
Levi Savage, 1856:
“Brothers and sisters, wait until spring to make this journey. Some of the strong may get through in case of bad weather, but the bones of the weak and old will strew the way. . . .
“What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help you all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, will suffer with you, and, if necessary, I will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.”
*Some great songs to go with this story:
“This was quite a hard pill to swallow—to leave wives and children on the wild prairie, destitute and almost helpless, having nothing to rely on only the kindness of neighbors, and go to fight the battles of a government that had allowed some of its citizens to drive us from our homes, but the word came from the right source and seemed to bring the spirit of conviction of its truth with it and there was quite a number of our company volunteered, myself and brother among them.” – Soldier in the Mormon Battalion
*Some great songs to go along with this story:
Each of the stories can pair really well with certain primary songs. After reading through each journal entry, think about a lesson taught by the story. Think about the primary songs you have learned and see if any of them will fit!
- A few weeks before primary, ask your primary teachers if they would be willing to share about any pioneer heritage. Ask them to come prepared to share a pioneer story for 2-3 minutes. Pictures are always awesome!
- Assign a pioneer to each class. Give them the information sheet along with any pictures. Have them read about their pioneer and share what they learned with the class!
- Read this article from the July 2010 New Era about Pioneer Day. This will help provide a little bit more information about why we celebrate Pioneer Day! Browse the July 2010 New Era for some additional articles about Pioneer Day!
- Dress up like a pioneers for singing time! Dust off those old trek clothes and make your primary room a “pioneer room!”
Check out this post for over 70 Summer Primary Songs, including Pioneer Day songs!
Pioneer Day Meet the Pioneers Printable Lesson Plan
In this printable, you’ll find printed journal entries from 4 different pioneers. Each of these entries can be found here at this Pioneer Stories landing page on the Church’s website.
Each page contains the name of a pioneer, as well as 1-2 paragraph journal excerpts from the pioneer. Print out all 4 of these stories and share them in primary along with any other pioneer stories you’d like to share!
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Do you know any pioneer stories? Share them with your primary kids!