Classroom Activities: 

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Children of Yesteryear 

Lesson Overview

Overview: We will be focusing on children of yesteryear. We will be experiencing as well as, discussing what it was like for children out on the playground at school during the late 1800s.
Grade Range: PreK-2

After completing this activity, students will be able to:

  • Compare the lifestyles of children from the late 1800s to children today.
  • Study photographs to learn about a different time and place.
  • Use their senses through active exploration.
Time Required: One class period of approximately 55 minutes.
Discipline/Subject: Gross Motor and Circle Time
Topic/Subject: Culture, Folklife
Era: Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900



English/Language Arts:  
  1.C.ECb Respond to simple questions about reading material.
1.C.ECc Demonstrate understanding of literal meaning of stories by making comments. 
3.B.EC Dictate stories and experiences.
4.A.EC Listen with understanding and respond to directions and conversations.
4.B.EC Communicate needs, ideas and thoughts.
5.A.EC Seek answers to questions through active exploration.
5.B.EC Relate prior knowledge to new information.
5.C.EC Communicate information with others
  10.B.EC Gather data about themselves and their surroundings.
  11.A.ECa Uses senses to explore and observe materials and natural phenomena.
11.A.ECb Collect, describe and record information.
13.B.ECa Express wonder and ask questions about their world. 
13.B.ECb Begin to be aware of technology and how it affects their lives.
Social Science:  
  16.A.EC Recall information about the immediate past.
17.A.ECa Locate objects and places in familiar environments.
18.A.EC Recognize similarities and differences in people.
18.B.EC Understand that each of us belongs to a family and recognize that families vary.
Physical Development and Health:  
  19.A.ECa Engage in active play using gross motor skills.
19.C.EC Follow simple safety rules while participating in activities.
21.B.EC Demonstrate ability to cooperate with others during group physical activities.




Analysis Tools: Imagine Yourself in the Image (print page 4 of PDF)
Other: Smartboard, Jungle Gym, Stick, Handkerchief
Library of Congress Items: Title of Source: Children playing game with handkerchief on stick in school yard, Washington, D.C.


1. Introduce the topic of children of yesteryear and explain that it will be continued all week. We will study
    different areas, and today will study how children play at school during recess.

2. We will begin by going outside and play on the jungle gym.

3. Upon return to the classroom, ask what each child's favorite piece of playground equipment is and write
    this for the class to see.

4. Project the photo Children playing game with handkerchief on stick in school yard, Washington, D.C. 

5. Project and discuss Imagine Yourself in the Image analysis tool. Write student responses on board.

6. Display a stick and a handkerchief. Ask students for ideas about different games we could play with these
    two items.

7. We will go outside and play a game with the stick and the handkerchief.

8. When we return to the room, students will vote whether they enjoyed the jungle gym or stick and
    handkerchief game more. Make a graph on the board to show results.

9. Conclude by discussing how different activities are fun at different times.



I will evaluate student learning during the lesson by listening to student responses throughout the discussion. I will also observe the students throughout the lesson. 



Dramatic Play I will put clothes out that look like what children wore in the late 1800s.
Blocks I will lay out plain blocks for the children to play with, along with pictures of students from the late 1800s playing with blocks.
Computer Play the sound recordings for the children to listen to, play a motion picture, and browse 
through the pictures.
Writing Center I will post pictures of what children looked like in the late 1800s.
Reading Center I will include popular children stories from the late 1800s in the library. I will also include
books about the life of children from the late 1800s.
Field Trip Visit a local pumpkin patch and one room school house and discuss the differences between our school and a school from the past.

Author Credits:
Okaw Valley Elementary School