Generations of families have enjoyed reading the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I grew up reading these books and also watching the re-runs of the television show starring Michael Landon. I still re-read the series once a year and the older I get, the more I appreciate the hard work and family values the Ingalls maintained. As my husband and I have moved 6 times in 7 years of marriage, I also value grace and strength the mother, Caroline Ingalls, displayed as she helped smooth the transitions from one place to another for her children.
If you also grew up reading and/or watching the show, or if you are interested in United States history, the “My First Little House Books” will be a wonderful addition to your child’s, classroom or family reading list. These books provide a perspective of life in a less modernized time and show children that there are some basic similarities among children and families across history.
Our favorite picture book in this adapted series for young readers is Summertime in the Big Woods. It shows the many activities Laura and her family enjoyed during the summer seasons including playing with friends who visit, feeding farm animals and making cheese with their mother. We have also enjoyed reading Dance at Grandpa’s and Going to Town.
Best Ages: pre-k to 2nd Grade
- Have a conversation about with your child about how you have experienced similar activities to the ones Laura describes in the book. How are things similar and how are they different because of the time period we live in?
- Find Wisconsin on a map and then find where your family lives. Laura’s family traveled by foot or horse and wagon. How would you travel from your home to Wisconsin today?
- Create a T-chart with “Laura’s Life” and “Our Life.” Ask students to describe what they recall from the book that occurred during Laura’s life. Then ask what they do for fun, transportation, obtaining food, etc. (Depending on which book in the series you read.) Compare and contrast.
- Use a map to find all the places where Laura lived throughout her lifetime. Have students color in the states on a blank map of the U.S.