Children's Museum of South Dakota

Our Place On The Prairie


Go Back to the Future

How has life changed on the prairie over time? Experience daily tasks of living on the land over one hundred years ago in a kid-sized sod house and traditional Dakota tipi.

Activities in Prairie Ways draw attention to surviving the elements, to the importance of plants and animals such as the buffalo on the prairie for daily living, to the traditions of past living. As they step into the past and then back into the present throughout the gallery, children build an appreciation for both prairie history and present day life.

In Prairie Ways, children learn about daily chores on the prairie and how people survived and lived on the prairie. They discover the origins of hoop dancing and are encouraged to learn simple steps from modern-day Lakota Hoop Dancers. This experience primes children's curiosity to find out more about their own personal history, the history of others who lived on the prairie, and how invention works. 


Learn more about these topics through the books below.
Many of these books are at the
Brookings Public Library.

Ages 3-5

M is for Mount Rushmore, William Anderson & Cheryl Harness        
South Dakota, Jodi Holley & Greg Latza
The Ghost Dance, Alice McLerran & Paul Morin
A Prairie Tale from the South Dakota State Historical Society Press, "Dance in a Buffalo Skull", Zitkala-Sa & S.D. Nelson

Ages 6-8

The States and Their Symbols, "South Dakota Facts and Symbols", Kathy Fenney
Lakota Hoop Dancer, Jacqueline Left Hand Bull & Suzanne Haldane
The Library of Intergenerational Learning. Native Americans, "Lakota Sioux Children and Elders "Talk Together", Barrie Kavasch
The World's Children, "Grandchildren of the Lakota", LaVera Rose
Flat Stanley's Worldwide Adventures; #1, "Mount Rushmore Calamity", Sara Pennypacker & Jeff Brown
The Black Hills Adventure, Gary Harbo
My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Stories, Carolyn Strom Collins & Christina Wyss Eriksson

Ages 9-12

Native American Heritage, "South Dakota Native Americans", Carole Marsh
The Best Book of Native American Biographies, Carol Marsh
The Arlingtons, "South Dakota", R.C. Schaller 
Spotlight on American History, "Wounded Knee: The Death of a Dream", Laurie O’Neill
Dancing Teepees, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
Black-eyed Susan, Jennifer Armstrong & Emily Martindale
Prairie School, Lois Lenski 
Amazing Indian Children Series, "Kunu, the Escape on the Missouri", Kenneth Thomasma & Craig Fleuter
When Thunders Spoke, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve & Oren Lyons
High Elk's Treasure, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve & Oren Lyons
Addie’s Dakota Winter, Laurie Lawlor
The Story Catcher, Mari Sandoz  
Little House, "Little Town on the Prairie", Laura Ingalls Wilder & Cherry Jones
A Harper Trophy Book, "The First Four Years", Laura Ingalls Wilder & Garth Williams
A Harper Trophy Book, "On the Way Home", Laura Ingalls Wilder & Rose Wilder Lane
By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura Ingalls Wilder & Williams Garth