Overhead shot of the indoor prairie exhibits featuring a windmill from Hurley.


Beyond our Prairie

April 26, 2013

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Play is a great way to learn!

Explore at home, ideas and activities, either before coming to the museum or after your visit.

Climb a Cloud

On the prairie, the wind is almost a constant characteristic of life. It is everywhere. Here are some ways to explore it with your family.

Make a kite together and then on a windy day, fly it.
The book, Kites on the Wind: Easy to Make Kites That Fly without Sticks, by Emery Kelly can provide patterns and get you going.

Find a comfy spot to watch clouds go by.
As the wind changes their shapes, talk with your child about what objects, animals, or favorite toys you see.

Climb the clouds.
On our museum prairie, you can explore the clouds on our two-story Cloud Climber.

Prairie Ways

Whether your family’s roots grow deep into prairie soil or your roots have been recently transplanted from another location, sharing your family’s heritage and past with your child can be enriching for them. Here are some activities to get you started.

Share your family memories with your child.
Get together with older family members and think about stories that you know from your childhood or from your parents’ childhood.

Trace your family tree together.
Begin with your child and work back through your relatives. Ask other family members to help in the process. A great deal can be learned when talking together.

Talk to your child about your family’s heritage.
Discuss how you came to live in the place you live. If you have stories from past generations, share these too.

Share family traditions with your child.
Perhaps make a special recipe together and talk about who made this and what time of year it was typically made.

Spend an afternoon doing “Chores”
Visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota Sod House to view photos of past people on the prairie and how they went about their daily chores.

Examine the energy that we use daily.
Make a one-day energy diary recording when you use different forms of energy.

Talk about water conservation.
Discover how and where your family gets their water.

Prairie Farm

Farms, both then and now, are vital to our lives. Discovering how food is grown and how it gets to grocery stores is intriguing for children. This discovery leads children to make healthy food choices. Here are some activities for further exploration.

Visit a friend’s farm.
Learn about the animals living there and to explore all that is growing in the fields.

Visit the grocery store.
Look at and discuss all the different types of fruits and vegetables.

Visit McCrory Gardens in Brookings.
View all the different kinds of plants growing there as well as other arboretums.

Market Fresh Grocery

The grocery store is often a very familiar place for young children. Children may repeatedly pretend in familiar roles as a way to explore and try on ideas about themselves. Here are some ideas to build on experiences from Market Fresh Grocery.

Make a grocery list together.
Bring the kids on the next grocery trip.

Empty your pockets.
Examine the different types of coins and then talk about how many coins are needed to make up the next largest coin (such as 5 pennies make up one nickel).

Try something new.
Go to the grocery store and find unusual fruits, then taste them for a snack.

Go on a coupon frenzy.
Clip coupons from the local grocery store’s advertisement and then use them while shopping. Talk to your child about the function of coupons. Ask your child to match the food item with the coupon or use the coupons as your source for a ‘treasure hunt’ around the grocery store – looking for the items on the coupons.

Explore our exhibits!