Pioneer Day is next week! Everyone who is a member of the church should be celebrating this day whether or not you live in Utah! Pioneers of our faith are found all over the globe! If you’d like to celebrate pioneer day at home or in singing time, check out my Pioneer Trek singing time idea!
I found this idea HERE on the Primary Music Leaders FB group page! Simply create your own pioneer trek using locations on a map, stories and related primary songs! Move a marker from each landmark on the map as you read the related story and sing the song.
You can choose any map, any stories and any songs so cater this activity to fit your singing time needs! Below is my suggestion…
Pioneer Trek Map & Marker
A few years ago I blew up this pioneer map HERE that I found from the Friend. (the activity is fairly similar just using different stories and places). It’s perfect to optionally use as your map to track where you’ve “been.” It doesn’t refer to a few of the stops but you can either draw or tape them on somewhere between Winter Quarters and Salt Lake City.
I also have a tiled print-at-home version found in my Resource Library as well. Instructions for accessing my Resource Library are found at the bottom of this post.
The FB post linked above has a map the author drew by hand in the comments section if you want to check out that suggestion as well.
Then, Susan Fitch has an adorable Pioneer Handcart couple in her Etsy shop HERE that you could use as your marker. Or just find a similar image or footsteps like I used in my On the Trail post linked above.
Once you have a map and a marker, you need stories next! Here’s what was suggested on the Facebook group:
NAUVOO- Since the saints had little money to pay workers, the temple was built mostly by them. Most men in Nauvoo worked in the quarry, where the limestone for the temple came from, or on the temple site. Most men donated one day in ten as tithing labor. Relief Society sisters helped by sewing clothing and preparing meals for the workers, and by donating one penny a week to the temple fund. More than 5000 people were able to do their temple work before the saints left Nauvoo. The temple was then locked, and a caretaker was hired to watch over it. Soon enemies of the Church took over the temple and destroyed the furnishings and walls and paid a man to set fire to the temple. Everything burned but the outside walls, which were made of stone. Two years later a tornado blew down three of these walls, and the fourth wall was later torn down. (I Love to See the Temple)
WINTER QUARTERS- is a place where the Saints settled to give them a safe place where they could stay for the winter. Mary Wilkenson was traveling west with her eight brothers and sisters and their parents. They only had a little tent to protect them from the cold. Mary’s mother was sick and all she could do was lay wrapped up in blankets. One morning Mary was outside trying to find something for her family to eat for breakfast when she looked up and saw big black clouds overhead. And then the rain started pouring. The wind blew the rain so hard that it felt like pebbles hitting her hands and face. She ran back to the tent, taking refuge inside. Thunder started exploding like a cannon, and the tent shook. Muddy water began to seep in under the edges. Mary and her brothers and sisters lifted Mother onto some boxes so that she wouldn’t get wet, then the water started pouring into the tent. It was as if the tent were suddenly in the middle of a river. The wind howled, and they could hear other tents falling to the ground. Father frantically ran into the tent and said, “Mary, boys, our tent is about to blow away!” By now the cold water came up above the children’s knees. The tent rattled furiously. Father grabbed hold of one of the tent poles, and Mary and her brothers followed his example. “Hold fast, hold it with all of your might!” Father yelled. The younger children huddled together, crying. “Mary! Mary! Sing a hymn, Mary,” Father called. Mary began singing, at first her voice was scared, but as she sang she found strength. She sang louder and louder until her clear, sweet voice filled the tent. By the time Mary finished, all had stopped crying. She began another song, this time joined by Father and one of her brothers. The music brought a warm spirit of peace into the wind-blown tent. Hymn after hymn provided comfort. At last the walls of the tent quit shaking and the wind retreated. Mary exhaled in relief. She let go of the pole, her fingers aching from holding it so tightly. The Wilkinson’s was only one of 2 tents that didn’t blow down. Mary knew the Lord had protected her and her family. (Families can be Together Forever)
CHIMNEY ROCK- is a huge rock formation that made the pioneers think of a chimney. Because the land all around it is so flat, the pioneers could see it for several days before they reached it. They knew it was about halfway along in their journey, so Chimney rock gave them the hope and strength to keep going. (Come, Follow Me)
SWEETWATER RIVER CROSSING- When the people of the Martin handcart company arrived at the Sweetwater River, they were very weak. They saw no way they could cross the river, which was deep and wide and very cold. All they could do was pray. Then three eighteen-year-old boys from a relief party came to their rescue. They plunged into the icy water and began carrying people across the river. They made many trips and carried almost the entire company across. The cold water caused health problems for the boys, and years later all three died from these health problems. (Love One Another)
ROCKY RIDGE- Jens Neilson was traveling with his wife, Elsie; their six-year-old son, Neils; and a nine-year-old girl, Bodil Mortensen, whom Jens offered to take to Utah. They were caught in a blizzard and were freezing cold. They had consumed their last pound of flour days before, but somehow they made it over the treacherous Rocky Ridge, because of their courage and faith. Tragically, Neils and Bodil both died. Both of Jens feet had frozen. He was unable to walk another step and pleaded with Elsie, “Leave me by the trail in the snow to die, and you go ahead and try to keep up with the company and save your life.” Elsie, with her unfaltering pioneer courage, replied, “Ride, I can’t leave you, I can pull the cart.” and she continued to pull him in the handcart. (I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus)
I created a document with all these stories also available in my Resource Library. If you have more pioneer stories to share, please leave comments!!
After each of your stories, sing a related song. You can use the songs suggested above or sing any pioneer themed songs found in The Children’s Songbook.
If you are using this activity at home, I suggest watching the sing-along videos for each. Use the Sing-Along App on iPhone or the church’s sing-along videos on their website HERE.
While you are there, I HIGHLY suggest you end by watching the sing-along video for I’m a Pioneer Too that was published in the July 2020 Friend by Jan Pinborough HERE. It relates how we are all pioneers in our own unique way!
Make sure to check out all of my Pioneer Day singing time activities HERE!
All my printables are free and can be downloaded from my Resource Library. Access to my Resource Library is sent to you via email and not linked here. If you need initial access to my Resource Library or need access sent to you again, click on the button below, fill out your information then check your email. Instructions for accessing each printable on my Resource Library are below the button. Check out my email tutorial HERE for more help.
These printables are filed on my Resource Library page under Category Title > Pioneer Day > Pioneer Trek.