Monday, 11 August 2014

Studying the Revolutionary War

The kids and I are working on studying the Revolutionary war.  We are reading books and watching documentaries as well as movies on the time period.  Last month we were in the Virginia area and were even able to visit some historic sites from this period.  Tone day last week, we spent the afternoon doing some Colonial activities.

We read the Declaration of Independence (I bought a replica copy) 
Next we wrote out own letters on parchment papers using feather quills and ink

MarioFan invited Mr. Jefferson to a picnic--we left large spaces between our lines so we could later fill in a secret message in invisible ink.

Firedrake invited Ben Franklin to review her science project

After the ink dried, we tried 3 different methods of writing in invisible ink --Firedrake is using milk and her feather quill

MarioFan is using equal parts baking soda and water and a feather quill

I used Lemon juice and a toothpick--after it dried we tried to use a lightbulb to heat the paper to read our secret messages, that didn't work but placing the paper over the stove and letting it heat up almost to the the paper burning we got some results.
The name Washington was written in invisible ink:)    We got results from each paper at varying degrees but it gave the kids an idea of how the spies were able to get messages to each other during the revolution:)

Next we played a colonial game of pick up sticks

Look at the concentration

I found a set of wooden dice and we played a couple of dice games from that era

They are very simple games and easy to score

As firedrake discover it was also a sneaky way to get math into our lesson that day:)  I swear I can't pull anything over her anymore:)LOL

Lastly we made lemon soap which only the very rich could have afforded

We added soap shaving and floral scents to a bowl

added lemon scent and water

and then we rolled the shavings into a ball, which took some work

MarioFan is still not a fan of touching anything slimy:)

It took 3 days to dry

After the soap balls dried we wrapped them in Tulle and added ribbons

I found two different loom weaving kits and the kids are trying each out.  This one uses a needle

Whereas this one use a shuttle and raiser which is more accurate to the period:)

I have picked up many small activities while visiting historical sites and we have fun trying them out and making our history lesson fun!


  1. Wow, I must say you are doing some great projects to go along with your study of the Revolutionary era. I love playing pick up sticks; that is a fun game; I didn't know it was from that time period.
    I also loved your soap making project and I remember my mother making soap. You never know we may need to know how to do that down the road.
    The weaving looks like a great thing to teach your children to do. I just marvel at your hands on learning.
    I loved your blog posts and always learn something new.
    Blessings to you all!

  2. I want to study history at your house :) Lydia is the same way about hiding math now. I may use a couple of your ideas next week with Caty about the American Revolution.

  3. Wow, so many great projects! I bet that soap smelled really good! I'm impressed that your kids had the patience to try weaving!

    If you haven't read it already, you should read Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. It's a suspenseful and exciting story about the lead-up events to the Revolution and the injustices that one slave girl faces in New York.

    Had to laugh at the photo of your son touching the soap mixture--that's exactly how mine would react! He still struggles with sensory issues (especially gooey things like sunscreen and anything with a strong scent.)

    I always love to see what you're up to. You find the coolest projects and field trips!