I remember last year my sister Molly encouraging me to start to read aloud to Lillian and Norah. Once I had realized that, yes, they were indeed ready to dive into the world of chapter books, I had no question on which I would read first. I read through the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder book series aloud to the girls. It took about a year. Lillian currently listens to the books on cd before she goes to nap. I would say that Laura Ingalls Wilder probably gets references about once a day in out household currently. Last night Lillian asked Chris, “Did you know that they used to call math – Mathematics in the old days?” Chris asked where she learned the word Mathematics? and her response was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I remember many time last year Lillian would be referencing Laura and Chris would say which Laura (my sister Laura or Sister-in-law Laura) and I would say neither… she’s talking about Laura Ingalls.
To help make this world of Laura Ingalls Wilder come alive for our kids we have started visiting some of the places that they have lived. Granted, we have picked the closest ones so far (Walnut Grove MN, and De Smet, SD) but it’s a start.
The Weekend before Labor Day we traveled to De Smet to cross off one last thing off of our Summer bucket list. We went to see the land of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ever since we went to Walnut Grove last summer( Blog post coming soon) Lillian and Norah have been asking to to go to the next Ingalls site.
De Smet is the where the Ingalls moved after Walnut Grove, MN. We paid for the hour and a half guided tour. Our guide would let us in to the historical buildings and tell us stories. Throughout the whole day I kept saying that this is perfect, the weather and that it wasn’t so busy. It would really have been a different experience with tons of people. The buildings are little and it would have been hard to see and hear with a big group. We got to visit the Surveyor’ House, where the Ingalls lived in for a few months after moving to the area. The girls enjoyed looking in all the rooms, peeking upstairs to see what the loft looked like and using the sharpening stone to pretend to sharpen a tool.
They showed us two different school. One of the schools is the school that Laura and Carry attended and the other was a replica of the 1st school Laura taught at. Leeland was fascinated with the little readers on the desk. The girls like to sit and pretend to play school. The last stop was the Ingalls Home in town that pa built. Laura actually never lived in that house. They talked about the Ingalls and how they spent the rest of their days in De Smet.
Lunch was a trip to the grocery store and a picnic at the park. We LOVED the play area and the Laura discovery center. They moved an old school onto the park lot. The kids could touch EVERYTHING, learn to write braille, make name cards, play with the train table, write on a slate, dress up, and cook on an old pot belly stove. At this point we really didn’t know what else there was to do in De Smet. We had heard there was something out at the Ingalls old homestead site so we made that out next stop.
Part two of our trip to De Smet coming soon!