Thursday, October 6, 2011

Field Trip: Williamsburg

We started studying US History as a family this year and decided to take advantage of our fairly close proximity to Williamsburg, VA. 

Every year in September, the colonial town of Williamsburg hosts special days for Homeschoolers, jam packed with excellent programs as well as DEEP discounts!  We decided to take our two girls and head south for three days.

We had a great time.  (as did the boys with grandparents)

First, a little background…we told the girls that we would order them some colonial costumes online that they could wear on our trip.  K was so excited and couldn’t wait! 

T (age 7) did exactly what T would do…and picked an Indian costume.  And the folks in Williamsburg find an Indian in their village to be a pretty amusing sight.

Here are our colonist and Indian learning a few Colonial dances and games:


Then it was time to get some water for the garden:


There were great little activities for kids, like this one, all around the town.


A little lunch at the outdoor Tavern.  And I HIGHLY recommend these souvenir mugs if you go to Williamsburg.  They are $10 and you can have FREE refills during your entire stay.  We used three cups for the 4 of us to provide enough drink options. 

They will NOT fill it with water.  But they will fill them with ice and you can find a water fountain or sink pretty easily.


Still part of England…


The tradesmen all around town were great.  I do wish I had spent more time preparing the kids for the various trades and brainstorming some questions with them.  We haven’t quite hit the 1700’s in our studies, so this was jumping ahead of ourselves a bit.

But with or without background knowledge to draw from, they enjoy this.  I think their favorite was the wigmaker shop.IMG_7470

The local gentry women taught us about their typical days and leisure moments.


We took a class called, “Crack the Code” at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.  It was AMAZING and SO informative.  The girls decoded and deciphered codes and ciphers using methods from the Revolutionary War. 

We learned all about the Culper Spy Ring.  It was fascinating!  I wish that had been the kind of stuff I learned during my history classes, but it seemed absent from the textbooks.


The people of Williamsburg have updated their activities, making use of texting technology these days.  We decided to try one of their RevQuests and met our mystery friend for our instructions.  The Quests are great fun and make use of their own cipher book, so it was a lovely follow up to our Code Class. 

But they require quite a bit of walking on a day we had a full schedule, so we only completed two of the three challenges.


Our next class was, “Life of a Soldier” and it was informative and a lot of fun for Eric and I.  Our girls HATED it.  They did NOT like getting screamed at by the Sergeant and didn’t think anything about this pretend soldier life was very fun.


Of course, in order to get those pictures, I stepped out of my line.  I was REEMED out by the Sergeant.  My girls found that quite hysterical and it eased their tension about the whole situation.

We were back at the DeWitt Wallace museum again for a tour and activity on Folk Art.  The tour was informative, interesting, and fast paced enough for kids.  Then we were able to make our own piece of folk art, also called “memory art” by the docent.


K wanted to capture the memory of her best friend, M, from home.

T wanted to capture the memory of our trip, picturing an Indian and Colonial girl…though she is holding it upside down.


And mommy captured our trip too, avoiding any attempt to draw people.


Then we played with some quilting pattern blocks and enjoyed the quilts on display.


My girls LOVED the Governor’s Palace, especially the gardens.  They played in the little maze for a LONG time, enjoying some time to run around carefree!IMG_7534IMG_7543

And my budding photographers had some opportunity to practice their skills.


We ended our day and stay in Williamsburg with the Fife and Drum Parade.


And my I suggest that you take some time to walk to one of the earlier bus stops on your way out, like the one by the capitol or immediately after that.  Otherwise every bus that passes you will be full.  Folks do get off the bus at the shops (Market Square?), so that is another option if you want a ride outta there!

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