Children from across Bartow County on Monday and Tuesday were given the opportunity to experience activities and games from the pioneer past as the Bartow History Museum held its “Crafting the Past” winter break camp.
Susan Yark with Bartow History Museum explained the intent of the two-day camp was to help children see how youth in pioneer days created their own toys and games. The camp also involved some modern aspects for participants.
“We learned that kids in the past played with sticks, so we painted a base coat on [sticks] and put decorations and yarn wigs on them and, of course, the googly eyes,” Yark said.
Other activities included weaving, candle dipping and a tour of the museum.
“[It’s important] to recognize the difference of what happens now and what happened in the past,” Yark said. “And the chores they had to do, like candlemaking — it’s fun for us, but [pioneers] had to do it once a year for the whole year’s lighting of their cabin.”
Camp participants also played games, such as the Cherokee bean dice game and a Cherokee game called “firekeeper.”
“[Firekeeper] uses craft sticks that are painted to look like fire. We take a bandanna hankerchief and put it around the eyes as a blindfold for the firekeeper,” Yark said. “The other children try to steal a stick one at a time and the Cherokee children learned how to be quiet when they were hunting.”
While the camp taught from the past, a modern craft — the Styrofoam and yarn octopus — was the crowd favorite for Tuesday, which included children ages 7 to 11. Monday’s camp was geared toward children ages 4 to 6.
“We’ve been making arts and crafts, weaving, and we’ve made candles and stuff like that. It’s been a lot of fun,” Euharlee Elementary School third-grader Dylan Hankins said.
Both Hankins and fellow camp participant Cody Stewart, a fourth-grader at Taylorsville Elementary School, said they enjoyed crafting the Styrofoam and yarn octopus as well as playing and exploring in the museum’s history nook.
Program volunteers and staff said one of the less popular activities was weaving, leaving some children frustrated with the difficult nature of the activity and unable to complete their project before the end of camp. However, that wasn’t the case for Caroline Lanier, a third-grader at TES.
“Weaving was hard … but that was my favorite part,” Lanier said. “I finished everything.”
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