The mill pond at Thompson’s Mills was a kids’ dream.
What was it like more than 100 years ago to be a child living at Thompson’s Mills? The adults were busy milling their neighbors’ wheat into flour, but what were the kids’ jobs and what did they do to entertain themselves?
Park Ranger Tom Parsons says the new “Be a Pioneer Kid” program focuses on the adventures of growing up at the mill during the horse and wagon days. The free sessions for ages 8-12 are offered each Saturday, May 2-Aug. 29, 10 a.m.-noon. Parsons added that free, guided mill and grounds tours for all ages are also available daily at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
“The activities are hands-on,” Parsons says. “The kids will play 19th-century games, learn pioneer cooking techniques and plant seeds in their little own plots, as well as learn about the recently planted apple orchard. We hope they will come back to see how their seeds have grown into vegetables and flowers through the summer and how the trees have matured in the long term.”
“Another cool thing—almost all of the information presented is based on first-hand accounts of growing up here, so we’ll be able to mention the real child who did these activities long ago,” he added.
Each Saturday session is limited to 10 children accompanied by an adult. Call (541) 491-3611 to reserve your child’s spot and hear a rundown of planned activities.
Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site (park information and driving directions)