Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pioneer Wagon Wheel of Fortune

This idea is a combination of ideas borrowed from The Crazy Chorister's Wagon Wheel of Fortune and from The Children's Sing here, and here, and here.

Yesterday I was at my local dollar store, Dollar Tree, and saw this:

AND...they had this poster sized foam board! I was so excited to find both items, but especially the foam board! (I paid nearly $3.00 a piece at Wal-Mart for the foam board I used to make the Follow the Prophet posters. Ugh.) I snatched up a few of them. I'm thinking of going back to get a few more!

So here's my finished Pioneer Wagon Wheel of Fortune with assembly and game instructions:

To start, I took the largest kitchen bowl in my cupboard, and used it to trace a big circle on the foam board. Then I made a small hole in the center.
 (If you squint just right you can see my faint pencil circle on the foam board.)
Next I removed the plastic spinner from the Dollar Tree spin board, and put it on the hole I made. The spinner simply pulls apart into 2 pieces, so one part goes on the front side and one goes on the back to secure it.
The hole was purposely too small, so that the spinner would fit snugly. Next I drew ( can see I am definitely NOT an artist! Ha!)...I drew the details of the wagon wheel, and colored the space inside the spokes red, yellow, and blue.
I printed out the phrase, "Wagon Wheel of Fortune" on red, yellow and blue cardstock, and then cut out the individual letters.
And here's the end result! I still have to laminate the board, however.

UPDATE: My local Ship 'n Copy store, where I get my lamination done, does not laminate foam board. 
No matter, contact paper will do just fine.
As you can see from the first photo and this one,  I have 12 different graphics cut out for the wheel. I will also get them laminated. With both the wheel and the graphics laminated, I can use this tacky blue stuff called Blu Tack,

to stick the images on the wheel, and change them around at will. Also, because the wheel will be laminated, a dry erase marker can be used to write or draw anything in the wheel spaces. 

Here are two different versions of clip art for the game:


Print the phrase "Wagon Wheel of Fortune" on colored card stock, then cut out the individual letters and tape them to the board before laminating the board.

Print the pictures on white card stock and then cut them out. Laminate, and then cut them out again.

Pioneer Wagon Wheel of Fortune

You will need:
  • Pioneer Wagon Wheel of Fortune foam board and pictures.
  • Pioneer clothes for boys and girls (I have bonnets, skirts and aprons for the girls; straw hats, cowboy boots and neckerchief/bandanna for the boys.)
  •  List of pioneer songs (I am going to write this list on the whiteboard and have the child who spins choose a song from the white board either before or after spinning. Then we will erase that song from the white board.

Here's my list of songs:

Pioneer Children Sang As They Walked  Children's Songbook 214
Little Pioneer Children  Children's Songbook 216
To Be a Pioneer  Children's Songbook 218
The Oxcart  Children's Songbook 219
The Handcart Song  Children's Songbook 220

Here We Are Together ("...we're crossing the plains"...) Children's Songbook 261 (Pick 4 children to come to the front and be named in this song, and dress them in pioneer clothing.)
Fun to Do (Pushing the handcart, gathering wood, building a fire, etc.) Children's Songbook 253
For Health and Strength (because pioneer children were very grateful for health and strength and daily food!) Children's Songbook 20
When We're Helping  (Because pioneer children helped their parents all day long.) Children's Songbook 198
Come, Come, Ye Saints (Hymns, 30)

 To Play:
  1. Select 6 of the graphics and use Blu Tack to adhere them to the wagon wheel spaces. 
  2. Explain: "When the Pioneers were traveling across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains to reach the Salt Lake Valley, they encountered many adventures!  We are going to sings songs today that teach us about their journeys. First we will spin the spinner on the wagon wheel. The spinner will land on a picture of one of their adventures, and I will explain how we will sing the pioneer song."
  3. Select a child to spin the spinner.
  4. Sing the pioneer song according to the graphic where the spinner stops:
  • Ox - sing very slowly "Teams of oxen were used to pull heavy wagons. Oxen are very slow animals, but because they are stronger than horses or mules, many pioneers used them to pull their heavy wagons."
  • bunny rabbit - sing very fast "Rabbits were seen along the pioneer trail. Rabbits are FAST and hard to catch!"
  • pioneer girl - only girls sing (Put girl pioneer clothes on a girl) "These are some of the things pioneer girls would wear."
  • pioneer boy - only boys sing  (Put boy pioneer clothes on a boy) "These are some of the things pioneer boys would wear."
  • cowboy boot - sing western style "Lots of pioneer boys and girls your age were real cowboys and cowgirls! They drove cows and other animals all by themselves along the pioneer trek!"
  • snake - sing very quietly "Yes, there were rattlesnakes! If the pioneers encountered a rattlesnake it was best to be very quiet and not disturb it!"
  • Native American child - children trade seats during one phrase of the song "There were many, many encounters with Indians along the trails. "Pioneers would 'TRADE' some of their precious items (jewlery, dishes, toys, furniture) for much needed food, or furs and blankets to keep warm."
  • ax and chopped wood - sing "choppy" (staccato) "Children had the job of collecting firewood for campfires. When there were no trees for wood, they would collect sagebrush or buffalo dung to burn in their campfires! Eeewwww!"
  • beehive and bee - if the child holds this picture up high in the air, everyone hums. When the child hides the picture, everyone sings the words.  "The Pioneers wanted to call their new home 'Deseret', which meant 'honey bee' in the Jaredite language in the Book of Mormon. The honey bee was symbolic for how industrious or 'busy' the pioneers were, just like bees!"
  • ant - children stomp to the beat "Sometimes insects, like ants, invaded the pioneer camps. Pioneers had to stomp to get the ants off their bodies! Yikes!"
  • cow - a child leaves the room. Someone hides the cow in the room. Child returns and the rest of the children sing loud when he/she is close to the cow, and softly when he/she is not close. "If a cow wandered away from the pioneer camps, sometimes children your age had to search for them and bring them back to the camp."
  • mountains - echo sing: divide the children in two and have the first group sing a phrase of the song, while the second group echoes them. (Have the pianist play each phrase twice throughout the entire song.) "When the pioneers finally reached the mountains they discovered some places in canyons, between two mountains, that would echo anything they said or sang!"
 After each picture has been landed on with the spinner and used in a song, replace it with a new picture.  Some of the songs, like Fun to Do can be sung more than once and the spinner spun each time.

Happy Pioneer Day!

Have fun!


  1. Very, VERY fun activity! Lots of prep work for you but I know the kids will enjoy this one!

  2. Love this idea! Because I don't have much time, instead of making the wheel I'm going to gather objects and put them in a bag for the children to come up and draw one out (stuffed bunny rabbit, toy snake, etc).

  3. Looks amazing! Nice job! I was just wondering, where do you get your letters/ you used for Wagon Wheel of Fortune pdf?

  4. Thanks for the nice comments.
    Amber, the fonts are from the DJ Inkers "Fontastic" collection that I have from a disk I bought a long time ago. You can buy it online, just do a google search for dj inkers.

  5. I don't always have success when I try to copy an idea from someone else BUT, today it was AMAZING!!! Thank you for all your hard work! I had so much fun teaching music today!

  6. This is so great! I love to see sisters using their talents in such amazing ways. I really feel like the kids need to feel our love and what better way then to take the time to help them learn in a fun way! Great job!!!!!!

  7. Thanks for the great idea! I made my board today and used my son's wooden train tracks to trace the circle since I didn't have a bowl as big as I wanted. I "stole" the spinner from our Chutes and Ladders game for the time being. Can't wait, I know they'll have a lot of fun tomorrow with this :)

  8. Thank you! These printables are great!!!

  9. This is SO cute! Thank you for doing all this work to share with all of us!

  10. Thank you! I'm subbing for singing time this Sunday and all your work made my job a lot easier and more fun! I'm excited to do it! :)