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Small Wander

It’s a Small Wander so we’ve included some further activities to use at home after your time with us in Moreston. Please share pictures and stories and tag us in any photos you post from your wander! #GreyRootsSmallWander @greyroots

We hope to see you and yours again soon!

Learning to Work

Apprentices learn their jobs by watching and doing. With a partner, take turns mirroring one another’s actions.

Blacksmiths used fire to soften and tools to bend hard metal. From this they could fix or make tools like rakes, ploughs, nails and horseshoes! It took a long time to learn how to become a blacksmith but it was an important job in the community. Can you spot the horseshoe on the blacksmith shop?

For more exploration on this topic:

1920’s George Rice Blacksmith Shop

Pioneer Blacksmith Shop

Blacksmith – A Vital Trade in the Past YouTube video with Ken Seiling Waterloo Region Museum

Colour It Your Way

Grey County is full of colour. Standing where you are, what colours do you see?

Colour is everywhere, all year round. As youstroll through the Small Wander, notice the colours around you. Enjoy with your eyes or  make a photo collage with your phone. Don’t forget to tag us! #GreyRootsSmallWander #ColourItYourWay

For more exploration on this topic:

Simple Colour Scavenger Hunt for Kids

All in the Family

This home sheltered many generations of a family: parents, grandparents and children all living together at once. Who is a part of your family?

Creating a family tree to celebrate your family is a fun way to record your history for future generations. Start with who you live with but don’t forget other members of your family. A family is everyone important to you, so remember to include them!

For more exploration on this topic:

Autumn (or anytime) Handprint Tree with Arty Crafty Kids that can be made into a family tree for your records.

Family Trees for Kids from Family Tree has a lot of ideas to download or spark the creation of your very own design. The Family Flower is an interesting idea!

Fun and Games

This is a one-room schoolhouse where children learned many subjects. What do you like to learn about?

Grades 1-8 were together in one classroom, with one teacher. There was very little paper; you practiced your math and writing on a small slate, like a mini chalkboard. All students had to complete chores before and after school. They even did them at school, things like sweeping the floor, cleaning ash from the woodstove, or beating the chalkbrushes. Children enjoyed playing games like checkers, hopscotch, charades and marbles.

For more exploration on this topic:

101 Good Charades Ideas for Kids to Act Out with Kids Activities

How To Play Hopscotch: Learn the Basic Rules and Five Variations with

Nature's Music

Take a moment to sit quietly and listen. What do you hear? How does nature make music? Natural resources were very important to Grey County settlers. There were many water sources for boat travel and plenty of land for farming. Trees provided shade, fuel for fire and material for tools. Can you name a type of tree? How about a wildflower? Or a plant?

For more exploration on this topic:

Nature’s Orchestra with Sustainable Learning

Nature Table How to with East TN Family Fun

Follow Your Nose

Look at all the plants growing in the garden! Rub the leaves gently. What do you smell?

Pioneers grew herbs  to flavour their food and to use as medicine. Some favourites included mint, sage, lavender, thyme and chives. Plants that we now consider weeds were very helpful to pioneers, like dandelions and mullein*. What is your favourite herb to eat or smell?

For more exploration on this topic:

Incredible Edible Herb Sensory Play with Fantastic Fun and Learning

*Dandelions and mullein are native to Eurasia. They were brought to North America prior to settlement in Grey County.

Dandelion. The Canadian Encyclopedia.

9 facts you may not have known about dandelions from the CBC

Mullein on Ontario

Poisonous Plants. The Canadian Encyclopedia. There is an interesting mullein tidbit in the last paragraph.

Off the Rails

Clickety-clack. Here comes a train! What sound does a train make? What makes it go?

Before cars, railroads were used to move goods and people from Grey County across Ontario and eventually across Canada. They were powered by steam from boiling water. Train crews worked in the caboose which was like an office and workshop on wheels! A stove inside gave them a comfortable place to work.

For more exploration on this topic:

At the museum, check out Arrivals & Departures: The CPR in Grey County to see a model of Owen Sound Harbour circa 1910.

50 + Train Activities & Crafts with Happy Toddler Playtime

Have a railway aficionado? Visit Community Waterfront Heritage Centre in Owen Sound. Visit their website for more information,

People Power

Are you from Grey County or another part of the world? Show your pride and shout out where you come from!

Many people made Grey County their home and still do today. The original Indigenous people were called the Anishinaabe. There were Black settlers, some of whom were escaped slaves from the United States, and  Europeans who came across the ocean to live in Canada.

This is only a peek at the history of the people of Grey. You can explore more here:

Northern Terminus, the African Canadian History Journal

Black History in Grey County

Grey County Luminaries: find out about personalities that shaped Grey County

Potty Humour

Imagine using an outhouse like this instead of a bathroom inside the house! Count the steps from the back porch to the outhouse door.

Thankfully, you wouldn’t have to go walking in your sleep to use the toilet in the middle of the night. An indoor option was the chamber pot. The downside was someone had to empty and clean it in the morning; sometimes that was a chore for a child. Some toilet trainers today are like old-fashioned chamber pots, no joke!

For more exploration on this topic:

79 Easy Toilet Paper Roll Crafts the Kids will Love to Make! with Red Ted Art! And if you prefer, just use a paper towel roll cut in half.

A Bunch of Quacks

Can you move like a farm animal?

            1. Gallop like a horse.

            2. Stomp like a cow.

            3. Strut like a rooster.

            4. Quack like a duck.

In the 1920s, animals on farms were used for work and food. Horses pulled ploughs in the fields, dogs guarded people and farmstock, chickens laid eggs, and cats caught mice. Just as every child had a “job” so did the animals. Walk like your favourite farm animal while singing Old McDonald until your next stop.

For more exploration on this topic:

Driving My Tractor, a fun singalong from Barefoot Books – video

45 Preschool Farm Theme Activities with How Wee Learn

Snakey Rail

Look at the wooden fences and notice their different shapes. Can you walk in a zig zag?

When pioneers arrived in Grey County they built simple snake rail fences to keep the farm animals out of the fields and gardens. These fences were easy to put up and did not require digging in the ground. Later generations built stronger, straighter split rail fences. Walk heel to toe along the straight fence to your next stop! Which fence took the most steps?

For more exploration on this topic:

Snake-rail fence explained at Golden History Park - video

Snake Rail Fence by Naomi Norquay in The Northern Terminus: The African Canadian History Journal/Vol.15/2018.

For more fence fun, create your own using sticks, popsicle sticks, etc. to create the different shapes. How easy is it to construct? Can you test the strength of the fence? Which take the most posts and rails? Which take the least?

And, around your home look for different types of fences and think about what they are made of and how they are built. You might be surprised by the variety of styles.

Wood You, Could You

Where does wood come from? TREES! Can you plant your feet and wave your “branches” like a tree?

When pioneers arrived in Grey County, they were amazed by the number of huge trees! A pioneer’s first job was to clear the land before they could do any farming. The wood was used to make tools, fences, furniture, and homes like this log cabin. Wood was also burned in fireplaces to keep their cabins warm.

For more exploration on this topic:

Outdoor Tree Bark Rubbings to get up close with a tree by I Can Teach My Child.

Broccoli Stamped Fall Tree art by Glued To My Crafts.

Take a tour

Click on the locations / buildings below to learn about the Heritage Village

Large Agricultural Equipment and Historic Vehicle Display Building Blue Water Garage George Rice Blacksmith Shop Herb Miller Sawmill 1920's School House 1920's Timber Framed Barn 1920's Ontario Farmhouse Orange Hall 1886 Log House 1920's Good Cheer Bandstand Outdoor Amphitheatre Pioneer Blacksmith Shop 1853 Pioneer Log Cabin Moore & Muir Engine Works

View 3D Model of Moreston Village (30 MB)

3D model created in collaboration with St. Mary's High School

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