More Pioneer Day Activities and Links

I found a few more resources to help our family celebrate Pioneer Day that I wanted to make note of.

Edible Pioneer Wagons: We made these for an afternoon snack on July 24th. Our version involved granola bars, life savers, frosting, jumbo marshmallows, twizzlers, animal crackers, and any other candy nabbed from our candy stash to use as decorations. It was a fun activity/snack, and I was happy to get rid of candy that has been sitting in the pantry for more than a few months.

Map of the Pioneer Trek: I showed my children this map of the pioneer trek to give them an idea of the travel involved.

Pioneer Clipart: This site has great pioneer images that can be used to design and color a pioneer scene. This will make a great Sunday morning activity for my children.

I Am a Pioneer: great video clip from Family Search.

Pioneer Ancestors: Family Search has made it possible to view your pioneer ancestors in an easy to read list. You can see which company they traveled in, view your relationship to that person, and in some cases read stories of the journey. The list is by no means all-inclusive, but it is still interesting. I found the diary of Lorenzo Dow Young (my 4th read grandfather, younger brother to the prophet Brigham Young), and thought the following was especially interesting:

Friday morning found a broken exeltree in one of the wagons put in another and started at ten oclock[.] drove 4 milds along the river and found no feed[.] th plains are lined with bufalow[.] I hav no dout but I hav seen to day at one sight more than 2 two thousand at one glance of the eye[.] Porter Rockwell with 2 others went back and found Br Bs glass[.] we camped about 4 o clock in a beautful place found some grass for our teams[.] the bufalow are so tame that we are troubled to keep them a way from ourr catle[.] we had to stop our teams once to let them pas[.] Hariet [Harriet Young] has not injoyed the day[.] she has bin verry sick with the teeth ache[.] I laid hans on her when we stoped and she got beter and the Brotherin all seem in good sperits[.] it has bin a day long to be remembered on the acount of the romantick seens [scenes] that has transpired[.] a syoung Buflow caf came in to cam[p] which seemed determined to stay with us[.]

[July 24] this day we arrived in the valley of the great Salt Lake[.] my feelings were such as I cannot describe[.] every thing looked gloomy and I felt heart sick.

Further Reading

President Thomas S. Monson, “The World Needs Pioneers Today.” July 2013 Ensign.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, “True to the Faith”. April 1997 General Conference.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Following the Pioneers”. October 1997 General Conference.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Faith of our Fathers”. April 1996 General Conference.

Traditions and plans for Pioneer Day

This coming week is July 24th, otherwise known as Pioneer Day. I grew up in a small town in southern Alberta, an area which was settled by Mormon pioneers. Growing up we would usually have some type of ward activity (often a potluck dinner and games at a park) to celebrate the occasion. My husband and I both have a lot of pioneer ancestors and it is important to us that we pass on that heritage to our children. So we traditionally do a few things each July to mark the occasion.

We always enjoy watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert. The 2015 concert was called Music for a Summer Evening and featured special guest Laura Osnes. We watched the recorded concert on YouTube this past Sunday morning before church.

At least one Family Home Evening lesson in July has a pioneer theme. In 2010 we did Pioneers, Seagulls and Crickets, and Faith and in 2011 it was Faith of the Pioneers. We usually have homemade ice-cream for our treat.

For dinner on the 24th we serve Fried Bread. I know it isn’t an authentic pioneer meal, but that is our tradition! We like ours with powdered sugar or honey butter on top.

The church has produced a few Mormon Messages that are great to share at this time of year, and we also like watching Legacy.  This year we plan to watch 17 Miracles (directed by T.C. Christensen) as a Friday Family Movie Night on Pioneer Day.

Video Links

  • Faith of Our Fathers: President Uchtdorf discusses the phrase “Faith of Their Fathers” and talks about pioneers of the Church. (1:41)
  • Reviewing the Lessons of the Past: Are you preparing for your future? Journey with us as Elder Perry teaches us how to prepare.
  • Pioneers: Dallin H. Oaks, Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, pays tribute to modern-day pioneers who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. (2:27)

How do you celebrate Pioneer Day?

FHE: Faith of the Pioneers

Quote of the Week

“Let us never forget the faith of our fathers and the selfless sacrifice of our mothers, those pioneering Saints who set such an inspiring example of obedience. Let us remember them as we strive to be valiant servants in our work to “invite all to come unto Christ”  and “be perfected in him” (Wirthlin, source).


Pioneer Treasure Hunt (to help us learn more about the life of the pioneers)

More points for discussion (while we eat our traditional ice cream)

“We who have been blessed to know the fulness of the restored gospel owe a debt of gratitude to those who have gone before us, who have given so much to build the kingdom into the worldwide miracle that it is today. Our debt of gratitude to our forebears is a “debt that can best be paid in service to this great cause.” No matter who we are—no matter our talents, abilities, financial resources, education, or experience—we all can serve in the kingdom. He who calls us will qualify us for the work if we will serve with humility, prayer, diligence, and faith ” (Wirthlin, source)

Additional optional activity

Pioneer Hidden Picture from The Friend magazine

Further reading

Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Faith of our Fathers”, The Ensign, May 1996

My 2010 Pioneer FHE lesson: Pioneers, Seagulls and Crickets, and Faith