Stuck at home with your family? Great! These activities are designed to get families (and friends) talking, sharing, moving, exploring, and enjoying spending time together.
Don’t have family handy? Our virtual history community would love to step in. Feel free to use the comments on the Facebook post associated with each activity to ask questions and share triumphs (or failures!).
This program is recommended for adult and family audiences.
Week Eight: This Friday, we are taking you for a walk on the grounds of the 1774 Rock House to visit the barn, the old wagon road, and the steps of the Rock House.
Activity: May is preservation month so we are excited to highlight some great online resources to help you explore the historic landmarks in your own We encourage you to visit https://savingplaces.org/, http://landmarkscommission.org/, and https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm to learn more about all these amazing places in #CLT and all these great moments in #CLTHistory.
Bonus Activity: Capturing COVID History
Our community is in unprecedented times and in 10, 20, or 30 years, our experiences will be part of history. Journaling or scrapbooking is a great way to remember what this experience was like while also being a good way to work through all the frustration and anxiety we’re all going through right now.
Here’s a worksheet with some prompts to get you started: Capturing COVID History
Children in colonial Charlotte may not have had a lot of free time, but they still knew how to have fun outside. For this Family Friday we encourage you to use materials around you to create your own toys.
Activity: Try your hand at being graceful and make your own colonial toy out of recycled materials.
Adventures from Home
It may seem like the world is out of reach at the moment, but you can go on an adventure right from your couch. We created a quarantine reading list of adventure-themed suggestions to get you started.
Activity: Pick any of the books on this list to read with family or a friend. Talk together, ask questions, discuss, and debate! Create your own book club or join us on our Facebook page to talk about these adventures, mysteries, and explorations. There’s nothing like a good book to bring people together.
Time For Good News
Like everyone else, we have been both amused and uplifted by John Krasinski’s latest addition to YouTube, but it got us thinking… what about good news in our own history?
Activity: For this week’s Family Friday Activity, we encourage you to take a look at Charlotte newspaper articles for this day (April 17th) the year you were born and find #somegoodnews to share with your friends, family, and us.
We’ve gotten things started by sharing this story from April 17, 1972’s Charlotte Observer, about the two giant pandas – Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing arriving from China on their way to their new home at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Why 1972? In 1972, the Hezekiah Alexander Foundation officially received designation as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit with the purpose of caring for Mecklenburg County’s oldest home – something we still do each and every day! To be a part of preserving the 1774 Alexander Rock House, be sure to click on the support tab above.
This image is made available thanks to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Newsbank. To Access your own copies of historical newspapers including the Charlotte Observer and Charlotte Post, please visit the library website at cmlibrary.org.
The North Carolina Piedmont is home to all sorts of different types of flora and fauna (aka plants and animals) – some that have been here for thousands of years and others that are newer to the Queen City. For this week’s activity we encourage you to get outside and see the history of this region through the lens of its plants and animals. Use the guides to the flora and fauna to familiarize yourself with the natural world and then try to win at Flora and Fauna Bingo. We’ve included multiple boards so you can play against each other.
Remember to stay safe and healthy! You can play virtually against others using video streaming or phone calls and if you want to venture outside your own neighborhood, be sure to check the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation website to ensure your favorite parks and greenways remain open.
Corn has long been an important part of our cuisine here in the Queen City. Native Americans used corn to make ash cakes in the coals of the fire. Corn then made its way to Europe and Africa as people throughout the world learned to grow and cook this incredibly versatile crop.
The Alexanders would have used corn to make Johnny Cakes instead of flour, since flour was often difficult to find in North Carolina. Enslaved people had their own recipes or receipts that combined European and African dishes. You can use leftover Johnny Cakes to make Kush like Bet and Jenny may have done when they lived at the Rock House.
Remember, people in the eighteenth century didn’t always have all the ingredients they needed to cook either, so it is perfectly fine to substitute similar ingredients if you do not have everything the recipe calls for. If you need help or inspiration, be sure to check out the video tutorial on our Facebook page.
History shows we can and will get through this, but we know a lot of our audience has been struggling with how to find hope in this pandemic. For our Family Friday activity this week, we encourage you to read this article from Our State Magazine about how the community came together during the Polo Epidemic.
Activity: Read the above article and some helpful hints from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about how to have productive and reassuring conversations with children about the current COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Unexpected “Coworker” Icebreaker
This week has been full of uncertainty as people get used to their new “coworkers” – dogs, cats, children, spouses – so we created an icebreaker for our first Family Friday.
Use our storybook creator to get to know one of these new “coworkers”!
Want to create a book? You can use cardboard, card-stock, or another thick paper as a cover. Use a single hole punch to poke holes down the spine and use a string or decorative ribbon to bind the project together.