Camp a time machine to Colonial days
Published 12:00 am, Monday, July 6, 2015
Children can get a glimpse at what life was like 300 years ago at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Colonial Summer Camp with games, crafts, baking and other historic activities at the Oenoke Ridge museum.
From session to session, activities and talks led by educator Nicole Thelen will cover many aspects of Colonial life, from medicine, home life, and children’s games with kids making Colonial-era toys, outdoor games such as throwing hoops, learning about building tools, and making soap, she said.
“It’s designed to be a thoroughly historic experience,” Thelen said.
This summer’s three week-long sessions each have a different focus, Thelen said, which will allow for children to come to one or more of the camps if they want. The three-hour daily sessions will take place in the Hanford-Silliman House, built in 1764 by Steven Hanford, a weaver and New Canaan’s first licensed tavern keeper.
Restored in 1957, the two-story house is filled with period furnishings, some dating to the original owners of the home, and including a furnished tavern dining room similar to the one used by travelers in the 18th century.
While some activities are subject to change, activities at past versions of the camp have included hands-on lessons about the lives of Colonial-era artisans such as lantern makers, spinners and weavers, as well as housewives and children.
Thelen said the camps will include a focus on New Canaan’s Colonial history, including life as lived by men such as Steven Hanford, and the area’s early history as a locus of shoe manufacturing, with lessons on shoemaking and how colonial clothes were made.
“We do a tour of our tool shop and teach children about the use of tools in the Colonial era,” Thelen said.
Campers can also play Colonial games such as Hoops & Graces, a type of two-player game using throwing rods, and learn about or make their own toys such as Jacob’s Ladder, a tumbling toy made out of wood and string that dates back to the Puritans, tops, paper dolls, and dream catchers.
The one week-long camps will run Aug. 3 through 7;Aug. 10 through 14; and Aug. 31 through Sept. 4. The camp is to run from 9:15 a.m. through noon.
The price for the camp is $200 for Historical Society members, and $225 for non-members.
Registration is required one week in advance of camp dates.
To learn more or enroll a child in the camp call the Historical Society at 203-966-1776 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.