Mountain Vista


Role play the journey of an American pioneer moving west and create a pastel drawing of your new settlement.


1. Engage in a role play about life in North America from 1890 to 1930. Join classmates to form a family and select a town in which you live. Choose an occupation (farmer, general store owner, blacksmith, laborer). Act out your occupation and life in that town. Then imagine what happens to your family when obstacles to your economic survival occur (drought, competition, unemployment). Identify why your family chooses to move West: land, natural resources such as gold, and independence.

2. Refer to a map. Find out what modes of transportation were available from 1890 to 1930 to move West from your town. Identify necessary items for travel and resettling in a new place.

3. With your family, use Crayola® Colored Pencils to write about your journey, describing your reasons for moving, along the way, and what you expect to find and do in your new location.

4. Draw how you imagine the new area looked at the turn of the 20th century with Crayola Oil Pastels. Blend pastels by rubbing with a fingertip or paper towel. Add details by using pastel over pastel.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.


  • For more hands-on learning, each family arranges furniture and other items (large blankets, blocks) to make a covered wagon for traveling. Go on a pretend journey, during which you encounter obstacles along the way presented by others in the class. Solve problems of the journey together.
  • Older children write letters from their new homes to their friends and family back East, describing the frontier. What information do you need to make these letters contain authentic information?
  • Read literature and history from this time period. Do you think some accounts of the wonders of the West were exaggerated?
  • Younger children and those with special needs might write short stories about traveling on a covered wagon. Provide plenty of background information in the form of books, read-alouds, and role playing experiences in the classroom and on the computer.

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crayola supplies
  • Crayola┬« Oil Pastels
  • Colored Pencils
  • Giant Floor Pad
household supplies
  • paper towels



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Special Needs


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children research and record the economic reasons why people (such as explorers, nomadic people, miners, and traders) move to or from a location.

  • Children role play a move from the East or South to the American western frontier during the period from 1890 to 1930.

  • Children create a pastel drawing of their new location in the American West.


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