Getting into Character

There’s something to be said for “going all out” and getting into character. Well, Geneva fifth graders and their chaperones rose to the occasion, dressed in their finest, and shined as colonists in Colonial Williamsburg!

Our day centered around experiencing daily life in the early 1800’s and what it took to live during that time. Let’s just take shoes for example. Don’t we just run up to the store, select from a large variety, try one or two on, buy them and not ever wonder about how they are actually made? Something as simple as shoes became a mesmerizing moment for our boys with a visit to the cobblers. Thoughtful questions poured out: How much did a pair of shoes cost? How many pairs were needed each year? Where did the raw materials come from? How long did it take to make each pair of shoes? Did the cobbler maintain an inventory or were the shoes custom made? It was neat to see the boys putting themselves “in the shoes” of colonial customers.


It was not all work and no play back in the day though. Colonial children still had an chance to have fun and so did our fifth graders. One of the games colonial games children enjoyed was hoop trundling and we all had the chance to take a break from some serious learning and let loose with a hoop and stick. Although we saw many great costumed guides and hosts, there were no children representing daily life and activities. Thus we found that tourists were stopping to watch our “colonial” children take part in and re-enact what it may have been like to have kids running around in the 1800s.


Throughout the day and the various directions our groups went (we had afternoon free time with our chaperones to explore the historic district), many of us were praised by other tourists and groups for our attire. We also found it easier to converse with guides and docents and ask questions, feeling more a part of history.


We wrapped up the evening enjoying a turkey dinner at the tavern with George Washington – well, we may as well have eaten with him, as he had actually dined at the same tavern. Following dinner, we participated in an authentic colonial dance and dance lessons… which definitely wouldn’t have been the same experience had we all been in jeans!

It was a memorable day witnessing how getting into character helped history truly come alive for our fifth graders throughout the day!


by Chris Lemieux & Susan Reudelhuber, parent bloggers

The Geneva School
The Geneva School
June 24, 2024
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