Pioneer Life Printables

Reenactment of settlers passing through Mitchell Pass by Scotts Bluff along the Oregon Trail

Posnov / Getty Images

A pioneer is a person who explores or settles in a new area. Lewis and Clark were the first to officially explore the American west after the United States gained the land in the Louisiana Purchase. After the War of 1812, many Americans started moving west to establish homes in the unsettled land. 

Most western pioneers traveled along the Oregon Trail, which began in Missouri. Although covered wagons are often associated with American pioneers, the famous Conestoga wagons weren't the primary means of transportation. Instead, pioneers used smaller wagons known as prairie schooners.  

Pioneer life was difficult. Because the land was mostly unsettled, families had to make or grow almost everything they needed with other goods being brought with them on their wagons. 

Most pioneers were farmers. Once they arrived at the land they were going to settle, they had to clear the land and build their house and barn. Pioneers had to use the materials that were available so log cabins were common, built from the trees on the family's settlement.

Families that settled on the prairie didn't have access to enough trees to build cabins. They would often build sod houses. These houses were fashioned from squares of dirt, grass, and roots that were cut from the land.

Farmers also had to prepare the soil and plant their crops soon after arrival to provide food for their families.

Pioneer women also had to work hard. Meals were prepared without modern conveniences such as stoves and refrigerators or even running water!

The women had to make and mend their family's clothing. They had to milk the cows, churn the butter, and preserve food to feed the family during the winter months. They sometimes helped with planting and harvesting the crops.

Children were expected to help as soon as they were able. Young children might have chores such as getting water from a nearby stream or gathering eggs from the family's chicken. Older children helped with the same tasks the adults did, such as cooking and farming.

Use these free printables to learn more about pioneer life and complement your study on the topic.

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Pioneer Life Vocabulary

Vocabulary Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Introduce your students to the daily lives of American pioneers with this vocabulary worksheet. Children should use the internet or a reference book to define each term and match it to its correct definition.

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Pioneer Life Wordsearch

Word Search Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Review the terms associated with pioneer life using this word search puzzle. Each of the terms can be found among the jumbled letters in the puzzle.

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Pioneer Life Crossword Puzzle

Crossword Puzzle Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Use this crossword puzzle as a fun way to review pioneer-related words. Each clue describes a term related to pioneer life. See if your students can correctly complete the puzzle.

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Pioneer Life Alphabet Activity

Alphabet Activity Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Young children can review pioneer terms and hone their alphabetizing skills at the same time. Students should write each term from the word bank in correct alphabetical order on the blank lines provided.

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Pioneer Life Challenge

Challenge Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Let your students show what they know about pioneer life with this challenging worksheet. Each description is followed by four multiple choice options. You can use this worksheet as a short quiz or for further review.

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Pioneer Life Draw and Write

Write and Draw Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Let your students showcase their creativity and practice their handwriting and composition skills with this draw and write worksheet. Students will draw a picture depicting some aspect of pioneer life. Then, they'll use the lines to write about their drawing.

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Pioneer Life Coloring Page: Covered Wagon

Coloring Page Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Smaller, more versatile wagons called prairie schooners were used for traveling west more often than Conestoga wagons. These small schooners were usually pulled by oxen or mules, which were used to help plow the farmer's fields when the family reached their destination.

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Pioneer Life Coloring Page: Preparing Food

Coloring Page Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

Students will enjoy coloring this picture depicting pioneer women preparing and preserving food.

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Pioneer Life Coloring Page: Churning Butter

Coloring Page Worksheet

Beverly Hernandez / 

After your students color this picture of a young pioneer girl and her mother churning butter, trying making your own homemade butter.

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Your Citation
Hernandez, Beverly. "Pioneer Life Printables." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Hernandez, Beverly. (2020, August 27). Pioneer Life Printables. Retrieved from Hernandez, Beverly. "Pioneer Life Printables." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).