Five of the eight books Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote for the Little House series were written about her life in and around DeSmet, South Dakota. Since reading the books together – and my eldest daughter re-reading them on her own – my girls have wanted to see where Laura lived. So, we began our homeschool year with a little field trip.
The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historical Society of DeSmet owns three historic buildings: The Surveyor’s House (By the Shores of Silver Lake), the fist school house in DeSmet (The Long Winter & Little Town on the Prairie) and the house Pa built in town after they moved in from the Homestead. While the girls enjoyed these tours, they were mostly hands-off and photos were not allowed inside the buildings.
Across the street from the Surveyor’s House, however, is the Discovery Center, where kids can dress like Laura and get hands on.
The only original building on Main Street is Loftus’ Store. With a large selection of Laura books and trinkets, you can also buy yourself a dress and bonnet.
While we had fun in town, what the girls enjoyed most was the Ingalls Homestead– the very claim filed by Pa in ‘By the Shores of Silver Lake’.
We had an incredible time at the Ingalls Homestead. The girls learned about toys and activities of Laura’s time, made corncob dolls, did wash, and explored the place Laura called home. We highly recommend it for anyone- even if you haven’t read the books.
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