We are just about done with prehistoric man, and this term we are leaping forwards in history to the 1800s. May sees the bicentennial anniversary of the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains. We have lots of fantastic events coming up based around the mountains crossing. Today I introduced the children to the 1800s. First we used our counting by tens skills to make the timeline above. We counted back to just before the first fleet arrived in Australia in 1788. We worked out that this was 225 years ago. I explained we were going to be studying the 1800s. We put on some labels so we could get an idea of how long ago this was. We marked our years of birth and the world wars. We established that the 1800s means 1800 to 1899. We talked about what a century is and worked out that the 1800s are the 19th century despite all beginning with 18. There was lots of maths going on, and lots of measuring, to put things onto the time line in the correct place. Our scale is 1cm = 1 year. If you want to make a time line I would suggest using a cheap roll of lining paper which should be available in DIY stores near the wallpapers.
We have this book on 1800s clothing out from the library. We read the book and did some hands-on investigating along the way.
First we established that wool, linen, leather, silk and velvet were the types of fabrics used at the time. I had some scraps from my collection for the children to examine. We talked about where the fabrics came from and how they might have been made. We discussed which would be cheap and readily available and which would only be affordable to the rich. I copied some pictures from the book for the children to discuss and sequence. Previous knowledge gained at the farm and at Camden Show was useful.
In the section on baby clothes the book describes swaddling. We had a go at swaddling our dolls.
We discussed the different types of clothes people would have in the 19th century, including everyday clothes and Sunday best. The children identified features of the clothing from the 1800s such as high waistlines, bonnets, top hats and breeches. They then designed their own outfits. We hope to find or make something similar that we can actually wear to our upcoming events.
We talked about how few clothes most people would own in the 1800s and how they would repair them rather than throw them away. The children had a go at repairing some torn fabric by putting on a patch and by darning. If you don't know how to darn check out this video.
I was amazed at how much better the children's sewing skills are compared to the last time we tried.
We have some very exciting excursions coming up, and we will be learning lots more about the 1800s and the crossing of the Blue Mountains. Check back soon.