On-Site Field Trips

Folklore Village’s “Folklife – Your Life” field trip program is an fun, engaging, and educational day designed to introduce children to the concept of folklife. Folklife is the traditions shared by groups of people who have a common background or interest. Folklife traditions are passed from person to person; we don’t learn folklife from books, but from being with people. 

“It was a wonderful opportunity for our students to participate in storytelling, music, games, and crafts and learn about the history of folklore, the one-room schoolhouse, and life in early Wisconsin. The programs were not only interesting and fun, but well-organized for young participants. It was very evident that the staff at Folklore Village enjoys working with children and sharing folklore customs.” -Visiting Teacher

“Dear Folklore Village, Thank you so much for letting us come to your amazing adventure. It was incredible. I hope I can come again some time.” -Visiting Student

Folklife Activity Rotations:

The “Folklife – Your Life” field trip consists of 40-minute, rotating folklife activities that are adaptable to different ages and ability levels, bookended by an interactive introduction and conclusion designed to contextualize the day’s activities and reinforce educational concepts. We will help you select two, three, or four of the following activities, depending on class sizes, age level, time constraints, and your educational goals. 

Large groups are split into smaller groups for a round robin of activities that rotate throughout the day. 

Culture in Motion:
Folk Dances of the World

Life is a dance! Throughout history people have moved together to music for celebratory and social occasions. In this activity you and your students will enjoy social dances from several parts of the world. The children will be prompted to think about dance in their lives: Do you take dance lessons? Does your grandma ask you to polka at weddings? Do you dance at parties? If your students can smile they will enjoy the activity. Adaptable to various physical abilities. 

“The folk dance was the best. I had so much fun learning the waltz.” -Visiting Student, Fennimore Elementary

Culture in Motion: Maypole Dancing (Available Mid April – Mid June)
This colorful and unique style of dancing is a way to greet the month of May and the new spring season. Children will learn about the history of Maypole dancing while weaving a variety of interesting patterns around the garlanded pole. 

“My favorite part was the maypole dance. It was super fun. It was funny when we got tangled up. Thanks for the fun trip.” -Visiting Student, Ridgeway Elementary

Listening to Tradition:
International Music in the Plum Grove
Traditional music in Wisconsin has an amazing diversity, thanks to the many immigrant groups who have brought their instruments and musical styles to the area. In this activity s
tudents will be introduced to a variety of traditional music forms, played on an array of traditional instruments such as Swedish bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, guitar, triangle, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, and Indian harmonium. 

“Thank you for teaching me music. It taught me that no matter how small you are, you are never too old for music.” – Visiting Student, Park Elementary

Folklore and Fun:
Old-Time Games in the Wakefield Schoolhouse

Hey! Let’s play! The 1893 Wakefield Schoolhouse is the perfect setting to play traditional, non-electric games. You and your students will be challenged with the secrets of the magic broom, become pros at winking, and play traditional games passed down through the generations. Throughout the activity, students will learn about the history of one-room schoolhouses and be encouraged to think about how games and play are important throughout our lives. 

“Thank you for teaching us about folklife. Thank you for teaching us we don’t need gadgets to have fun.” -Visiting Student, Pecatonica Elementary

Learning by Crafting:
From Sheep to Wool to Felt
How do sheep stay dry in the rain? Why do so many cultures raise sheep? How did people make clothes and textiles before we could shop at big box stores? In this activity students will learn the history and process of making felt from wool. With a handful of wool, a bowl of soapy slime, and lots of elbow grease you and your students will make a colorful felted wool ball to take home. Roll up your sleeves for a wet and woolly experience!

“I liked learning about all the different sheep and their wool. I ever knew that were so many different kids. I also liked it when we got to touch the different types of wool.” -Visiting Student, Iowa-Grant Elementary

Learning by Crafting:
Papel Picados (Mexican Tissue Paper Banners)
These colorful and festive traditional cutouts are simple to make and bring great satisfaction to their creators. In this activity your students will learn about the history and folklore of Mexican papel picados. While snipping careful shapes students will be encouraged to think about how we celebrate special occasions and how crafts and holidays are part of our folklife. Your students will be amazed when their papel picados are unfolded and their unique designs emerge!

“The picados were really fun to make and so pretty too!” -Visiting Student, Fennimore Elementary

Wild Wisconsin:
An Educational Prairie Walk
Folklore Village’s 93-acre site includes over 65 acres of restored tall grass prairie. In this activity students will get an introduction to tall grass prairies and their importance in our landscape. Students will have fun using their senses and getting their hands dirty as they learn about native plants and their traditional uses.
An indoor nature activity is available in case of inclement weather.

“The part I enjoyed the most was the prairie. I liked it because it had a lot of plants. I got to see a mining hole.” -Visiting Student, Fennimore Elementary

Field Trip Program Notes:

  • Each group of students must be accompanied by at least 2 chaperones.
  • Students must bring their own sack lunches. Refrigeration space is available upon request. 
  • Commercial playground equipment is available for outdoor recess time.

Program Fees
The cost of the program varies, depending on the scope of the program (schedule, number of activities and staff needed, etc.). Need help covering the cost of the trip? Folklore Village has limited funds available to provide partial scholarships to schools. Priority is given to rural and smaller schools, schools with limited funding for cultural programs, and schools
scheduling a Folklore Village program for the first time. Please don’t hesitate to inquire about the scholarship opportunities.

Programs take place in the 5500 square foot Farwell Hall activities center, the 1893 Wakefield School, the 1882 Plum Grove Church, and the tall grass prairie. Students walk on a trail between buildings, with the farthest being about 3 blocks away. A bus will need to be available to transport students between buildings in inclement weather. While we can usually accommodate special needs and physical disabilities, not all of our historical buildings are wheelchair accessible. Please call us if you have a student with accessibility concerns; we are usually able to make accommodations.

How to Schedule a Program
Contact us at (608) 924-4000 or email programs@folklorevillage.org with the rotations you would like to include, the number of students expected, and the grade level. We will work with you to create an enriching, fun, and fantastic program!

“Thank you for teaching us about folklife. I learned that folklife is seeing, hearing, and copying what others in my world are singing, playing, and making. I appreciated all the folklife I learned today.” -Visiting Student