Clio’s Kids: A History Mini-Camp Alexandria: Then & Now
Following our camp theme, “Alexandria: Then & Now” we played games, read stories, and visited places to learn about life in Alexandria - past and present. Look below to find more books to read, local places to visit, and websites to learn more about our camp theme.
Learn More About It!
|We looked at old letters and postcards, like this letter to John Stabler, played mail games, and decorated our own postcards.||We paused for a group photograph before heading to Fire Station 201.|
|We toured a modern Alexandria fire station, learned about fire safety, and tried on some fire equipment. Special helmets, coats, and boots help keep today’s firefighters safe.||At Friendship Firehouse Museum we practiced forming a bucket brigade to fill a fire engine’s reservoir with water like firemen in the past.|
|On the last day of camp, we looked for and drew the shapes we saw in nearby Alexandria buildings to inspire us when we built our own model buildings out of recycled materials.||We enjoyed hearing a different story each day of camp.|
Read More About It!: Books to Read
Looking at Letters
Flanagan, Alice and Christine Osinski. Here Comes Mr. Eventoff with the Mail. New York: Children’s Press, 1998.
Flanagan’s easy-to-read text and Osinski’s photographs illustrate U.S. letter carrier Mr. Eventoff’s daily routine. From sorting his route’s mail at the local post office to letter delivery, readers get a behind-the-scenes view of a letter carrier’s day. You can find it in Arlington and Alexandria libraries. Paulette Bourgeois’s Postal Workers in My Neighborhood, available in Arlington and Fairfax libraries provides an illustrated alternative to the Flanagan and Gibbons books.
Gibbons, Gail. The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1982.
Gibbons uses her detailed red, white, and blue illustrations and simple text to show how mail moved in the past and gives an overview of how mail moves today. This book is available in Alexandria and Arlington libraries.
Tunnell, Michael O. and Ted Rand. Mailing May. New York: Greenwillow Books, 1997.
Set in 1914, May wants to see her grandmother who lives across the mountains, but her family cannot afford a train ticket. May is instead mailed as a baby chick and rides in the train’s mail car to see her grandmother. This charming picture book is based on a true story, which is shared in an author’s note at the end of the book. Mailing May is in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County libraries.
Firefighting: Then and Now
Barbaresi, Nina. Firefighters Coloring Book. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2003.
The storyline of this coloring book follows Mike the firefighter throughout his day at Engine Company 39. An introduction to the working day of the firefighter with the bonus that children can color along! Look for it at Friendship Firehouse Museum or in local bookstores.
Brooks, Felicity, illustrated by Jo Litchfield. Fred the Firefighter. Tulsa, OK: EDC Publishing, 2004.
This book follows Fred, a firefighter, throughout his workday. Descriptions of uniform components, actions, and a glossary and fire safety tips at the end provide excellent information for curious readers. Fred the Firefighter is in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax libraries.
Ochiltree, Dianne, and Kathleen Hadam Kemly. Molly, by Golly!: The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter. 2012.
Molly cooks for Mr. Aymar and the volunteer firefighters of Fire Company Number 11 in early 1800s New York City. When a nearby home catches fire during a blizzard and the company volunteers are sick, Molly helps the fire company raise the alarm and put out the fire. Based on the author’s research into the life of Molly Williams, this book is available in Alexandria and Arlington libraries.
Osborne, Mary Pope and Steve Johnson. New York's Bravest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.
Standing eight feet tall, with enough strength to lift a trolley, Mose the firefighter helps put out fires all over bustling 1840s New York City. Gorgeous illustrations and simple text are used to relate this story in the tradition of Paul Bunyon. Osbourne drew upon fictionalized stories of real-life firefighter Mose Humphreys to create her story of this urban folk hero. The book is available in Alexandria and Fairfax libraries.
Daily Life: Then and Now
Thermes, Jennifer. When I Was Built. New York: Henry Holt & Co, 2001.
A house remembers two families who lived in it and recounts their daily activities, comparing the how the Fairchild family lived in the eighteenth century with how the Gray family lives in the house today. This book is available in Alexandria libraries.
Gryski, Camilla, and Dušan Petričić. Let's Play: Traditional Games of Childhood. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1998.
Let’s Play’s colorful and sometimes silly illustrations accompany descriptions and rules for traditional games that children have been playing for hundreds of years. This book highlights games by category from Hide-and-seek to hand shadows, including variations like Sardines (hide-and-seek in reverse) and Sending a Letter (leapfrog with a postal theme). Let’s Play is available in Alexandria and Fairfax libraries.
Let’s Do It!: Kids Activities on the Web
Activity Zone – National Postal Museum
Play postal games and create your own stationary using images from the National Postal Museum’s collection.
The National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) cartoon Dalmatian dog mascot Sparky hosts their kids activity pages. Games, downloadable activity sheets, cartoons, and videos teach children about fire safety.
Let’s See It!: Places to Visit to Learn More
National Postal Museum, Washington, DC
Permanent exhibits at this Smithsonian museum relate the history of the U.S. Mail, including the important role of transportation in moving the mail. If you enjoyed the book Mailing May, don’t miss the chance to see the inside of the railroad mail car in the central exhibition space.
Friendship Firehouse Museum, Alexandria, VA
The Friendship Fire Company, established in 1774, was the first volunteer fire company in Alexandria. The current firehouse was built in 1855. The Engine Room on the first floor houses hand-drawn fire engines and historic fire-fighting equipment. The second floor Meeting Room contains ceremonial objects such as parade uniforms, capes, banners and other regalia.
Fire Museum of Maryland, Lutherville MD
Located north of Baltimore just off of I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), the Fire Museum of Maryland displays fire apparatus from the early nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries and holds regular special events for children and families.
National Building Museum, Washington, DC
Ongoing and changing exhibitions and family events highlight architecture, design, and engineering. Visit House & Home to see how our homes have looked in the past and today. Kids can try their hand at building in PLAY WORK BUILD (for visitors of all ages) and the Building Zone (for ages two to six). Family Tool Kits are available for a fee, and family programs and free festivals like “The Big Build” explore building-related themes.