Sunday Post: Plains…What Did Kids Do In Little House On The Prairie?

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge…today’s theme is PLAINS.

The dictionary defines plains as: ‘A stretch of nearly level treeless country.



These snow-covered plains might have been the backyard of young Laura Ingalls Wilder who wrote Little House on the Prairie. When I looked at this painting, I got the feeling that if I walked around the small stand of trees, I would stumble upon her little homestead.

I used to love watching the Little House television series. I’d had a crush on Michael Landon ever since high school when Bonanza aired, with Michael Landon starring as Little Joe. I remember trading hard-won information with my best friend, Jane…how tall he was, what color eyes…all the little tidbits we could discover from pouring over celebrity magazines…there were no computers or internet or Google searches in those days.

Those old reruns are still enjoyable…and provide valuable lessons that are timely and timeless. Here are three of those:

  • Kids need routines
  • Kids need rules
  • Kids need responsibilities

Routines help everything run smoothly…like when to go to bed and when to do homework.

Rules help everyone know what is expected of them…like no phone calls or texting during dinner time.

Responsibilities help each person feel useful and valuable…like clearing the table or picking up toys.

A family is like a business that operates on love and teamwork and respect.

Watch some of these old shows if you can…you’ll see what I mean.

viv reading with jake 

Back in the day of Little House on the Prairie and Ponderosa, there were no iPads, iPods or iPhones. Did you realize that all of those begin with the letter ‘I’? One of the biggest problems today is the disconnection between people. Years ago, reading, crafting and cooking were three activities that families did together. Today, many parents and kids go shopping together, eat dinner together or sit watching TV together in the same room, but each is busy texting or checking emails or twitter on their phones. If you’d like to bring back some family time, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking  gives picture book recommendations, quick and easy craft projects and simple child-friendly recipes.  Click this link to buy a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together


It’s the Year of the Snake!


About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on February 24, 2013, in Family Activities, Family Values, Old TV Shows, Sunday Post, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing your beautiful image and inspiration Vivian 🙂


  2. Things certainly are different today from the days of Little House. I hope parents with young children read this post 🙂


  3. Jake always comes up with inspiring prompts. Vivian, I too watched The Little House on the Prairie and little Joe melted many a woman’s heart. 🙂


    • Who knew that Little Joe Cartwright would become such a powerful actor/director? Little House and Highway to Heaven were uplifting positive feel-good shows…we need more of those now.:) Thanks, Tracy…I’m sure I was not alone in my hero worship of him back then.


  4. You are so right. People are disconnected today because society promotes selfishness and greed. There have always been problems in the world, but things were better back in the days when TV showed programs like Little House on the Prairies and The Waltons. My family always watched them together and I know we had better values than kids (and adults) have today. Parents need to become parents again and start teaching their children how to have integrity.


    • Thanks so much for coming by…and leaving such an insightful comment.:) Perhaps sometimes when the solution is so simple, people miss it and look for complicated answers. Deciding to implement those three R’s MIGHT make the difference between chaos and harmony in many homes.


  5. I should check if our library has the Little House on the Prairie on DVD. I’d like to show it to my kids before we try the books. I remember watching the show every week, and wanting to read the whole series.


  6. My grandmother was staying with us for awhile, and I remember it was cold, snowy, and we were staying inside. We watched an episode of Little House On The Prairie, and when it was over my mother was slicing apples and popping corn for treats, and Grandma was teaching me to make a rag doll.


    • What a loving sharing, Marylin…I appreciate that.:) One of my favorite Little House episodes really made a big impression on me…and helped form the way I view expensive toys and gadgets for kids. It was a Christmas episode…the children each get an orange, their own tin cup and a penny…and they couldn’t believe their good fortune.:) No media influence in those days.:)


  7. Lovely way to weave Little House on the Prairie into your theme of routines and parents/child interactions.. A favorite show — we grew yo helping in the kitchen, doing chores, and learning to sew, crochet and so on. That’s why I love your book.


  8. Fantastic relationship between the mother and kids 🙂 Thank you for sharing


  9. How embarrassing- I remember being smitten with Michael Landon, too. Those were the days, Vivien. Love the painting- it’s really beautiful.


    • Thanks, Jo! I know quite a lot of us were in love with him.:)I’ll pass your kind words along to my husband…he painted the picture. I love his work…he started painting about 4 years ago as a little hobby…and does mostly watercolors. :


  10. I have been threatening for years to write an article on this subject. Years ago I started seeing television commercials advertising books that children could read by pointing to the words with a pen-like device. The whole premise seemed to be a child alone. I hated that this was a path down eliminating the bond between adult and child at story time. I loved what you said about all the devices all starting with the letter “I.” I never made that connection – good one. I thought you might be interested in the following. The info is a little outdated but it paints a pretty good picture. In 2009 Nielsen’s Television Audience Report showed that the average American home had 2.86 TV sets, which is roughly 18% higher than in 2000 (2.43 sets per home), and 43% higher than in 1990 (2.0 sets). In addition, there continue to be more TVs per home than people – in 2009 the average U.S. home had only 2.5 people vs 2.86 television sets. This year about 54% of homes in the U.S. had more than 3 or more television sets, 28% had 2 television sets and only 18% had 1 television set.


    • It is kind of scary, Alayne! Especially when you connect those TV statistics with recent studies that show that young children who have more than 2 hours of ‘screen time’ (TV, computer, video games,etc) and less than 30 minutes of physical activity each day have a greater incidence of narrowed arteries behind their eyes…a precursor to diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. It’s all about balance…but we don’t live in a balanced society, I’m afraid. Technology in the classroom can be a wonderful tool for an enriched learning experience…but we have to raise the awareness of the importance of physical activity…those who mandate all of this testing in the schools don’t realize that physical education is as important a subject as mathematics…and deserves time allotted to it.:)

      Sorry…I’m stepping down from my soapbox right now!!!!


  11. Well said! 😀 I really like how you said “A family is like a business that operates on love and teamwork and respect.” 😀


  12. I loved this series and the Waltons growing up.. especially the rhythm of doing the chores! I had very few ruled and expectations growing up, and I have seen the negative effects from that and need to teach myself many of these things.


    • Yes, Joanna…my mom was a stay-at-home-mom (in those days, most moms were)…and she did all of the household chores and really never expected me or my sister to help. I believe that it empowers kids when parents teach them ‘life skills’…everyone should know how to balance a checkbook, use a credit card wisely, cook a breakfast, lunch and dinner, shop, wash and dry clothes…write a thank you note, finish a project, be a good friend, reach out and help those in need…and so much more. We loved the Waltons also…my husband and I watched the entire series (got the DVD’s from the library) a couple of years ago…what fun. 🙂


  13. Great post! I loved the Little House books and the TV show. I always had my mom braid my hair like Laura. 😉 Great thoughts for parents today to learn lessons from the past. It’s great to have so much technology available to our kids but it’s important to not let it replace our parenting. You’ve given some really helpful tips!


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