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Pa's Homemade Checker Board

De Smet in Daktoa Territory wasn't even a town yet when the Ingalls family moved the railroad camp. Without a community or farm towork, there wasn't much to do.

To pass the quiet winter days in By the Shores of Silver Lake, Pa made a checker board for the family. Pa made his from wood, but you can weave one using construction paper. Use buttons or candy in two colors for your checkers.

What you need:
2 pieces construction paper, in contrasting colors, 10-inches-by-8-inches (25-cm-by-20-cm)
scissors
pen or pencil
ruler
glue

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What to do:
1. Choose a paper color to be the background of your checkerboard. The other paper color will be woven into the background.
2. Fold the paper in half.
3. Keep the paper folded. Use a ruler to mark a line on the edge which is opposite the fold. Draw a line one inch (2.5 cm) from the open edge. You will not cut this line. It gives you a guide to know when to stop cutting.
4. Next you’ll draw lines one inch (2.5 cm) apart connecting the folded edge to the line you drew in step #4. Make seven lines total.  
5. Keep the paper folded. Cut the seven marked lines beginning at the fold. Stop at the first line you drew in step #4.
6. Unfold the paper and lay the paper flat.
7. Cut 8 strips from the contrasting paper. Each should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
8. Weave one strip through the background paper. Go over and under the paper slits in a pattern. Push the woven strip to the bottom of the checkerboard background.
9. Take another strip of paper and weave it through the paper slits. Weave it to be the opposite of the first woven strip, going under and then over in a pattern.
10. Continue weaving in an alternate pattern until you have woven all eight strips of paper. Trim the paper strips to the length of the checkerboard. Glue down any loose paper strips.
11. Turn the weaving over. Glue down any loose paper strips on that side.
12. Use two colors of buttons or candy as your checker pieces. Get a partner and play!
Look for more activities like this homemade checker board in my book, The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter GuideIt's full of history, activities, and fun for Little House fans. 

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Happy Trails! 
 ~ Annette

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