Ages 3-5 | Historic Sites

Do you ever eat eggs for breakfast?  Do you know where they come from?  Would you like to see what they learned in school more than 90 years ago?  Come visit our chickens and sit in our school desks.  We have so much to share!  Shawnee Town 1929 is the only museum in Kansas City dedicated to the Roaring 1920's!  The interactive living history programs and tours will highlight activities of the farm and the town.

Come write on a chalk board and learn what it was like to go to school 100 years ago.  Explore a one-room classroom, and see if you can ring the bell to start the school day.  Learn what games children use to play before they had swing sets and slides.

Before Your Visit:

  •  Read a book about one-room schoolhouses, or watch an episode of "Little House on the Prairie".
  • Pack a lunch like they would take to school during pioneer times –

    • no lunch box (try a pail, box tied with rope or a handkerchief)
    • no plastic bags or containers either – wax paper was used to wrap sandwiches. 
    • food back then consisted of leftovers (like a slice of chicken or ham on bread) from dinner, fruit, and maybe a piece of cake or cookie that was left. 
    • add an old tea cup was used to drink water from the pump at the school.

Explore Lanesfield School:

  • Let your preschooler write on individual chalk boards and sit at an old school desk.
  • Talk to the teacher (docent) at the school about what games kids used to play during recess.
  • Ask if you can ring the school bell.
  • Explore some of the old school items that were used.
  • Talk to your kids about how school here is different from where they attend school.
  • Bring a few $$ and visit the cute gift shop – small china dolls, school bells, pencils made from sticks, and other treasures used during the one-room school days can be found here for very reasonable prices.

 Learn More:

  • After your visit, talk to your child about how life in a one-room school is different from their preschool or Kindergarten classroom.
  • Recommended Books:

Also browse our back-to-school booklist for fun school reads!

  • Spend an afternoon playing some old-fashioned games that the students played during recess:  hopscotch, marble, hide the thimble, statues, kick the can, or Rachel and Jacob. 

Discover More:

Visit other one-room schoolhouses in the area:

View Lanesfield School Historic Site in a larger map

Have you ever stood next to an army tank?  Or looked through a periscope?  You can see them both, along with many other items at the World War I Museum.  Kids are able to view uniforms, planes and vehicles used during the war, along with enjoying some hands-on activities.

Before Your Visit:

  • Prepare your child by talking to them a little about war.  They may see some sad images at the museum, so you'll want to encourage them to ask questions.
  • Call the museum to see if the observation tower will be open the day you visit (it is sometimes closed due to weather).
  • Check out the museum's website to see what special events taking place.
  • Dowload the Museum's full-color Family Guide, with puzzles, map and a scavenger hunt for kids.

Explore the WW I Memorial:

  • When you enter the museum, you walk over a glass bridge.  Looking below, you will see a lot of red flowers (poppies). There are 9,000 of them and each one represents 1000 people who died in combat during the war; a total of nine million.
  • Check out the size of the cannons, guns and other items - things were very large during the first World War.
  • There is a great interactive trench exhibit - kids can peek in viewing spaces to see and hear what it was like to live in a trench.
  • Many kids will want to try the light tables - they can fly planes, create a poster and see the inside of a gun.
  • The museum houses a walk-through crater that shows what happened when a house was struck by a howitzer shell.  Ask your kids what they feel like when they stand in the crater.
  • There are some interactive exhibits - check out the perioscope they can look through.
  • Visit the top of the memorial for a great view of Kansas City.
  • Don't forget the scavenger hunt!

Learn More:

Kids of this age may like to read stories about brave animals from World War I


View National World War I Museum in a larger map



Kids will love exploring all the exhibits at the National Agriculture Center and Hall of Fame.  The Ag will tell you "If you eat than you're involved in agriculture".  Learn about milking, how eggs get from hen to store, explore a beehive and play with the interactive exhibits.

Before Your Visit:

  • You'll do a lot of walking at the Ag, some will be outside, so wear comfortable shoes.
  • Consider visiting during one of their special events when additional family-friendly activities are offered.
  • The miniature train runs Weds – Fri and Sundays in the summer months.

Explore The Ag Museum:

The National Agricultural Center has several buildings that you can visit.

  • Explore the Old Town:
    • See the 1917 One-room schoolhouse to learn how kids use to attend school
    • The General Store area depicts what shopping would have been like in the early 1900’s
    • The Poultry hatchery is open during special events - stop by and visit the hens
    • The Blacksmith also works during special events and school tours
    • Don't forget to see the Train depot for a ride on the miniature train
  • Smith House is an old farm house
    • Stop in the backyard and help do some farm chores such as hanging the laundry and grinding corn to feed the hens.
    • Talk to your kids about how older houses differ from the ones we live in:  No electricity, no cupboards in the kitchen since there wasn’t food to store, everything was harvested or made daily.
    • Point out some of the unique items:  phonograph, bird cage was a very popular decoration, sewing machine was necessary, and chamber pots in the bedrooms.
  • In the Poultry Building, kids can learn about hens & eggs
    • See the huge rooster collection from around the world – which is your favorite? 
    • Learn about what happens after the hens lay eggs
  • The Tractor Building has many old tractors, cars, etc.  Kids can also plant seeds  to take home.
  • The Dairy Exhibit in main building lets kids milk some (pretend) cows, play a game of cow pie toss, gather eggs and look around for ‘’Little man’ & Bigman’ the Ag’s cats.
  • There are many things to explore in the main building:
    • Corn exhibit – learn about all the things that are made from corn.
    • Buzz your way through a giant beehive - Do a bee dance, dress up like a beekeeper, learn about pollination and find out where the bees have gone.
    • See the Telephone & Bank collections –View old time switchboards and phones – Check out the collection of mechnical ‘piggy’ banks – there's even one to try!

Learn More:


"Farming" by Gail Gibbons is a wonderful look at real-life farm responsibilities.  Kids will understand the time and dedication it takes to run a farm, along with learning some cool facts about farming.


"Where do Chicks Come From?" by Amy E. Sklansky is a great book for young kids who often ask these types of questions.  Learn how chicks grow in the egg, hatch, eat and become mama chickens.


"The Year at Maple Hill Farm" by Alice Provensen shows what it's like to be an animal on a farm.  Explore what the animals do (and don't do) through each month of the year.

Discover More:

 If you enjoyed exploring the Ag Museum, you might also like to:

Ride a stagecoach, see animals and learn how people lived 150 years ago.  Visit the kids hands-on kiosks for some informative history learning and enjoy a fun day exploring history.

Before Your Visit:

  • We suggest wearing sneakers as you will be touring a farming area and may want little feet covered during some of the activities.
  • Make sure to check the Events page to see if there are any special activites you may want to attend.
  • Strollers are allowed on the grounds but are not able to be brought through the house.
  • There's a small but adorable gift shop with some unique items and toys that fit the time period that the kids will enjoy.
  • ???onlinemap or anything/scavenger hunt?

Explore Mahaffie:

  • Explore some of the interactive & hands-on kiosks in the Heritage building.  Kids will enjoy seeing what toys were popular during the 1860's, dressing like pioneers, and playing with the mail bags and telegraph.

  • Kids also love to visit the farm animals (cows, horses and chickens) who are kept on the property year-round.
  • Stagecoach rides are a highlight of the visit!  They are offered frequently from April - October.  Check the schedule for availability.
  • Play some games (such as xx) located on the first floor of the Mahaffie Home.
  • During special events, children are able to make crafts, play games and enjoy some experiences of life in the xxxx.


Learn More:

Pioneer printable puzzles & games:

Enjoy a few books before or after your visit:


Discover More:

You might also enjoy a visit to:

  • Shawnee Town 1929
  • Lanesfield School (a historic one-room schoolhouse)
  • Deanna Rose Farmstead

View Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm in a larger map

Learn More:
Discover More:

Come and learn about a President's life.  At Harry S Truman Library & Museum, you can dress like Harry & Bess did, make a campaign button, play some interactive games and make a sign with the famous "The Buck Stops Here" motto!  Your parents will also be entertained - they can see a replica of the Oval Office as it existed when Truman serve and visit some exhibits about life in the 1940's and 1950's.

Before Your Visit:

  • Visit the Truman 4 Kids page to find some fun games and activities that will help you introduce your kids to Harry Truman.
  • Check the Events Calendar before you go.

Explore Truman Library:

  • Walk through the disply on war and talk to kids about the photos and things like food shortages during wartime.
  • See the replica of the Oval office and explain to kids that it's very similar to where the President works in the White House.
  • Point out the 1940's kitchen display and talk about how it's different from your kitchen.
  • Kids will enjoy pressing buttons and listen on the phones at the Whistlestop Tour exhibit.
  • Make a paper desk sign with "The buck stops here" motto
  • Create a campaign button, write a letter & sort mail.
  • Dress-up like Harry & Bess in the reading & play area.
  • See a replica of the Liberty Bell out on the lawn of the museum. 

Learn more about Harry Truman:

  • Visit the Harry Truman Home and become a Junior Ranger by completing an activity book of fun puzzles & games.
  • Recommended Reads:



View Harry Truman Library & Museum in a larger map

Come experience what it was like to be a pioneer and travel the trails!  Help decide what travelers would pack in their wagon, read diary entries from kids who followed the trails west, and see wagon swales from years ago.

Before Your Visit:

  • Consider visit some of the other historic sites in Independence while you're there.
  • The museum has a nice gift shop with lots of old-time toys and souvieners so if you're kids have a little spending money, they may want to bring it.
  • Consider taking the trolley to various exhibits throughout the city.
  • One of the special events offered at the museum are Covered Wagon rides, so check the schedule if you are interested in taking a ride.

Explore National Trails Museum:

  •  The 'pack your wagon' exhibit is great hands-on fun for kids!  First, kids get to experience many of the items that pioneers needed when they travelled west.  Next, kids will choose which items they think are most important and pack a wagon with those items.  The trick is that they can only take a certain amount (or the wagon is too heavy for the horses to pull).  Lots of learning fun!
  • There is an exhibit of a General store where pioneers would buy supplies, and a packed wagon for kids to see.
  • Other interactive exhibits include:
    • Building a cabin with lincoln logs
    • Spinning the wheel to see if you hit gold in the gold rush (although, I will warn parents that some of the outcomes on the wheel may be things they don't want to explain to young children).
    • Pack a saddle exhibit allows kids to see how you would load up a horse or donkey.
  • The Chicago Alton Railroad Depot is also located at the same location - it may or may not be open so check their hours.

Learn More about the Trails:

  • Try watching this School House Rock video shows you some reasons that people decided to move west.
  • Introduce life on the trails with these books:


View National Frontier Trails Museum in a larger map