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Daily Life Illustration

The American Revolution
for Kids

Colonial Life in the 1700s

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For Kids

Not everyone was in the army or the militia. Most people just wanted the fighting to end so that they could get back to normal lives. What was a normal life like during the Revolutionary War?

Food: Most colonists ate well with a large variety of food items available. Storing food was a problem (no refrigerators or freezers) so a lot of food was salted, pickled, dried, smoked or canned (not in a can like we know, but in a glass jar; this is called canning).

Clothing: Most people made their own clothing. (Actually women or girls made clothing for the whole family.) Since fabric was expensive most people only had one or two changes of clothing.

Housing: By today's standards housing was quite cramped. All the children usually sharing one bedroom, and remember, colonial families were usually large by our standards today.

Transportation. To get where you were going, school, store, work, most people walked. If you were going on a longer trip, say more than about 5 miles, you had to either ride a horse, use a carriage, or go by boat. There were no cars, trains, airplanes, motor scooters, or motors of any kind. There was only muscle power, either human or animal.

Games and Toys: Girls were given dolls that were usually made from the leftover material from making clothing. Boys (and girls) other toys were usually carved from wood and included bullroarers, tops, cup and ball, and jacob's ladder. Children also played card games.

Education: Most children learned to read and write, but usually quit school and started working around age 8 - 10. Children of wealthier families might go on to get a formal education and even go to university.

Music: Music was very important to the colonists. Much of the music was religious, however popular music and tunes spread rapidly throughout the colonies. Being able to play an instrument or sing was a very respected talent. The harpsichord was popular as were other stringed instruments.

Government: Each of the colonies had their own government. Each city and town also had a local government. People did not have much to do with government unless it was to pay a tax. The Continental Congress was made up of representatives from all 13 colonies and, while they talked a lot and tried very hard, they didn't have much real power.

Daily Life - Then and Now (animated, video)

Daily Life in the Colonies (interactive)

What is it? (interactive)

Daily Life - quick look

Did kids go to school?

Daily Life During the American Revolution

The 'Homefront" for Women
during the American Revolution (Library of Congress)

How did the American Revolution affect daily life in the colonies?

Revolutionary Recipes

Games

Pardon or Pillory

Merchant Matchup

Treasure Trek

Brickmaker Buildup

Colonial Gardener

Sheep Shuffle