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Goodbye, mouse — hello quill and ink

There were no cell phones or handheld gaming devices on the Oregon Trail, but pioneer children still managed to find ways to entertain themselves. An upcoming program at the Washington County Museum will introduce modern kids to historic games and activities that were common among children of the West’s early settlers.

“Pioneer Play!” is part of the museum’s summer-long, weekly educational series for children ages 8 to 12. It runs from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at the downtown Hillsboro museum.

“The games are fun and challenging in their own way,” said Beth Dehn, Education and Folklife Coordinator at the Washington County Museum.

The notion that kids today only want to play videogames is a negative stereotype, she said. “They have just as much fun trying to catch a ball in a cup,” said Dehn, describing another pioneer game.

Another popular activity is quill writing, which forces children to abandon their keypads for a feather pen and ink well. Participants also learn about how to pack a wagon, and get to try their hand at a few Victorian games.