Painting with watercolors under the canopies of venerable trees, racing wooden hoops across a grassy expanse and writing in journals with feather pens, kids attending the Fairfield Museum and History Center's Summer History Camp at the Ogden House this week took a step back to the mid-1700s to see what it was like to be a child in the 18th Century.
"Our history camp allows kids to experience life as colonists knew it and share some history and how things have been different in the past," said Walt Matis, a program and volunteer coordinator at the Fairfield Museum, who also leads the camp program.
On Wednesday, the group was learning about the garden at the former farm house, which is expertly maintained by volunteers from the Fairfield Garden Club, and recording their impressions in the journals they are keeping during the camp.
"We were talking about how early settlers from England didn't know about potatoes, tomatoes or corn," said camper Madeline Frawley. "The Indians introduced those vegetables to them and showed them how to grow them. A bad thing native Americans showed the settlers was tobacco growing and smoking."
"It has everything from herbs like catmint and rosemary to leeks, beebalm and strawberries -- both edible and medicinal plants," added Matis.
Bordering the property at the back is Brown's Brook, where many of the activities were focused Wednesday. "The brook is a great opportunity to learn about nature and natural history," said Matis. "I'm not sure if the brook was here when the Ogden family lived here in the mid-1700s, but Richard Ogden, David Ogden's grandfather, founded the Ogden Mill at the site of today's Perry's Mill."
Sitting among the roots of a brook-side tree or in chairs set up in a row, some of the youngsters did watercolor paint renderings of the trickling water or of leaves found along its banks.
Other children, like Caroline Dayton, worked on their camp journals. "I created a diary written by a girl who is deciding to travel to Connecticut from England," she said. "She's afraid about coming to the New World and what to expect. It's fun to imagine what that experience must have been like."