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1893 World’s Fair

Posted under Family Resources


Stories help us imagine past times and places and connect with people from long ago. This week’s activities are based on a short story called Best of the Fair, which is about the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was an amazing world’s fair! More than 20 million people from around the world visited Chicago to see nearly 200 buildings that showcased new inventions, products, and ideas. Best of the Fair tells the story of how a young girl named Lily saves the day when her family visits the fair. Through the adventures of Lily, her younger brother Joseph, and their grandpa, plus some fun activities, you too can marvel at the many wonderful things to see and do at the fair!

Story Time | Reading, Discussing, Crafting, Performing

Read or listen to the audio of the Best of the Fair, then make a puppet of your favorite character. Use your puppet to tell your favorite part of the story or to make up a new part.

Map Your Visit to the Fair | Reading, Writing, Drawing

Use a map of the 1893 fairgrounds to plot your imaginary visit to the world’s fair! Along the way, discover some of the exciting buildings, rides, and amusements.

The First Ferris Wheel | Close Looking, Reading, Writing, Drawing,, Crafting

Get a glimpse into the construction of the first Ferris wheel by reading telegrams between the inventor and the man in charge of building it. Find inspiration in a Ferris wheel advertisement. Then write your own telegram and design an advertisement for the Ferris wheel’s opening day.

Souvenir Shopping | Reading, Close Looking, Drawing, Crafting

Souvenirs help us remember the places we have visited and fun times we’ve had. People who went to the 1893 world’s fair bought lots of souvenirs! Have fun solving riddles to match them to the right souvenir. Draw a picture of your favorite or make it out of clay or playdough.

Design It! | Reading, Close Looking, Drawing, Crafting

What would a modern world’s fair include? Be a designer and make a prototype of an invention you would display or create a map showing what your modern fair would offer.

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories