Celebrating Pioneer Day – Making Butter

One of my favorite things to do with my primary kids to celebrate pioneer day is make butter with them. We have done it for years and is something many still talk about.

The idea is super simple, make butter while you sing. You can sing pioneer songs and a lesson that goes with the pioneer theme but I’ve had years where it was more of a review day and we talked only a little bit about pioneers then made the butter. The choice is up to you!


IMG_4788 lds-primary-music-time-pioneer

Here’s more or less how it all goes down:

Have you ever worked at something really really hard and it took a long time to accomplish a goal? Maybe it was a project you were working on, a hard book you weren’t sure if you could finish, or learning a new skill? Well,  today we’re celebrating a group of people who faced some extremely hard challenges but because they had faith, were extremely courageous and trusted in Heavenly Father they were able to do reach their goal.

These people were the pioneers.

Can anyone tell me what a pioneer is?

A pioneer is someone who prepares the way for others who will follow. When the church was restored Latter Day Saints lived first in New York but then later in a place called Nauvoo. The prophet knew that they needed a new place to call their home so they could be safe. This meant they had to make a LONG journey all across the United States. This was a time before cars, airplanes, and supermarkets. It was going to be a difficult journey.

Today we will be doing one of the things pioneers had to do. Make butter. Have you ever made butter before? I have these jars full of heavy whipping cream which is the creamist part of cows milk. While we sing we will be shaking the jars and they will eventually turn to butter.

Now, this is not an easy job because to get butter it has to be shaken pretty hard for a long time. So like the pioneers did we are going to work together and take turns shaking it.



To buy:

Heavy Whipping Cream – I usually get 2 things of them from Costco. I divide them into 3 parts.
1 part is for a batch I make at home the day before. This makes it easier to get things passed out
1 part is divided into 2 quart size mason jars with lids for the Jr. Primary
1 part is divided into 2 quart size mason jars with lids for the Sr. Primary
A bit of salt
Crackers – I just use saltines. You could use any sort of crackers or bread (be aware of anyone who might be gluten free or have any other food limitations, we usually get gluten free crackers and have alternitives for those who can’t have dairy)
Paper plates



Make a batch of butter the day before, this will let you be able to prepare and pass out a lot faster.

Put the remaining whipping cream into 4 jars, 2 for Jr. and 2 for Sr. We have our primary room divided in half so I do two so they can have more turns and they can pass the jars on their sides to avoid confusion.

Do your singing time with your kids while they make butter. While they are making butter have someone in the kitchen or somewhere else putting butter on the crackers that way it is all ready by the time singing time/sharing time is over. The person spreading butter could be a member of the presidency, a friend or I have my husband do it. As far as passing out goes my goal is always to be the least disruptive as I possibly can. We have passed out crackers right after singing time but I now arrange it so that a plate of crackers is taken to each Jr. class at the very beginning as a snack. I found this helps to not cut in to sharing time.

Then for the Sr. primary/3rd hour, use the butter that was made in Jr. to give to the Sr. Primary. We usually hand their crackers out at the very end of church so as not to interrupt things.


Frequently Asked Questions: 

Would it be better to start off with the cream warm or cold?
Keep the cream cold if possible. I keep our jars in kitchen until we are ready to start shaking.

How much cream should I use? 

I get 2 large things of heavy whipping cream from Costco. The first carton (it is 1/2 gallon or 1.89L) I make up the night before and this is actually enough for all the primary kids then the butter they make I usually end up giving to the presidency members, teachers or take home. I like to have the butter made up before hand because sometimes the kids don’t get it all the way to the butter stage, especially in Jr! We have about 80 kids in Jr. and Sr. and the butter is more than enough. We also did it with about 6 sleeves of crackers and a small amount of gluten free crackers.

So the first carton is made up the night before and then the second is divided up into 4 wide mouth quart mason jars with lids. Both Jr and Sr have two jars to pass around.

What about salt? 

I include a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in each of the jars.



Have you ever done this before with your primary?


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LDS Music Leader (2)



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