Uncle Milt’s Shed Children’s Activities celebrates 20 years at Goessel Threshing Days

Volunteer Lynette Duerksen helps Karlee Kohls, 5, of Goessel, make a drawstring purse. After the purse was made, a penny was put in to take over to the museum to purchase some penny candy. This was one of many activities that allowed children to connect with Mennonite and Kansas roots.


Viola Schmidt (wearing hat), 16, of Newton and Hoxie Hiebert, 12, of Walton enjoyed making Celebration Snack Mix with the help of a volunteer at Uncle Milt’s Shed make-it-and-take-it crafts on Saturday at the County Threshing Days in Goessel.


Children of all ages enjoyed playing in grain tables filled with various grains native to Kansas at Uncle Milt’s Shed over the weekend during the County Threshing Days in Goessel.


This year’s County Threshing Days in Goessel marked the 20th birthday of Uncle Milt’s Shed and all the children’s activities happening there. There were many activities available for kids to participate in to celebrate.

Susan Nafgizer has been planning activities for kids who attend the Annual Country Threshing Days for 20 years now.

“My grandpa grew up and did this kind of thing when he was young—he was part of the engine club in the earlier days. So we would come every year,” said Nafgizer. “But tractors are not my thing. I like kids’ stuff and I like to do the whole teaching, the education part of all this. The education part is important to me.”

So the former preschool teacher started putting together hands-on events for kids to enjoy while at the event and she is still doing it 20 years later.

This year all the projects had to do with learning about Mennonite history or Kansas agriculture. Inside Uncle Milt’s Shed activities were located for children to make and take with them.

“Every year they’re different. So the Gleaner was the feature tractor for this year. And so I have this guy and he cut out wooden combines for all the kids to make magnets. We also had a station where kids could make a celebration snack to take with them. It had ingredients that represents different things about Mennonite and Kansas. And each one of the items there had a reason why it’s in that snack bag. And so that’s kind of our special thing for 20 years,” said Nafgizer.

Another activity was a coloring sheet to celebrate the event’s 50th anniversary.

“They could also make little drawstring purses which are fabric circles with slits. And then they pull it tight with yarn, and put a penny in there and they take it gift shop to get penny candy. Just like Little House of the Prairie,” said Nafgizer. “We also had a scavenger hunt based on a book about a little Mennonite boy who came from Russia to here.”

Nafgizer explained that the goal of both activities was to get children to visit the other buildings and learn even more.

She said, “And then there’s a life application question too. Like they’re packing their trunks. What would you pack if you were going on a trip? All is meant to be hands-on and help them learn.”

There were also activities available outside the shed for the younger kids to play with such as washing dishes or playing in grain tables filled with different types of grain.

“It used to be that children were ready to go home long before the parents were and now with some of these activities, it seems like parents are waiting on their kids to be done playing and creating so they can leave,” said Nafgizer.

She plans to keep on making Uncle Milt’s Shed a fun place for kids to explore and learn for years to come.

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