You learned a boring list of people, dates, and events when you studied elementary history in school. You struggled to figure out why these people were important. After all, who really cared about the events of 1492!
But history isn’t a list of people, dates, and events. History is a story we can bring to life for our elementary kids!
5 Tips to Bring Elementary History to Life
Don’t teach history to your kids as a long list dates to memorize. Instead introduce your children to the great men and women of history. Learn about Alexander the Great and why he wanted to conquer the known world. Tell them the story of Bucephalus, Alexander’s horse.
Make the people of history real. What was their childhood like? What were their hopes and dreams? And how did they become great men and women of history.
What is their story?
2. Historical Fiction
Historical fiction brings people and places to life. Often kids follow a child as they’re swept away by the events of their time. As you turn the pages of the books, the characters bring to life far off places. You get see why people were willing to fight, to struggle, and to confront the inequities of their day.
Again the goal is to make history real to the kids. These are not just a generic list of events that happened far away from them.
These are events which occurred for a purpose.
3. Fun Books
Fun books also bring the life and times of history to life. For instance you’ll find series which give the gruesome details about the lifestyle which kids find fascinating.
After all kids love to read about different cultures and foods. My own kids spent hours pouring books which went into detail about the foods, customs, and bathing habits of ancient people.
You’ll also find books about clothing through the ages for kids who love fashion. Look for books on armor and weapons for kids fascinated by swords.
Fun books will bring elementary history to life!
4. Create a History Book
Teaching history isn’t just about reading books. Kids tend to forget details, people, and places quickly. You need an easy way to record what your kids are learning. Create a history book with your kids!
Use blank pages for kids to draw illustrations of what they learned with captions below. Use lined paper for kids to write a sentence or paragraph about what they learned or what they found the most fascinating about the people you’re studying.
Collect these pages in a 3-ring binder and you’ll end up with a fascinating book of history.
Use fun activities to bring history to life. Set up tents in the living room and let the kids pretend to be ancient Hebrews living in the desert on manna.
Try your hand at mummifying a chicken to demonstrate the steps involved in Egyptian mummification or build a pyramid out of sugar cubes. Grab clay for kids to make clay pots or stick horses for kids to ride into battle.
Lively history activities will cement people, places, and events into your children’s heads.
With these 5 tips, you’ll ignite a love and passion for history in your kids. They won’t see history as a boring list of people, dates, and events. They’ll know history is one on-going story, and a story they’re a part of.
How do you bring elementary history to life for your kids?