History For Children
Ideas and suggestions to bring history to life for your children. Ways to help children understand what history is, the people and places that helped us become who we are.
Many people love history, but for those who don't, teaching history in an interesting manner is almost impossible. Here are some ideas to help you bring history to life. To teach your child not only the dates and the names of people but to help them understand why things happened the way they did.
History is nothing more than yesterday's news. Granted it has been many yesterdays since some of the news was new. Still it was news then, and if presented correctly can still be news today. Have your children create a newspaper for the time period you are studying. If you make it a monthly paper they can write several short factual articles about people, and events during that month. Let them include short fictional 'news accounts' about things that could have happened.
Help your children understand what it was like during a particular time in history, make bread by hand, make candles by dipping wax, had sew a few pillows, so they can see the amount of work done before electricity. Find an old clay jug, and show them how water was cooled before ice came from the freezer, if you get enough snow cut some ice blocks and see if you can store them for summer. Make ice cream in an old hand crank ice cream maker.
When children actually see and feel and touch history they feel far more connected and can better appreciate what Abraham Lincoln felt when he couldn't attend school because of chores, or what the middle ages meant in terms of human suffering. It has been said many times that the only way to avoid the mistakes of the past is to learn from them. Let your children live for a few hours doing as they did during the renaissance, they will gain a greater appreciation for the progress we have made, and will learn the dates far more completely than if they are given a list of dates and names.
Don't neglect one of the best resources, your older family members, or neighbors. Most older people would love to tell your children about when they saw their first car, what it was like during the depression.
History can be an exciting and interesting study, but only if you are willing to take the time to bring the dusty and dry pages of books to life for the children.