Learning about the lives of familiar people, places or events from the past is what history for kids is all about. From the restored old house on Main Street to the first President of the United States, children of all ages can get excited about local and world history, whether it's taught in the classroom or at home.
History for Kids: Preschool
Young children don't fully grasp the concept of time, specifically when something happened, whether it was last century or last week. Preschool history lessons for kids in this age group should be simplified to one person or event at a time.
Preschool History Projects
- Let's Learn About Flags: Preschoolers can identify the American flag and even learn the Pledge of Allegiance in school. With a simple craft using crayons and construction paper, children can learn how to make their own flag. They can also create flags from around the world through examples found on the Internet or in books.
- Go Back in Time: For young children to truly comprehend the concept of time, have them create their own picture timeline of what they did for an entire day or week. Then go back and see (and remember) the events.
- Who was...: This preschool project focuses on a familiar person in history. Allow the children to pick out books on historic figures. After the book is read, talk about the important facts about that person. Use magazines or let the children draw pictures of what they feel the famous person represented.
Preschool History Books
Most preschool history books focus on a certain event or person. Here are some of those books:
- This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story
- Hooray for the Fourth of July
- The President and Mom's Apple Pie
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- F is for Flag
History for Kids: Elementary School
Elementary school children can learn concepts of history and more than one date or place in time. They are able to understand what the past, present and future is in terms of events. They understand more about the world and can think outside their own neighborhoods.
Elementary School History Projects
Hands-on activities will allow older students a better grasp of what took place in history. Here are some history for kids' projects:
- Historic Preservation: Children can find places of historic significance in their town and create pamphlets to showcase those places. They can make or take pictures of the preserved and restored buildings and discuss each one's significance. Children in higher grades can design simple Web sites to display their findings.
- Timeline Through Pictures: Children can pick a famous person in history and write his/her timeline. They can look up the person online or in a book at the library. They can also clip pictures from old magazines to portray that person. For instance, Benjamin Franklin was a successful inventor. Students can clip pics of a kite, key or other items that identify electricity or its properties.
- Who Is in My Family? This project requires help from one or more adult family members. Through a simple family tree, children can learn who is and was in their families for the last few generations. Pictures of those relatives can spruce up this activity.
Elementary School History Books
Your local library or bookstore should have a section of books dedicated to history for kids. Titles can include:
- Fight for Freedom: The American Revolutionary War
- This Land is Your Land
- Oxford Children's History of the World
- World War II for Kids: A History with 21 Activities
- Follow the Drinking Gourd
Web Sites Promoting History
The following Web sites have information on history for kids:
- History for Kids
- African American History for Kids
- Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government
- History Detectives
- America's Story from America's Library
Make Learning Fun
It doesn't matter how your child learns about history. Whether it's at home or in the classroom, what's important is they get interested in learning and have fun doing so.