History can be a notoriously boring subject to both teach and learn. However, it doesn’t have to be.
With some simple History lesson plans, tips and ideas you can teach fun and exciting lessons that result in your child having a broad knowledge of different historical events.
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In this post I’ll be sharing some of my favourite history lesson plans, tips and ideas to ensure that you and your child(ren) have many engaging, exciting and fun history lessons together.
As always, if you’ve any additional ideas that you’d like to share and have featured in this article, then feel free to leave me a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.
1. Incorporate Gameschooling
A couple of months ago I shared a post about gameschooling. I’m a firm believer that children learn through play and game schooling is a fantastic example of this.
My friend Charlene over at Hess Un-Academy saw the post and got in touch to let me know about an awesome game that’s perfectly suited to history – Age of Empires.
Age of Empires is actually a video game that’s been around for the best part of two decades, however, it’s recently been redesigned and relaunched and as a result, has become incredibly popular.
For those who don’t know, Age of Empires is a strategy game developed by Microsoft that puts you back into ancient history and throws you into the middle ages. When you start the game you’ll be required to pick an ancient civilization to play with.
There’s a whole host of civilization options in the main version of the game, however, more are available (Huns, Vikings, Chinese, Koreans, Mayans, Byzantines) if you choose to purchase the game expansion packs. This is a non-fiction game in the sense that all of these civilizations are based upon real nations.
Alongside learning about a range of different civilizations you’ll also gain a depth of knowledge by learning more about some of the most influential characters from within each of the civilizations, this includes Joan of Arc, Atilla the Hun, and Ghengis Khan.
Generally speaking, the more you know about the timeline and history of the civilizations, the better you’ll be able to play the game and the more likely you are to win when competing with other players.
There’s a detailed write-up of each of the civilizations included in the game, and my friend Charlene has even put together this incredible worksheet pack for kids to fill in.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Use Films & Videos
We’re all more conscious than ever about the amount of time our children spend in front of screens. Instead, many of us try tirelessly to complete activities ourselves, however, it’s unreasonable to expect everything to be hands-on 100% of the time.
Letting go of the reins can be hard. However, in moderation, it’s going to provide you with an opportunity to catch up on some self-care, home organization or teaching your other children (if you’re homeschooling more than one).
Of course, this isn’t a selfish act, there are many videos that your children will learn more from when they are orchestrated as part of an educational video as a result of high-quality filming, resources and through engaging well researched demonstrations.
This incredible list of 100 educational Youtube channels is a prime example of just that.
All of these videos are free to watch on Youtube, however, you can support your favourite channels through services such as Youtube Join and Patreon.
3. Go On A Field Trip
There is a misconception that field trips have to be too far places and cost a lot of money and I’m here to tell you that’s not true, well, it doesn’t have to be true.
I mean, sure you can make field trips to far-flung places and they can be expensive, but they can also be both local, affordable and still provide your child with high quality hands-on educational experiences.
History is the perfect subject for field trips, and there’s plenty of places in the USA that have educational historic significance despite the US being relatively young as a nation when compared to others around the world.
A prime example of that is historical museums that hold artefacts from either a selected region (or regions) or from a specific period.
Did you know you can also take plenty of these field trips virtually without leaving your own home? Book shark has compiled a list of 32 virtual field trips for American History that can help awaken your child’s love of American history.
4. Get Creative!
Regardless of the time period, your studying there is a whole range of different activities and crafts for you to use as part of your history curriculum.
I believe that children learn best from hands-on activities, and luckily there’s a vast number of educational historic crafts for children young and old to take part in which can be used to either reinforce or introduce certain time periods or historic events.
Some of my favourite history based crafts include;
Making Mud Bricks
Making mud bricks is cheap, fun and really does give kids a good idea about life in Egypt (or lots of places in the middle east, really…where most people made their houses out of mud bricks).
This craft is messy! If you can, put your brick making area outside. If you can’t, protect your floor with a large tarp and line the outsides of the area with towels for kids to wipe their feet off on.
Make A Archaeology + Palaeontology Layer Cake
If you don’t fancy demonstrating palaeontology in the garden then consider making a layer cake and using that as your ‘dig site’. This is a genius idea that incorporates a number of different skills for children up to around 10 years old.
If your children are around that 10-year-old mark then consider also getting them to string up the cake as the dig site and mark off where they found each of the items – just be sure they don’t accidentally eat any of them in the process.
Make A Toilet Paper Mummy
This activity is sure to get a lot of laughs from your young ones. Better still, it’s very easy to do, and all you need is a roll (or maybe two) of toilet paper per person.
Have whoever is being ‘mummified’ hold the end of the toilet paper in their hand and then slowly and gently walk around them until they are completely wrapped in toilet paper.
This demonstration is the perfect lead into ancient history and the importance of mummification in these times.