For some kids, history is a fascinating topic, but for others it is boring and they want nothing to do it. It is true what they say, by not learning from history we are doomed to repeat it, so it is a good idea that we make history interesting for our little people so they can learn from the past. For kids especially, history doesn’t have to be about reading boring textbooks or memorizing rote facts, it can be about reliving history and truly delving into some fascinating stories.
How to Make History More Exciting for Kids
How do you make history exciting, and how do you keep their attention fixed on the lesson?
If you want kids to be interested in history, you need to get them to live it. This involves playing history. Of course, it depends on how young the kids are. Teenagers are less likely to want to dress up and play history, but younger kids will love it. It doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed, but you can mix it in with a history lesson for fun. If you have the kids wearing togas (hello, bed sheets!), you can talk to them about how the Romans helped invent many of the things we use today including indoor plumbing and concrete. You can host the old Greek Olympics and everyone can dress up, or you can have mock sword fights and jousting matches like they did in the Middle Ages. It can be easy to do, fun to recreate, and a great way to get kids interested in history.
Kids learn from doing things hands-on. A good tip is to have kids make crafts from different historical periods. They can make the olive branch crown that the Greeks would wear, or they can make pilgrim hats like those worn by the pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock. There are many crafts that you can make that center on history, and make kids truly fall in love with the subject.
Instead of just reading from a history book, why not let your kids live history by taking them on a field trip to a historical attraction. Your children will love being able to visit a historical site and learn about history first hand. One great place to take them is a living history museum. These are museums where the individuals who work at the museum actually dress up in period costume and stay in character. For the children, it is as if they have traveled into the past, and it’s a great way to learn. Going to a battle re-enactment is a great way to teach children about history, and it can ignite a fire in them that keeps them learning about history for years to come. If you can’t go in person, virtual field trips are also a great option.
If there are no places recreating the past near you, you can recreate the past at home. Break out the dough, Legos, and arts and crafts box to create a scale model of something from history. You can recreate old battles with army men figurines, and you can allow children to explore old temples and structures by creating them in video games like Minecraft. Build an igloo in the backyard out of milk cartons, float models of Columbus’ boats in the bathtub…the sky is the limit!
There are many games out there that recreate and make history fun. Think about the old Oregon Trail and how much fun that was. That same type of game can get children interested in history. Your kids will be having so much fun, they won’t even realize that they are learning at the same time. And isn’t that what great lessons are about?
What do you do to engage your children in history lessons? Share with us!