Zap History Boredom – 8 Ways to Captivate Your Kids – Teacher Resource

Are you looking for ways to make history come alive for kids? Here are some easy ways to turn history lessons from dull to dynamic.

1. Make Costumes

Invite students to choose characters or occupations from the historic time you are studying. Ask them to make costumes representing the style of clothing the people wore. Suggest resources they can explore to help them learn more about what people wore. Why do they think their character dressed a certain way? How is it different from the way people dress today? Discuss options for making the costumes, encouraging students to use things they can find at home or make easily. Choose a dress-up day for students to present their characters and answer questions about the costumes. Encourage all children to participate. If some are unable to make a costume, they may bring pictures or books to describe the period dress.

2. Have a Puppet Show

Make puppets of historic figures from time period you are studying. Children can act out key events in the lives of the characters they create. They can also make up their own stories about the time period, thinking about how the character may have responded to a situation that occurred during the time they lived. Or they can bring the person to life in today’s world and have them interact with modern society. What would surprise the historical person if they spent a day with your student?

3. Interview Historic People

Ask children to choose their favorite historical person to represent to the class and guide them as they research the person’s life. Like a news reporter, conduct “interviews” with each historic figure, asking details about their life, the time in which they lived, the problems they faced, etc. To help the children be prepared to answer questions from the perspective of their favorite historical person, the children can either make up a list of questions that they would like to be asked, or you can provide them with an outline of questions you will ask.

4. Act out Historical Events

Children love drama and acting out events, and this is a great way to immerse them in history. They can act out real events from history, or they can make up their own play by imagining imagine how people from history may have interacted with each other. What was a typical day like for them? What was different about their lives as compared to the way we live today? While costumes and props will make the plays more interesting, children can present the plays without costumes. If you do not use costumes, have each child wear a name tag that clearly identifies them so the audience can understand who the child is representing.

5. Bring out the Maps

Locate countries, regions, cities, or villages that are related to the person you are studying (birth city, where they lived throughout their life, location of death, etc.). Using a reproducible map, trace the movement of individuals who traveled widely and locate their travel paths. Discuss how they traveled (on foot, by horse, on a ship, etc.), and talk about how long it took them to get from place to place. Show how country borders may have changed during the person’s life and discuss how those changes may have had an impact on them.

6. Make a Game of Dates

When children study events and connect them with specific dates in history, it may be helpful to examine the different calendars used throughout the ages and those that are still in use today, including the Chinese, Christian, Indian, Islamic, Jewish, and Persian calendars. By looking at calendars that are no longer in use, such as the ancient Egyptian and Babylonian, Mayan, Roman, and French Revolutionary calendars, students can explore different worlds and relate them to what they are studying. This approach adds a different dimension to straight date memorization.

7. Read, Read, Read!

Bring history to life by reading stories, fairy tales, poems, novels, and classic literature of the time period you are studying. Read biographies of famous people. This can be done with a read-aloud time (with you or the children taking turns reading aloud), or by making daily reading assignments and discussing them as a group. You can also provide a book list (including historical fiction and graphic novels) so children can choose books that interest them.

8. Combine Art with History

Add a creative dimension to your study of history by using art to make history lessons memorable. Children can color or paint portraits of famous people and the places they lived, or they can create paper dolls, clay sculptures, etc. These creations may be displayed or collected and used in a timeline as your study progresses. In addition to creating your own art, look at the relevant art history from the time period you are studying to help children understand the skills and values of the people who lived during that time.

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5 Easy Ways To Expand Your Knowledge Of Art

1 – Read, read, read

There is a ton of literature about pretty much everything to do with art out there. Head to your local library and you’ll find plenty of books on art. But where do you begin? You don’t want to start by reading up on a very specific branch of art. Instead, find a book for beginners that’s very broad and offers more of a general overview of art without going into too much detail. You want a book that explains things clearly but is still informative and interesting. Look online as well for books on art. If you’re keen on practising art, you’ll find plenty of useful books and guides for beginners, as well as plenty for more advanced artists.

2 – Visit galleries

A great way to expand your knowledge of art is to visit art galleries. Most galleries display works of art with a short overview of the work. Many galleries offer audio commentaries that are available via headsets or some other device that you can borrow. Listening to the commentaries is a lot more useful and informative because they delve into more detail about the works and different genres and periods of art that are represented in the gallery. Visiting galleries offers the chance to view all sorts of art works – you never know what you might come across.

3 – Join an art club

Joining an art club can be great fun. It can also be really useful because you’re spending time with likeminded people who have something in common with you: a love of art. Even if you’re a complete beginner, art clubs can be a great way to expand your art knowledge because you’ve got a group of people right there. Everyone’s different – get speaking to people about art and you’ll find yourself picking up lots of tips and hints. Don’t worry about going if you don’t know anything about art – unless the club specifically states it’s for professionals, you’ll be made to feel welcome. People do love it when newbies come along because they’re interested in art!

4 – Do an art course

Doing an art course offers a more academic approach to art. Whilst art clubs tend to be more relaxed and less formal, art courses tend to be more focused and educational. You’re likely to have lots of information thrown at you, no matter what sort of art course you take, whether it’s art history or practising art, for example. The great thing about art courses is that the emphasis is on learning. Man courses will also offer you the chance to study more in-depth branches of art.

5 – Learn by practising

You can appreciate works of art by looking at them. However, you can only understand the creative process once you’ve created art works of your own. The only way to understand everything about a painting is for you yourself to have some painting experience, for example. Practising art gives you experience that you can’t get from reading. It gives you a much better understanding of what goes into creating a work of art.