I disliked history classes as a child because I struggled to memorize names and dates, but as a homeschool mom I discovered a love for history studies! We enjoy immersing ourselves in the lives of the people living in different periods, and one way to keep our studies engaging and fun is by having a little hands-on fun. I wanted to share with you a book series that has been a well-used resource in our home.
We own four titles in the American Kids in History book series:
The tagline for the series is “Discover the Past with Fun Projects, Games, Activities, and Recipes.” That’s a great description of the hands-on fun you can find in the books. I especially like how the books have a story component: you follow a fictional family through a year in their life. The books are broken down into the seasons and what things people would be doing at that time of year, like preserving food or traveling to a fair.
I love how the books save me time: I can still incorporate hands-on activities with our history studies to bring the time periods to life without spending hours searching the internet.
Another great feature of having these books available is that I can leave them out for my children to look through and they can decide what projects interest them. My daughter loves to try the foods and make crafts, my son want to dress up or play games like old fashioned children. As they are getting older they can grab the books and try things independently!
Even for the activities we don’t complete we learn about how things were done by reading the descriptions, plus there is even more historical information in sidebars in the book.
Here’s a sampling of the activities we’ve enjoyed while using these books:
- playing jacks and marbles
- making old-fashioned toys like a thaumatrope, jumping jack, and toy parachute
- trying food like fresh churned butter, gingerbread and apple butter
- making a quill pen and homemade ink
- decorating our home with clay items, spatter work paint, and a pomander ball
I highly recommend this book series, written by David King, as a simple way to add a little (or a lot!) of hands-on learning to your history studies.
Heidi homeschools her two children in Maine using an eclectic mix including Charlotte Mason’s ideas, quality literature and hands-on learning. She strives to show her children that learning is an exciting, life long adventure. She shares their experiences on her blog, Home Schoolroom.