Studying historical figures can be really fun for kids. These simple ways to have fun learning about historical figures will bring history to life in your homeschool.
It is one thing to teach history by the events that occurred and by the location in which they took place. Making history connect with us is a whole other monster.
Learning history by learning about historical figures assist us with teaching events in a manner by which kids can relate.
For instance, teaching about Harriet Tubman and what she did to help slaves provides a glimpse of the experience of teaching children what it meant to live during that time.
Teaching about the holocaust comes to life when we experience the firsthand diary writings of Anne Frank. Anne was a Jewish girl who hid from the Nazis for nearly two years in a small hiding place.
As humans, by nature, we relate to others as such. We can understand the fear of a little girl trying not to be caught by someone who might hurt her.
We can understand Harriet Tubman’s heart for wanting to help people no matter the cost. Kids can relate to that, and they can learn from that.
Now, solely reading books may not be the best way your child wants to learn. My daughter would LOVE to just read about every single historical figure.
My son, on the other hand, would rather eat green bean and liver soup than read one more book. No offense to those who love green bean and liver soup. More power to you, but that is a no-go in my home.
I am all for biographies as you can probably tell. Let your children read age-appropriate books about historical figures.
Help your children relate the time period they are studying. Assist them in experiencing life through a real person and see the benefit they get from it. Compassion and empathy in addition to historical context are only a few.
So now, what do we do after we expose our kids to a biography about a historical figure? Or what can we do to help our younger kids learn about historical figures without reading an entire biography?
You make it totally fun!
Check out these ways to have fun learning about historical figures in your homeschool:
1. Your choice or theirs?
The first thing that will make learning fun is giving your child the opportunity to choose their own historical figure.
What I do is provide my kids with at least 5 historical figures to study on a list. Next to each name on the list, I write a short and quick blurb about the figure. Then let them choose their most interesting.
It makes a difference that they made the choice.
2. Life-size historical figures projects will be a hit.
Below you will find the idea behind this idea. However, making a life-size representation of their historical figure is a great way for kids to engage with this person.
Kids would need to study and take into account how they look, what they would wear during the historical period and their age.
You need paints, cardboard or large paper of some sort, and research sources in books or online.
Life-Size Famous American Projects | The Open Door Classroom
3. Trivia or fun games are perfect for review.
Games are an excellent way to review any biography or autobiography your students choose to read about history.
Games and trivia games can also be used after study about their historical figure without reading an entire book on the figure.
In the specific game below, your students move around the board answering questions about the historical figure. There are 28 total questions in total on the board.
With these questions alone, your students will learn and review a figure’s achievements. The person’s influence in the world/country, family history, schooling, birth/death dates, and so much more.
Historical Figure Game for any Person in History! | Late Night Coffee
4. Engaging activities help kids remember.
Studying historical figures does not have to be dull. Engaging activities (not just games) can really help kids remember what they are learning.
In the Who Am I? activity below, your student will create a bag of clues about the historical figure. Then use it as a review and to help them memorize the facts about the individual.
After researching their selected historical figure, they create a “Who Am I?” bag of clues about their figure. They can review themselves or their siblings can help them. Older kids can switch their bag of clues and help each other review.
Famous Historical Figures Lesson Plan: Who Am I? | BrainPOPEducators
5. Explore their life and works with lapbooks.
Admittedly, I had no idea what a lapbook was prior to homeschooling. Yet they have proven to be extremely useful in our educational journey.
Lapbooking is a great hands-on way for your kids to research and learn a topic. Studying historical figures lends itself well to lapbooks. It is a great activity to go alongside your lessons.
Biography Research Report For Any Person | What I Have Learned
Haggai the Prophet Lapbook | Teach for Jesus
FREE Anne Frank Lapbook And Activities | Diary of a First Child
Mo Willems Author Study- Interactive Lapbook | Live, Laugh, Teach, First Grade
FREE George Washington Lapbook | HomeschoolHelperOnline
6. Writing prompts in relation to the historical figure will get kids thinking.
Getting kids to write AND learn is a win, win for any family. However, what making writing fun? Writing prompts do!
How you ask questions to trigger a child’s imagination makes a difference. Write an essay about Martin Luther King Jr. is a completely different motivator than this writing prompt assignment:
Why do you think segregation is wrong? How would you try to convince someone in support of segregation that it was not fair? Would you be successful? Why or why not?
Write a paragraph explaining how discrimination and prejudice impact our world today.
(both questions from Education World)
Writing prompts can be even more fun if you need to get kids writing with imagination. Maybe something like:
If you could invent the hidden place where Anne Frank stayed, describe in detail how it would look, then draw it.
Have your students present their writing prompts to each other or to you.
The Journal Entry of a Historical Figure | Writing with Sharon Watson
22 Interesting Essay Writing Prompts About Historic Figures | Europly Wood
Here are some more freebies and resources to have fun learning about historical figures:
Famous Historical Figures Coloring Book | Teach Beside Me
Lewis And Clark Lesson Plan and FREE Writing Activity | Frogs, Fairies and Lesson Plans
Martin Luther King Craft- With My Two Hands | JDaniel4’s Mom
Biography idea – George Washington | First Grade Sugar
FREE President Songs and Rhymes For Circle Time | Living Montessori Now
I am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer Unit Study | Surviving on a Teacher’s Salary
Famous Historical Figures Research Project | Little Teacher Wife
Historical Figures and Character Traits Puzzles | Tannery Loves Teaching
A simple way to teach children about historical figures | The Frugal Girl
Ancient Rome Historical Figure Cards | Research Planet
Sensory Figures For Interactive Notebooks | Teaching Science
Famous Americans Trading Cards | Bow Tie Guy and Wife
20 Historical Figures Worth Knowing | Research Planet
Teach Historical Figures Like Scripture Does | The Old Schoolhouse
Heroes of History- Biographies Kids Will Love | The Secret Life of Homeschoolers
Who Am I? People of the American Revolution | Rigorous Resources by Lisa
God placed a great emphasis on teaching us through the people in the Bible. This goes to show just how important people are in our history. Do not forget to study historical figures in God’s word along with normal people in history.
It was important to God that we be taught by the lives of people, and we should see it just as vital to our child’s learning of history.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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