Hands-On Activities for Studying Ancient History

April 17, 2020

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Have you ever wondered what qualifies a period in history to be “ancient?” Before I could teach ancient history to my children, I wanted to understand what it meant myself. You can guess I am not a history buff. If you are also teaching your kids about ancient civilizations this year, I have gathered some hands-on activities for studying ancient history to share with your homeschool.

Hands-On Activities for Studying Ancient History


When did ancient history begin?

Ancient history has a whole other meaning than what I initially thought. I thought it had to do solely with dates, but that is not entirely correct. Ancient periods in different locations happened at different times.

For instance, ancient history in Egypt and Sumer began around 3100 B.C.E. String writing in Mesoamerica started about 2600 B.C., and hieroglyphic language in Crete started in 2200.

How is ancient history defined?

As you can probably tell from the above dates, ancient history is really defined by when a civilization began writing or recording its history. The span of recorded history goes back about 5,000 years, which was said to have started with the Sumerian Cuneiform script. The script is the oldest discovered intelligible form of writing.

Why study ancient history?

I think ancient history is pretty interesting for kids. It all depends on how you teach it. There were pretty amazing things that happened around the world. The architecture was incredible (even still around today in places), Pharaohs and emperors ruled, and the art is still revered until today.

Ancient history I fascinating and helps us to connect with our roots and understand the origins of traditional beliefs.

We can just make our kids read or watch videos to learn about ancient history, but why? We can totally make it fun with hands-on activities. 

Here are some examples of hands-on activities for studying ancient history. These are my kids’ favorite activities to do.

Ancient History Art

If you have an artsy child at home or kids who like to get a little messy sometimes, then incorporating art to your ancient history lessons allow them to engage. Children get immersed in some of the elements that describe how people lived during the time or make artifacts that represent the era.

How to Make a Styrofoam Colosseum | eHow

Realistic Cave Paintings: An Ancient History Art Project | Our Journey Westward

20 Ancient Civilization Coloring Pages | Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

20 Ancient Civilization Coloring Pages

Ancient History Food

My kids and I enjoy cooking projects together. When studying ancient history, researching the types of food people ate is fun for the whole family.

Resource and Recipes for a Greek Feast | Counter Cultural School

Build an Edible Ancient Temple FREE Download | Education.com

Steps To Make A Rice Krispies Map of Egypt | Organized Homeschooler

Ancient History Games

Who doesn’t love games? Kids can get involved with games, and yes, they may even drag you into them.

Games reinforce learning, and kinesthetic kids like my boy tend to absorb more information when he is busy with hands-on activities. It is just the way his brain works.

25+ History Board Games To Make History Come Alive | The Simple Balance

Homeschool History Games for Hands-On Learning | Proverbial Homemaker

Homeschool History Games Hands-On Learning

Ancient History Projects

Projects get your kids to put their learning into practice. Developing activities through projects can include various activities that mix things up a bit. You can assign timelines, file folder projects, lap books, or notebooking projects.

Hands-On History Project Kits | Sonlight

Interesting Hands-On History Projects For Teens | Education Possible

Ancient History Maps

A fundamental building block for ancient history is identifying the location your kids are studying. Getting them involved with looking and making maps helps kids get an idea of where the ancient civilizations were located.

Ready-To-Use Map Test Sets | TeachLikeMisgley

Grab these hands-on activities for studying ancient history in your homeschool:

FREE Ancient History Resources Unit Studies Printables

Free Ancient Egypt Resources Printables Activities & More

Great Ancient Civilizations Maps | Maps for the Classroom

FREE Ancient Civilizations Planning Checklist | TeachLikeMidgley

FREE Wonders of the World Cheat Sheets

Wonders of the Word Printable Cheat Sheets Free Download

Ancient History Writing Paper Set | Homeschool Den

Cut and Create Ancient Civilization Timeline | Art Applications – Room 28

Ancient Civilizations/O.T. History Curriculum-  Printable PDF and History Cards | Field of Daisies

20 Cool STEM Activities to Learn About Ancient Times | Techie Homeschool Mom

20 STEM Activities to Learn About Ancient Times

Ancient History Printable Sets and Learning Activities | Research Planet

Homeschooling: 6th Grade FREE Ancient History | Muses of a Mom

Hands-on Ancient History Projects for Tweens | BookShark

Ancient History FREE Interactive Notebook Pages | A Page Out of History

An Ancient Civilizations Unit | The Cornerstone for Teachers

It may be easier to focus on one ancient civilization at a time. So here are some hands-on activities for studying ancient history separated by location.

Mesopotamia Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Ancient Mesopotamia Interactive Notebook | Student Savvy

An Ancient Mesopotamia History Unit | 123Homeschool4Me

FREE Online Resources For Learning About Ancient Mesopotamia | Learning Online Blog

China Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Ancient China FREE Lapbook | Homeschool Share

Some Ancient China Activities | 1st Grade Salt Life

Ancient China Interactive Notebook and Graphic Organizers | A Page Out of History

The Ancient China Packet (FREE Notebook Pages) | Homeschool Den

Ancient China Fact Hunt and Doodle Poster about ancient Chinese civilization | Brain Waves Instruction

Various Ancient China Projects | Growing Curious Minds

India Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Ancient India Interactive Notebook Unit | Amy Mezni -Teaching Ideas 4U

Awesome Ancient India STEM Challenges | Student Savvy

Egypt Ancient History Hands-on Activities

FREE Newspaper Writing Prompts about Ancient Egypt

Newspaper Writing Prompts About Ancient Egypt text with image of pyramids

Ancient Egypt Interactive Notebook | Student Savvy

FREE Printables All About Ancient Egypt | Raising a Self-Reliant Child

Short Videos For Kids About Ancient Egypt | Learning Online Blog

Ancient Egypt FREE Printables for History Studies

Free Ancient Egypt Printables for History Studies

Ancient Egypt for Kids Unit | Organized Homeschooler

Hands On Ancient Egypt Online Unit Study | Royal Baloo

Daily Life in Ancient Egypt Unit Study (FREE For a Limited Time ONLY) | Techie Homeschool Mom

FREE Egypt Printable | The Relaxed Homeschool

Free Egypt Unit Study text with image examples of pages

Sumeria Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Ancient Sumerian Lessons | Adventures in Mommydom

Rome Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Daily Life in Ancient Rome Unit | Heart 2 Heart Teaching

Israel Ancient History Hands-on Activities

Israelites & Early Christianity Interactive Notebook Unit Ancient Israel | Amy Mezni -Teaching Ideas 4U

Ancient Israel Activities Resource Bundle | Student Savvy

Greece Ancient History Hands-on Activities

FREE People of Ancient Greece Notebooking

Ancient Greece FREE Ancient World History Curriculum | Field of Daisies

FREE Ancient Greece Lapbook | Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus

Hands-On for Studying Ancient History


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