Friday, May 18, 2012

Touching History

Some of the most entertaining things we do during "history class" are the hands-on experiences.  These are the things that kids remember, and that makes school fun.  Here are just a few of the projects we've found that helped us "touch history" in some way:

We modeled Greek columns using Model Magic.

We built and played with miniature catapults and trebuchets, learned how to use hand slings and staff slings, and built a Viking catapult.  (Granted, we actually started these projects for our physics class in co-op, but at home when testing them, we did learn about ancient siege warfare!)

We made miniature paper models of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower.
(templates of these and many other projects can be found at: PaperToys and they are free!)

We designed our own medieval-style coats of arms.

We played Chinese checkers (even though it's not really Chinese in origin!),

and tried our hands at Chinese calligraphy.

This was in an Art co-op class - painting like Michelangelo!

We made "vermillion" face paint while studying the Lewis & Clark expedition.

Many of the social studies and history curricula for homeschoolers include suggestions for projects and artwork like these, and a search of homeschool websites and blogs (and Pinterest) will turn up plenty more.  If you're not sure about gathering supplies and making messes, start out with some of the multitude of activities that can be done with stuff you probably already have in the house.  A basic stockpile of markers, watercolor pencils, modelling clay (Model Magic is nice because it can be reused many times or allowed to air-dry, depending on how attached you are to your project!), paint and paper will take you a long way, even if you're not artistic.  If your kids have a decent collection of Legos, let them build whatever you're talking about - medieval castles, Mayan pyramids, Old West forts, etc.  (That's how Shatterpoint Entertainment got started!)  Don't forget the hands-on aspect of preparing and eating foods inspired by your studies (see my entry Tasting History from earlier in this series).

Suggested resources (many of which can be found at a local library):

I hope you've enjoyed this series and maybe got some new ideas or encouragement from it.  I've certainly enjoyed writing it!  Please share your ideas for hands-on history studies in the comment section (and I would be honored if you decide to follow my blog using one of the options in the sidebar).  Then join me back at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to get ideas and inspiration from the other 65+ bloggers who are participating in the 5 Days of... Blog Hop!



Modest Mama said...

Oh my gosh! I love these ideas! You have way more energy and motivation than me!

I was out of town for much of the 5 days of blogging, but I plan to take my time and explore all 67 of them! I can't wait to read all of yours!

Stefanie said...

I've been eyeing that Geography through art over on CurrClick.

Jennifer said...

Cool columns! I like all of the hands on ideas.

Mary said...

Awesome stuff! The Michaelangelo art project is always a big hit at my house. Fun!!

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