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How to Teach History to Preschoolers

Updated on December 2, 2020

Teaching history to preschoolers can be quite a challenge. Grasping the idea of the past or a long time ago can be very difficult. One way to start introducing the past is to show your preschooler pictures of him or herself when they were a baby. You can explain that in the past they were a tiny baby. You can then explain that mom and dad used to be babies. And grandma and grandad used to be babies. Your child probably won't immediately grasp this but it is a way to get them thinking about what the past means. Preschoolers are old enough to remember events from days or weeks before. Bringing up these events and mentioning that they happened in the past can help them understand.

Using Books to Teach History to Preschoolers

There aren't very many history books geared toward preschoolers. One that can be used with preschoolers is the Usborne First Encyclopedia of History.

"This is a fantastic new edition of this bright and lively encyclopedia, introducing young readers to the wonders of the past. Filled with historical information from the first people, farmers, cities and civilisations all the way to the World Wars and the modern day, this book answers such questions as 'What were the pyramids for?'; 'Who lived in the Forbidden City?'; and, 'When was the World Wide Web invented?'"

This book covers world history. It has short, easy-to-understand text. However, you don't have to read all of the text, if your child doesn't show any interest. Explaining what is happening in the pictures can be far more effective. You can point out that in the past people didn't have paper to write on, so they used clay tablets. Point out the different clothing people wore in different time periods. Point out the different weapons that they used.

The First Little House Books series are a way to introduce history in a story format. Again, point out the different clothing people wore, how they travelled, the kinds of houses they lived in, etc. When you read fairy tales or any other books set in the past, do the same thing.

"With the My First Little House picture book series, the youngest readers can share in the joy of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books in these illustrated adaptations of the beloved series! This picture book is an excellent choice to share during homeschooling, in particular for children ages 4 to 6. It’s a fun way to learn to read and as a supplement for activity books for children."

The Magic Tree House is a series of books that can be read to preschool and kindergarten age kids. The main characters Jack and Annie regularly travel back in time. The Magic Tree House is a fun way to expose kids to history.

History can be fun and interesting for preschoolers
History can be fun and interesting for preschoolers

Videos and Apps

YouTube has all kinds of fun and engaging educational videos that teach historical concepts including full episodes of Liberty's Kids. Search through YouTube and find videos that you think are fun and engaging. Under each YouTube video, there is a save option. Create a playlist devoted to educational history videos and then show one video per day.

A YouTube channel called NowYouKnowAbout has several fun cartoon videos that introduce some famous people in history. Younger children may enjoy these videos. Scroll through the videos to find the cartoons.

You can introduce your preschooler to US presidents with a fun game called Presidents Vs Aliens. It is available as an iPad, iPhone, and Android app. You can limit the options in settings to focus mainly on name recognition.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2012 LT Wright

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    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 

      8 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Great suggestions. I wish I had done more to teach my former preschoolers about history. They don't do nearly enough history in schools, and I believe it's a very important and interesting subject.

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