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How to Teach World History to Young Kids

Updated on January 10, 2018

Teaching world history is an important part of providing a classical education to an elementary age child. In the elementary years of a classical education, kids learn the facts they need to build a foundation for further study at the middle and high school level. The focus is on memorization and the learning of facts in several subjects. Many homeschoolers also like to introduce world history at the elementary level even if they aren't using classical methods.

There are plenty of good learning resources to teach world history to young children. History is best taught in chronological order, starting with the basics of hunter-gatherers and early civilization. It also includes the teaching of myths and legends. The following is a list of some resources available to provide elementary age children with a basic overview of world history.

World History Textbooks

The Usborne First Encyclopedia of History is a good option for preschool and kindergarten age kids. Each section is a two page layout. It covers the first farmers, first cities, Celts, Vikings, Ancient China, Africa, Rome, and Greece.

Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer is appropriate for first grade and up. There are four volumes in the series. This is a really good option for homeschoolers and afterschoolers because of the availability of activity books and test books. The series is also available in audio format. The past is presented in story format, which makes the series enjoyable to young children.

The Complete Book of World History is good for about 3rd grade and up. The information is presented more in a textbook format. The information is more indepth than that in Story of the World. It may be a good idea to use both books together. Kids will enjoy the story format of the Bauer book while benefiting for the more indepth information provided in the Complete Book.

History Book Series

The You Wouldn't Want series of books has a large number of world history options including You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pyramid Builder!, You Wouldn't Want to Work on the Great Wall of China!, and You Wouldn't Want to Be a Medieval Knight!

The Good Times Travel Agency is a fun series of world history books. The books have both a fiction story about three kids who travel back in time and nonfiction sections that describe the time period. Some topics in series are the Ice Age, Greece, the Vikings, and the Middle Ages.

The Magic Tree House series has some world history titles with accompanying nonfiction Research Guides. Some of the world history titles are The Knight at Dawn, Night of the Ninjas, Sunset of the Sabertooth, Vacation Under The Volcano, Day of the Dragon King, Viking Ships at Sunrise, Hour of the Olympics and Stage Fright on a Summer Night.

BrainPop and have several world history videos that are appropriate for elementary age kids. The website requires a subscription. It costs about $100 a year. The videos are high quality animations that are a good supplement to a textbook.


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