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Make History Come Alive for Children

Updated on January 7, 2017
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A markerPlymouth Rock -
Plymouth Rock, Plymouth, MA 02360
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B markerColoma, California -
Coloma, CA, USA
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Let's Get Started

Based on you age group, pick a book that tells a historical story. The discovery of gold in California or the landing at Plymouth Rock is told in numerous children books.

Read the historical story to the children.

Make sure all the children understand the story. Ask them periodically about what is going on in the story.

Assign children characters in the story. Read the story again and have the children act out the roles as the story is being read. Encourage the children to act out the action. Validate them often.

Change character assignments, everyone gets a chance to play a role.

Create an audience if you have more children than characters with the understanding of rotation.



Play the Roles in History

Take it up a notch and have the children speak some of the lines in the story. This includes all the words between the quotation marks.

Keep the story exciting. Listen to what the children have to say about acting out history.

Dress up the children for each role. You can get hats, ties, jackets, vests or scarves.

Add props to the story.

Run the story one more time with dress up, props and children acting out the story with out you reading the book.

When you visit a historical park or fort, do you enjoy the reenactments?

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Visit Locations


Take a field trip to a location where history can be seen. Your children can become Indians at an Indian village. They can be gathers, corn grinders, or teepee builders. Let them decide what they want to be and have them act it out. Ask them questions like: What is the weather? How much food to you need to gather for your family? How long will it take you to grind the corn?

Create History in Your Home


Take a moment and figure out what can be reenacted in your home. If you have a lot of girls, reenacting doing the laundry in the early 1800s would be a fun project. Search the Internet, find what you need, and collect the items. List the different hats each woman wore when they did community laundry. Assign those hats to your children and let them shine. If you have some boys around, ask them: What were men doing while women were doing the laundry? Have them reenact what men did in the 1800s. Mend fences, hunted for food, check on the farm animals, and so forth.



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