History Activity Books

Short of procuring a time machine, you can't teach history firsthand. The events happened in the past (mostly the distant past), the people are long dead and buried, and in an overwhelming number of cases the places where events developed don't even look the same. You can, however, give your kids more than just words, not to ignore the words, but to help bring them to life in the minds of rambunctious young learners.

It's important to remember that hands-on history projects don't take the place of solid instruction. History is primarily a study of facts, and the learning of facts requires reading. But not all kids are entirely content to sit with a book for hours (or even for ten minutes), and almost all kids like todo something at least some of the time. Fortunately, there are plenty of books available that satisfy both the verbal/textual need and the hands-on element.

What exactly is a hands-on history project? It can take many forms, but most of them have to do with imitating some element of everyday life from a past era. In a book on ancient Rome kids might build an arch out of clay, wear togas, make mosaic art, and create a diorama of travelers on a Roman road. Native American activities might include making moccasins, cooking and eating succotash, planting beans and squash, and making pottery.

There are a variety of excellent history activity book series we carry, probably foremost among them those published by Chicago Review Press. These books cover everything from the travels of Marco Polo, to ancient Egypt, to Galileo and his discoveries, to the history of Chicago, and on and on. Each volume is full-color, featuring classic and contemporary art and photographs, and filled with both text-based historical information and hands-on projects of various difficulty levels.

One of the best things about the Chicago Review Press books is that they're extremely sturdy. While that might not be a selling point all by itself, it does mean you'll be able to use these texts for a long time, even when kids spill glue, water, and other craft supplies on the heavy-duty pages. The books are also engaging for kids across a spectrum of ages, and the activities are far from cheesy (unlike some similar books).

Also from Chicago Review Press are a series of less flashy books by Laurie Carlson that are more strictly activity-oriented. Each book is in black and white, and contains one- to two-page activities that clearly explain what materials you'll need, how to complete each project (with diagrams where necessary), and some information concerning the historical significance of every activity. These are great additions to a unit study, and are generally more suited for younger kids.

A bit more cartoony, but just as fun and educational, the Kaleidoscope Kids books take a more full-orbed cultural history approach. Kids play games, experience "living history," read helpful and entertaining text, and complete various other crafts and activities, all in the name of learning as much about specific periods of history as possible from the perspective of those who lived through it. These are excellent books, and will appeal to both studious and non-studious kids.

No list of history activity books would be complete without mentioning the products from Dover, particularly their historical coloring books and paper doll sets. The coloring books contain text along with very detailed pictures that kids can research before filling in, while the paper dolls include outfits for whole families from specific eras. Some of the paper doll books present real historical families, notably several of the United States presidential families.

Bellerophon coloring books are similar to the Dover coloring books, though typically they include more authentic artwork, including images of artifacts, famous paintings and statues, and portraits of famous people. (Sometimes the images are more eccentric, such as caricatures and whatnot, but mostly this isn't the case.) Many of the Bellerophon coloring books focus on individuals or a series of individuals, and some titles are quite unique: for instance, ancient Africa, kings and queens of England, and Shakespeare are all represented.

What kind of activities you want to have your kids do depends largely on how you pursue their history education. If the emphasis is on memorization and facts, you'll probably want to supplement with Dover coloring books, history plays, and research projects. If you focus on cultural history, "living history" projects will likely appeal more. And for all you unit study folks, pretty much any of these books will be useful and fun.

If you come into our store you won't find a single shelf (or shelves) of history activity books. Instead, we've scattered them into the various time-related categories to which they belong. It's not possible to give your kids a complete history education with texts like these, but you can add depth and interest. Of course, you'll probably need to put an end to crafts and the like once your kids hit high school, but by then hopefully they'll be interested enough to study willingly and even on their own.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

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251 Items found Print
20 Exciting Plays for Medieval History Classes
by Dean Bowman
from Walch Publishing
for 7th-9th grade
in Middle Ages (Location: HIS-MIDDLE)
$25.00
20 Plays for U. S. History Classes
by Dean R. Bowman
Revised from Walch Publishing
for 7th-9th grade
in Theater, Drama & Film (Location: ELE-THEAT)
$24.99
20th Century in America Lap-Pak
from Home School in the Woods
for 3rd-8th grade
in Hands-On History Activity-Paks (Location: G6A-HIS)
$22.95
7 Continents: Africa
by Jo Ellen Moore
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 3rd-6th grade
in Evan-Moor Geography (Location: GEOG-EVAN)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Abraham Lincoln & His Family - Paper Dolls
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Dover Paper Dolls (Location: COL-DOLL)
$9.99
Abraham Lincoln - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by A. G. Smith
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$2.99
Africa For Kids
by Harvey Croze
from Chicago Review Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Africa (Location: HISREG-AFR)
$17.95
Airplanes of the Second World War - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Carlo Demand
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Airplanes of World War I - Coloring Book
by Carlo Demand
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
America's First Ladies - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Leslie Franz
Revised Edition from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$4.49
America: Ready-to-Use Interdiciplinary Lessons & Actvities
by Dwila Bloom
from Center for Applied Research in Education
for 5th-12th grade
in American History Reference (Location: HISREF-US)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
American Adventures Part 1
by Morrie Greenberg
from Brooke-Richards Press
for 4th-6th grade
in American History Reference (Location: HISREF-US)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
American Adventures Part 2
by Morrie Greenberg
from Brooke-Richards Press
for 4th-6th grade
in American History Reference (Location: HISREF-US)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
American Family of the Colonial Era - Paper Dolls
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-5th grade
in Dover Paper Dolls (Location: COL-DOLL)
$9.99
American Heroes - Coloring Book
by Steven James Petruccio
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
American Pioneer Family - Paper Dolls
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-5th grade
in Dover Paper Dolls (Location: COL-DOLL)
$8.95
American Presidents - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Peter F. Copeland
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
American Sailing Ships - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Peter F. Copeland
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74 $2.50 (1 in stock)
Amistad - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Peter F. Copeland
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.16
Ancient China: To the Great Wall...and Beyond
by Judy Wilcox
from Zeezok Publishing
for Kindergarten-12th grade
in China (Location: HISREG-CHI)
$13.95 $9.50 (2 in stock)
Ancient Egypt
by Mary Anne Sterling
Workbook from Teacher Created Materials, Inc.
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Egypt (Location: HIS-ANCEGY)
$2.50 (1 in stock)
Ancient Egypt Activity Book
by Robyn Hamilton
from Edupress
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Egypt (Location: HIS-ANCEGY)
$3.00 (2 in stock)
Ancient Egyptian Costumes - Paper Dolls
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 1st-3rd grade
in Dover Paper Dolls (Location: COL-DOLL)
$6.95
Ancient Egyptian Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Ancient Egyptians and their Neighbors
by Marian Broida
from Chicago Review Press
for 3rd-6th grade
in Ancient Egypt (Location: HIS-ANCEGY)
$16.95 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Ancient Greece!
by Avery Hart & Paul Mantell
from Williamson Publishing Company
for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Greece (Location: HIS-ANCGRE)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Ancient Israelites and Their Neighbors
by Marian Broida
from Chicago Review Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Israel (Location: HIS-ANCISR)
$18.95
Ancient Near East - Coloring Book
from Bellerophon Books
for 4th-9th grade
in Ancient History (Location: HIS-ANCIENT)
Ancient Rome
Gifted Learning Series
by John H. Artman
from Good Apple
for 4th-8th grade
in Ancient Rome (Location: HIS-ANCROM)
$3.50 (2 in stock)
Antique Airplanes - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Peter F. Copeland
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Antique Automobiles - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Clarence P. Hornung
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Antique Dolls - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Brenda Sneathen Mattox
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$2.99
Antique Locomotives - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tre Tryckare Company
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Artists Activity-Pak
Hands-On History
by Amy Pak
from Home School in the Woods
for 3rd-8th grade
in Hands-On History Activity-Paks (Location: G6A-HIS)
$19.95
Ballads of American History with CD
by Fred Cooper
from Noble Publishing
for 4th-6th grade
in America's Christian Heritage (Location: HIS-ACH)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Benjamin Franklin Lap-Pak
by Amy Pak
from Home School in the Woods
for Kindergarten-2nd grade
in Hands-On History Activity-Paks (Location: G6A-HIS)
$16.95
Benjamin Franklin, American Genius
by Brandon Marie Miller
from Chicago Review Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Colonial America (1690-1765) (Location: HIS-USCOL)
Bentwood Box
by Nan McNutt
from Sasquatch Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Native Americans (Location: HIS-USNAT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Billy the Union Soldier with 24 Stickers - Activity Book
by A. G. Smith
from Dover Publications
for 1st-3rd grade
Billy Yank - Coloring Book
by Alan Archambault
from Bellerophon Books
Coloring Book for 4th-8th grade
in American Civil War (1860-1865) (Location: HIS-19CACW)
$4.95 $3.50 (1 in stock)
Button Blanket
from Sasquatch Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Native Americans (Location: HIS-USNAT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Byzantine Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
California Missions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by David Rickman
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Cavalier and Puritan Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$2.96
Celtic Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Tom Tierney
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Child's Day
Historic Communities
by Bobbie Kalman & Tammy Everts
from Crabtree Publishing
for 1st-7th grade
in Pioneer & Frontier Life (Location: HIS-19CAPIO)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Children's Color Book of Jamestown in Virginia
by Priscilla Hunt
from The Dietz Pres, Inc.
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Jamestown Colony (Location: G3C-HIS)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Chinese Fashions - Coloring Book
Dover Coloring Books
by Ming-Ju Sun
from Dover Publications
for 2nd-6th grade
in Dover Coloring Books (Location: COL-DOV)
$3.74
Civil War
by Pat Wesolowski
from Unknown Publisher
for 4th-8th grade
in American Civil War (1860-1865) (Location: HIS-19CACW)
$3.00 (2 in stock)
Civil War
by John & Patty Carratello
from Teacher Created Materials, Inc.
for 6th-8th grade
in American Civil War (1860-1865) (Location: HIS-19CACW)
$3.00 (2 in stock)
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