American and world history consist of rich and varied stories. There are so many eras to learn about that the idea of teaching young children about history can seem pretty overwhelming.
Young children, especially preschoolers, have difficulty focusing for long periods of time. Nor are they capable of committing dense amounts of information to memory. This means that while teaching history to younger kids is possible, it must be done differently than methods used for older children.
During this time in their lives, preschoolers are very inquisitive. They will often ask questions about topics they overhear others talking about. The questions will start simple and the more questions they ask, the more they will want to learn.
Instructors can create fun ways to help the children retain historical information. Singing songs and watching interactive videos are just a couple of fun ways that preschoolers can learn about history. Here are some more strategies for making history fun for preschoolers:
Start with Personal and Family History
Teaching children about their own heritage may make them receptive to learning the history of other people as well. At this age, children tend to be more self-involved, so if a teacher wants to get preschoolers interested in history, it’s a good idea to introduce children to their personal histories first.
When you can interest children in their heritage, you open up the possibility of developing a genuine interest in history in general. Start by giving them mini-assignments that involve parents in the process as well as provide bonding time for the family. Finding out where mom and dad are from can be fascinating to preschool students.
Teaching children about family history can open up a conversation about the different things that were happening at the time both locally and across the world. The family history is a great segue to talking about historical events ranging from wars to the civil rights movement. The further back in history you explore with your child, the more you will learn about your background and your family through the generations.
Try Easy-to-Read Historical Books
Many young children learn about history by reading history-themed books. There are many books on various historical periods that are geared toward order kids. However, there are some illustrated history books that are ideal for teaching history to younger children. Kid-friendly history books are typically smaller and easier to read than those used for older children and will give children history lessons in small, easy-to-learn doses.
Another fun way that preschool kids can learn about history is by going to museums. Lots of preschools offer museum field trips that kids find both fun and educational. Going to places like history and art museums gives educators a chance to show preschoolers different historical perspectives. These trips can be especially beneficial for visual learners.
Since reading is a major skill as preschoolers begin to learn, reading history books with young children can also improve their vocabulary and reading proficiency. If you’re having a hard time finding age-appropriate history books, look into the “If You…” series by Scholastic, which publishes options for various age groups.
Getting educational books early on can save a lot of time when these subjects start to come up in preschool and beyond. As children become accustomed to reading, they will begin to want to do it on their own. They start to develop a sense of independence by having control over the pace they learn about history.
Nurture Your Child’s Interests
While preschools may have a set curricula, in the summer or on other long breaks, parents can take the time to explore topics their children have expressed interest in. Tailoring learning to your children’s interests reassures them that you support the things that they are interested in.
A common interest of many preschoolers is the history of mummies. Many museums provide period-specific history education about Egypt and the origins of mummies. If your children enjoy visiting museums, seeking out interactive exhibits that are equipped for young students may become a favorite family activity.
Learning about History Can Be Fun for Kids
No matter how you begin to teach your children about history, it is a subject that can be easily enjoyable if you follow your child’s lead regarding topics. Making history fun and engaging at an early age will set the tone for how they will approach history in the future.
Learn about the Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse® today!