Before our school year started, I knew it was going to be a bit of a trying year for me. We started school in July as we usually do, and I had just found out I was pregnant with our #5.
Morning (all day) sickness and I were not friends at this point.
While we did school during my morning sickness and pregnancy, I will be the first to admit that most days involved just going through the motions. There wasn’t a whole lot of fun thrown in. I had zero desire to think up fun crafty projects and even less energy for us to actually do them.
Even though I feel tremendously better since having the baby, my days now are just full.
I’m careful not to over-schedule us, however, my days are full of learning with my children, keeping the house semi-clean, feeding this herd of people, and of course nursing and loving a sweet new one.
Because this isn’t the school year for me to dream up and research huge, hands-on history projects for my children to work on, I’ve chosen to go the simple route.
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Easy Hands-On History Activities for Kids
My children and I use and love Tapestry of Grace. It’s a classically-based history program that is written for all ages from Kindergarten to High School. We have used it for 5 years now and love it!
One of the Tapestry book suggestions for arts & crafts in the grammar stage is a series by Laurie Carlson.
These craft books are just perfect for my younger learners! They offer a large variety of projects and crafts on various levels. Whether I’m deciding on an activity for my Kindergartner or one for my 4th grader, there will surely be several projects from which I can choose.
The directions in this book series are simple and clear, so if my 4th grader is working on a craft, she can easily follow the simple instructions independently.
I also like that most of the materials are items found around the house. Occasionally we will come across a craft that needs modeling clay or some other material I don’t usually keep on hand, but most items are found in our craft bins.
Paper Bag Cottages
We are currently in Year 2 of Tapestry, studying the Middle Ages. We have learned so much about the feudal system, which has been fascinating!
Because we hadn’t done a hands-on history activity this semester (eek!), I wanted to make time for that this past week.
As usual, I didn’t have much time to plan an elaborate project or gather materials. The night before, I pulled Days of Knights and Damsels off the shelf (I already ordered it during my Tapestry of Grace planning session). I flipped through to see what projects looked appealing and settled on Paper Bag Cottages.
It took me literally less than 10 minutes to choose the activity and gather our supplies.
Now that type of hands-on history activity is what I need this year! A resource with a variety of choices, fun and simple activities, yet they leave a lasting impression on my children.
Our Paper Bag Cottages turned out so well! I usually make the craft or do the activity with my kiddos, but I was busy cutting out paper bag windows and doors this time. 😉
All throughout the week, my girls have admired their cottages and told me fun facts they remember about the vassals and their fiefs. I love that a hands-on activity cements their learning!
Activity Books for Hands-On History
We have many activity and craft books that we’ve used throughout the years. Each of these books follows a similar style in that there are a plethora of activities from which to choose, plus the books are loaded with facts about the culture during the specific time period.
Here are a few of our tried and true favorites!
This may not be a school year or a season of life where you can spend copious amounts of time researching fascinating hands-on projects. Before you spend hours scouring Pinterest for the best ideas, check out one of these books from the library and save yourself some time!
There will be plenty of years for planning your own projects. 🙂
Old Testament Days Activity Guide by Nancy I. Sanders
Classical Kids Activity Guide to Ancient Greece and Rome by Laurie Carlson
Days of Knights and Damsels by Laurie Carlson
Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson
Westward Ho! An Activity Guide to the Wild West by Laurie Carlson
What is your favorite place to quickly find easy hands-on history activities?