Our family has been learning American history this year. Oh yes, we have been sailing with Columbus, rubbing elbows with Native Americans, and exploring the colonial times together! One thing I’ve learned is that shaking things up a bit now and then is essential to keeping their interest. I want to make American history FUN for them!
There are some simple things we can do to freshen up our American history studies. Check out my 7 top tips below! I’ll also share about some resources that we’ve been enjoying. Sometimes a busy homeschooling mama needs an EASY and effective solution. These books have been a huge blessing to us lately!
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7 Ways to Make American History Fun for Kids
Use Simple Visuals
Most kids are VERY visual, so introducing some new visuals can be really exciting for them. Try finding some movies on Netflix, YouTube, or from the library on the specific topic you are studying. Just be sure to preview ahead of time to find the right one! You can also put up posters or even use placemats for things like U.S. maps, charts of the presidents, etc. We have a big map in the living room and use a place mat with all the presidents’ faces, term dates, and political party to help us memorize them.
Do Hands-On Activities
Simple hands-on activities are a great way to change up your studies. You can practice drawing or coloring maps, do some simple workbook games and puzzles, or use Legos to build anything – states, monuments, or scenes from history! These ideas are particularly useful for the busy mom of many because they are so easy! If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can look up recipes for the period you are studying and try them with your kids.
Biographies and living books are a great option for going deeper in a topic. Many of the Dover books have simple biographies perfect for a mixed age group. We’ve been reading them to each other and then the older kids do the activities! You can also always find a good kids’ biography book for the person you want to learn more about. You’ll be surprised how much your kids enjoy biographical information and what they will retain!
Go on Field Trips
Look up your local resources and see what you can do for field trips. If there are monuments, memorials, museums, or other fun places you can visit as a family, you’ll find a gold mine in conversations and experiences that they will remember for a lifetime! You may also find some related events happening in your area if holidays like Independence Day or Memorial Day are coming up soon.
Use Educational Coloring Pages
This is one of my favorite things to do. I’m often reading to my kids from a book on our American history studies. Giving them some relevant coloring pages is a huge help in keeping them quiet and focused as I read to them. They remember so much more of what they hear and get educational value out of the coloring pages as well! Try coloring pages for each state, a U.S. map, important people, or scenes from history. We LOVE how well done the Dover books are for this. My kids really enjoy them.
Try Mazes and Fun Games
Find a great board game or workbook with fun games, mazes, and activities that keep your kids entertained while they learn something new! This is particularly helpful for my oldest son who loves all things game related. He delights in fun facts and remembers brief descriptions, but he gets to do activities that don’t feel anything like school! Find some resources that are a great fit for your kids.
Go on a Rabbit Trail
We are not slaves to our curriculum! If your child shows an interest in a certain topic (or even if you do!) then go ahead and explore that rabbit trail! Some of the best learning can be done on rabbit trails: dive off to learn about a particular president, explore important historical documents, or veer into some geography learning. You can do this throughout the year or, if that makes you nervous, try adding them as special summer learning activities to supplement! We do special summer studies for many subjects.
How We Use Dover Activity Books for American History Fun
We’ve been enjoying some really fantastic coloring and activity books from Dover Publications along with our American history studies. I admit that I wasn’t sure at first how much value workbooks would add, or if any old history-related workbook from the store or Amazon would do. But these are totally different. The quality and added value are worth it!
The books have great pieces of information that the kids enjoy hearing/reading, and they LOVE the activities and coloring pages! They have definitely enhanced our studies, so I’ll be getting more as we go through the different time periods of U.S. history.
Really, my kids absolutely love these books and so do I. They love the fun activities and detailed coloring pages. They are so much like their “for-fun” activity books that they don’t realize it’s actually a lesson. You know you’ve hit gold when they keep sneaking away to use their history activity books!
What’s even better is that they are really learning a lot. We have been reading the fun facts and info from each book together as a part of our morning time routine as we start the homeschool day. Then my oldest two do the activities as a part of their regular lessons. Sometimes we alternate between their copywork and the activity books, for example, but most of the time we just add them in because they want to!
Right now, my 9 year old is working on drawing U.S. map from memory, along with labeling the states and capitols. He’s been using the United States coloring book as a supplement to that. Each time he adds a new U.S. state to his map work, he colors that state in the book and goes over the fun facts.
He has also really been into the presidents lately. So he colors the American Presidents coloring book for fun and reads the short biographies to us during lunch. He also is the one I’ll find in his room or in the school room “working” on the Presidents Facts & Fun Activity Book. I’m not complaining!
Bottom Line: They’re a Win
As I said, these are definitely a great resource for us! They’ve enhanced our American History studies and we’ll be getting more soon. Even if you’re studying other topics in history, you’ll find something you’ll love at Dover books!
This Post Has 45 Comments
Michelle N20 Apr 2017
This looks awesome! I can’t wait to try them. I know my son will love them.
Tammy Jones20 Apr 2017
Wow! What an assortment to chose from! Life in Colonial America, A Soldier’s Life in the Civil War, Landmarks of America, and the Story of WWI all look great! My kids would love so many of these! Thank you for the opportunity to win!
Jennie20 Apr 2017
Science or nature activities books
Jennifer Mathesz20 Apr 2017
american landmarks and NY for kids
Christa20 Apr 2017
I would like this set, and after visiting their website., I feel like I could use them ALL. But since we are going to be studying WWi and WWII next year, those would be a good fit, and the martial arts one for my 4 year old.
Jeanette Durkin20 Apr 2017
HI ! I would love to win these books! I also try to make learning fun. My favorite on the Dover site are , “Sparta”, “Statue of Liberty”, “Ulysses” and “Mountain Men”!
Fiona N20 Apr 2017
I also would love to read the Historic American Landmarks
Thank You for the chance!
Shannon S20 Apr 2017
We love Dover coloring books!
Leona20 Apr 2017
Looks like a great way to learn history!
Tricia20 Apr 2017
This would be perfect for my 9 yr old next year.
Charisse20 Apr 2017
Oh so many good books to use in my homeschooling. Right now I need the Rocks, Rivers and the Changing Earth. But I just started looking by the end of my browsing I will have a cart full.
nicole henke20 Apr 2017
probably Art Smart and History & me for sure, maybe the Rock and Earth book too!
Clarissa West20 Apr 2017
Historic houses in new York state looks great. But my boys would love the Tanks book. And my girls would love the Horses book.
Sarah20 Apr 2017
I am going to start our American History next semester and we know that we are studding Fredrick Douglas, so that is what I would get for sure!
Lynette Williams20 Apr 2017
Oh my goodness! This task definitely accomplished its purpose. I have a rather large wish-list in my brain now. Some top picks are History and Me, First Ladies Fascinating Facts, and Native American Dwellings. Cool stuff!
Jackie20 Apr 2017
My son will love these books. He is a Visual and Audio learner and these will help him immensely and he loves HISTORY.
Jackie20 Apr 2017
I did not put a book that I would like in my original post but my son was not here and I could not say for sure what he would like and since I use them with him I thought I would wait until he came in. The book he would most like to get is “Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasures Coloring Book
By: Peter F. Copeland”. My problem was choosing which book on ships, airplanes, wars, Native Americans so he finally chose the Shipwrecks books.
Maria rose20 Apr 2017
Chiana20 Apr 2017
I’m interested in the Barack Obama and Great Composers coloring books. Also the cut and assemble medieval castle.
Karen Byassee20 Apr 2017
anything on history
Marilyn20 Apr 2017
I would like the paper dolls cut outs.
Beth20 Apr 2017
My daughter would LOVE the Brides of the World paper dolls. : )
Lisa Coomer Queen20 Apr 2017
This would be awesome for my three homeschoolers! I would also like The Confederate Reader: How the South Saw the War due to us being from the South. Thanks!
Maureen kennedy21 Apr 2017
Dover books are the best! Great quality and excellent prices. I’d like to have the BLISS Paisley Coloring Book.
Tab22 Apr 2017
Thanks so much!
NT22 Apr 2017
I really like History and Me book and Historic American Landmarks
Kelly H.22 Apr 2017
I am so pleasantly surprised by how many interesting books this company carries! My son and husband would love the book about tanks, as well as the WWI books. I can’t wait to see what else they carry, since their books are extremely affordable. Thank you!
Sharon22 Apr 2017
I like the Egyptian and Medieval sets.
RD23 Apr 2017
There are several activity books about ancient Egypt, Rome, Mexico, and Japan. Also the Greek gods and goddesses. I would think these would be quite useful for those of us studying world history.
Brittany M23 Apr 2017
My son would go crazy over the Mountain Men book and The Great Composers. Ohh and Blackbeard as well.. There are so many good choices.
J Ortenzi23 Apr 2017
I have bought the mini books at Cracker Barrel for car trip fun. Thanks!
Sharon Schoepe24 Apr 2017
My son has the Treasures of King Tut’s Tomb on his birthday wishlist.
Meghan24 Apr 2017
They have so many great ones. I would also love the “Rocks, Rivers, and the Changing Earth,” “Great Composers,” “Spot the Difference: Art Masterpieces,” and several others.
Gabrielly25 Apr 2017
I like the Trains Discovery Kit.
Julie Waldron25 Apr 2017
I like BOOST Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Coloring Book and Home of the American Presidents Coloring Book.
Gale25 Apr 2017
So many good things at Dover. I’d love the Edmond Dulak treasury!
John Smith25 Apr 2017
I would like to have every book at the Dover Web site. Another coloring book would be “Historic Houses Of New York State”!
Narae Shin27 Apr 2017
For more ideas on where to take our US history based field trips and to get the kids invested, i would love the American landmarks book. Or, since I have daughters, the First Ladies book.
Heidi lindemulder27 Apr 2017
I just love using these books to enhance our homeschooling experience! I would love to try any of the books related to World War I or World War II and also the books on famous artists. Anything related to American History would be awesome!
seka27 Apr 2017
These are all so awesome! I would love the activity books.
Kristen28 Apr 2017
I love almost all of Dover books. We have so many already – ones that belonged to my grandfather (primarily Egyptian history and WWII history books) to coloring books I have been collecting over the years. I love their little $1.50 books for coloring and activities. Plus their collection of classes that are from $1.50 to $3.00 are great as well.
Sally Chancellor29 Apr 2017
Art smart 🙂
Terry Robinson30 Apr 2017
These look cool – working on US History for my son next year – the book about the states would be a bonus1
Judith Martinez30 Apr 2017
I really like the Money coloring book.
Nicole Lancaster30 Apr 2017
I like the Mexican Folk Dance Paper Dolls, First Ladies Fascinating Facts Coloring Book, and History of the Civil Rights Movement Coloring Books from Dover Publications.