The point of studying history is to discover ways to avoid the mistakes of the past. At least, that is the hope that most parents have for their children’s future. Here is a bonus- learning about history can be fun! Finding new ways to learn about the past can open a whole new world to kids and parents alike.
Historical research and discovery are so much more than just opening up a dusty textbook. Parents can help to immerse their child in history using all kinds of media. Music is an excellent resource because it’s interactive. Merely placing a Bluetooth turntable in the living room can change the way that your child understands history. Listening to music on vinyl or cassette helps facilitate appreciation in sounds from the past. Dance to the music together and then talk about which genres of music you each like best.
Genealogy just got a whole lot easier thanks to websites such as Ancestry.com and others. Some even offer free trials and subscriptions. These sites make history relevant by helping families discover how their ancestors affected the past (and their future). Finding out that someone you are related to did something amazing or historically significant can inspire children to think about their own life and future in different ways.
Another option for discovering information about the past is using video conferencing platforms to interview older relatives. Facetime, Zoom, or Google Meets can offer opportunities for virtual interviews when distance or health concerns may otherwise prevent these extraordinary conversations. Planning interview questions with your child can focus the direction of your discussion. You may find out important and fun new tidbits about grandparents, including war experiences, experience with technology, past careers, and historical event recollections.
Since families are spending more time than ever at home, it’s a perfect time the break out the old VCR or DVD player and to watch some classic movies together. Many films accurately portray the historical events that make our world what it is today. Whether it is a western, a documentary, or an old Hollywood drama, there are treasures to be found if you know where to look. If these old-school mediums are hard to come by, digitally remastered options are often available on-demand through popular streaming services like Netflix.
If admission is available in your area, museums are a history buff’s go-to for a reason. Touring displays recreated to teach about the past are a hands-on experience that most kids enjoy. Some museums go above and beyond to make these experiences interactive. If in-person tours are not available, take advantage of the virtual tours that have been created as an alternative. This is a safe and easy way to learn about history from the comfort of your own home. Some museums provide a premade scavenger hunt to help guide your learning, or you can create your own! Ask your child what they want to learn about, and let that guide your virtual visit.
History can be a great way to connect with your child and to show them that the past can help determine the future in many ways. Making it relevant and fun is a secret that many excellent teachers have mastered using great resources and stepping away from the usual books and lectures. Facilitating learning makes it meaningful, so use these tips to guide your child into a love of learning and a passion for history.