In our house we believe history should be fun!
One way we love to learn about the past is by playing games together. Historical games, that is.
Chess is a great way to learn about the Middle Ages. The knights role in the game of chess is to protect the more important pieces on the board like the king and queen. That's the way it was in the Middle Ages. Back in the days of knights and castles, the knights protected royalty and high church officials.
How many of you remember a beloved Teddy Bear from your childhood? What's the history behind the cuddly stuffed animal? Well, it all started back in the first decade of the 20th Century. President Teddy Roosevelt was out hunting and happened upon a cute bear cub which he refused to shoot. It was a popular story at the time! Everyone loved that bold, courageous Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a little bear. Soon, there were little Teddy's Bear Cubs being sold to children. We know them today as teddy bears.
The game we call checkers ("Draughts" in Europe) can be traced all the way back to the Fertile Crescent in Ur where archaeologists unearthed a similar game in one of their digs. Of course, we play checkers when we are studying American history, too.
When we go back in time to learn about Ancient Civilizations, we learn about the culture. When we learn about bull leaping by the wealthy Minoans, we invented a game. Placing two party hats on some children's head to be the horns of a bull, we divided the children into our homeschool co-op into bulls and jumpers. The jumpers leaped over the bulls. Soon the bulls wanted to jump over the other bulls, too. It was great fun!
Jacks is another historical games sometimes played with stones and a little ball. Running races and strength contests seem to have popular in most ancient cultures, as well as dolls, bows and arrows, and hunting games. Archaeologists have unearthed different board games, so do your research to discover the games of the past.
In more recent times, games have been a popular pastime. When we studied 20th Century History, we had a history lab each month where we played games from the 20th Century. The kids loved it!
Here are some game ideas from the 20th Century by decade:
First Decade: Teddy Bears, baseball cards, jigsaw puzzles, ping-pong
1920's: Miniature Golf, Yo-yos
1940's: Scrabble, Chutes & Ladders, Candy Land, Clue, Silly Putty, Tonka Trucks
1950's: Risk, Yahtzee, Mr. Potato Head, Barbies, Frisbee, Ant Farms
1960's: Etch-a-Sketch, Easy-Bake Oven, G.I. Joe, Operation, Twister
1970's: Skateboarding, Hungry Hungry Hippoes, Rubik Cube
1980: Trivial Pursuit, Pak Man Video Game, Super-Soaker
1990's: Roller Blading, Tickle-Me Elmo
Playing Games together as a family makes history more fun and helps to tie in culture to the people, events, and places you are learning about.
We love history in our house and have many resources to share with you!
Check out our Teach History the Fun Way page at PowerlineProd.com. You will find cookbooks, timelines, and books about planning and enjoyed fun events like Medieval Banquets, Ancient Greek Olympic Games, and Archaeological Digs.
Our HIS Story of the 20th Century series with textbook and workbooks include history labs. Some of those labs are game labs, including setting up your own miniature golf course in your backyard.
We hope you will use our ideas or come up with your own to enjoy learning history with your children. After all, History Should Be Fun!
God bless you!