Exploding into History on the Fourth of July!
Hear Ye, Hear Ye! As we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence this July 4, it is a great time for families to delve into our states’ and country’s history. Whether you plan on taking a vacation to a historic site, exploring history in your own neighborhood, or learning about the history of your state, there are many fun and educational activities from which to choose.
Know Your Country’s History
An exciting way to learn the history of the United States is to take a trip to a historical site of our forefathers. You may be able to find interesting sites nearby or take a road trip to explore one. These two websites can assist you in locating historic sites in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Virginia, Massachusetts, and other states:
Learn About the States in Our Nation
Calvert has engaging state history courses available for you and your child to study together (best for grades 4 and 5). Our history courses offer interesting facts, biographies, landmarks, and historical events for 19 states. See our website for more information:
You can also choose which state you may want to visit by exploring these websites that include lists of states, facts, current events, points of interest, and city guides:
Plan and Take a Road Trip OR Stay Close to Home and Discover More
Even better than planning a trip to one of these historical sites is actually going on that trip! Children can be involved in the planning stages of visiting a historical site for Independence Day or any other time this summer. Have them check out books from the library or search online for a destination. They can then draw a map and locate your destination. They can also label points of interest along your route.
If you plan on staying closer to home, visit http://www.preservationnation.org. This will help with getting to know the history around your own neighborhood or city.
You can utilize a number of great books to plan an adventure close by. Children can create maps for one another to follow or develop a map of the neighborhood and include artifacts or memories of things that happened in that particular place.
Picture books for a local outing or staying at home:
Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
Children can locate their town, city, county, state, country, continent, and hemisphere on the map
As the Crow Flies by Gail Hartman
Madlenka by Peter Sis
Books for traveling:
Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy (for sending postcards)
Children can send postcards to family members or themselves. If they send them to themselves, they can record notes about what they saw that day, what they learned, and how they felt at the time.
National Geographic Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas
The atlas includes things to do in each state, laws, fun facts, and maps
Sources for journaling during a trip:
Kid’s Trip Diary by Loris and Marlin Bree
Children’s Travel Journal by Ann Banks
My Vacation Journal by The Victoria Chart Company
Tips for Journaling: journalinglife.com
For our families around the world:
Amazon Diary by Hudson Talbot
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World by Marjorie Priceman
This a great book for practicing map skills and learning history at the same time. Children can choose something else that is made, such as pizza. They can then locate places around the world from where the ingredients are found to restaurants that serve pizza and mark them on a map.
During this festive time of year, when we celebrate the history of the United States, remember there are a number of teachable moments and activities to share with your children. In addition to the interesting activities and books listed above, Education World provides a variety of meaningful and patriotic activities for older children. Enjoy!