As homeschooling mamas, we often have a love-hate relationship with art and crafts. But understanding the value of the activity can help motivate us to not only find more crafts for our children, but to even enjoy them ourselves. When teaching history the Charlotte Mason way, craft activities can be a wonderfully creative way to change up your homeschool history lessons.
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Scroll down for 10 crafts for you to use with your children.
Homeschool history and Charlotte Mason
One of the main aims of the Charlotte Mason philosophy is to help children develop relationships – both with the topic they are studying and those around them. Craft activities are an incredible way to achieve this.
By enjoying a hands-on activity in your homeschool history lessons, your children will have something tangible to experiment with and explore. They have a chance to put their own slant on a history project and express their understanding in a fun and practical way. Additionally, children will build their own memories and visualise historical events and figures as they work their way through each project.
Another key aspect of Charlotte Mason philosophy is nurturing children’s ability to express their learning. Whether this is through an oral narration where they repeat back what they have learnt or through a written narration where they summarise the points they felt were important from their reading. But a history craft, and the discussion it inspires, is also a perfect way to have your child narrate what they understand in a natural, organic way.
10 Homeschool History Crafts
Having a history timeline is an ideal way to visualise the order of historical events. Children can be their own historian as they record the dates and events of different periods.
A fun way to do this is to create a history timeline on the wall or large poster board, like this one. Children add their own items or images to each historical period. They can add whatever they like: paintings, collages, photos, or little facts.
For the time of the Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, you can use some free Seerah timeline images by signing up here.
If you are pushed for space or prefer to keep the timeline contained, your children can keep a timeline notebook in a Book of Centuries. Purchase Our Muslim Homeschool’s very own Book of Centuries HERE, complete with an Islamic calendar!
2. Build Al-Aqsa
Masjid al-Aqsa is a place so rich in history that people dedicate their lives to it without ever knowing everything. As Muslims we have a special connection to this place and it makes a valuable addition to any homeschool history curriculum.
Help your children bring the site of al-Aqsa alive by building their own 3D model. Using cereal boxes, plastic bottles and any other junk materials from around the house, children can get hands on with this activity. Use this diagram to get an accurate idea of the layout of the building and its surroundings.
This is a chance to talk about some fantastic moments in Islamic history such as Isra and Miraj, the Crusades and Salahuddin Ayoubi.
Related: How to Teach Islamic History + Book List
3. Who’s Who Game
In history, there are numerous people for children to remember. Turn this challenge into a fun game by making “Who’s Who?” cards.
How to Play:
- Firstly, create individual cards for each important person you are studying.
- Secondly, include physical descriptions, achievements and general clues explaining who they are.
- Then, one person picks a card at random and keeps it hidden.
- The other players have to ask questions to guess who is on the card.
The beauty of this game is it can be replicated for any time period, whether the Wars of the Roses during the time of the Tudors, or the Civil Rights Movement in the US.
As an example, take a look at this Who’s Who game of the Battle of Hastings from the English Heritage website.
4. Family History Journal
As mentioned, Charlotte Mason stresses the importance of children building relationships with the information they are learning. What better topic to relate to than that of your own family history. Life has changed so significantly over the past few decades that you wouldn’t have to research that far back to find interesting things for your children.
Use the instructions here to make your very own family history journal. It’s important to allow children the freedom to express what they have learnt in their own way. Over time, let them draw, write, paint, or stick in photos and collages.
5. Shoebox Time Periods
This craft is extremely versatile and can be applied to whichever time period you’re studying. Use materials and items from around your house and grab a shoebox. Inside the shoebox, build a scene that represents a scene or location from your history lesson.
Here are some examples:
- If studying Ancient Egypt, you can build a pyramid, add the river Nile, and draw hieroglyphs around the side.
- For the Victorians, you could fashion a traditional Victorian street in London, complete with small toy models that children used to play with.
- If studying the American Civil War, you can build a depiction of the Battle of Gettysburg from 1863.
Use this link for further instructions and shoebox diorama ideas.
6. Famous Buildings
Using model clay or playdough, you and your children can help each other to recreate famous historical buildings. Look at photos or documentaries, and discuss the history of the buildings as you work. You could build:
- The Great Wall of China
- The Colosseum in Rome
- The Ka’ba
- The Lincoln Memorial, etc.
7. Time Travelling Homeschool History Passport
As you go through your various history projects, help children feel connected to and excited by the many different cultures and ways of life you are discovering. A great way to do this is to encourage children to keep their own record.
Using the notebook tutorial for the Family History Journal, create a Time Travelling Passport. Children can draw things they discover about different time periods, stick in images they find during research, or note down their narrations. This craft can go alongside your Book of Centuries [insert purchase link here] and together they will make a wonderful record of your child’s historical discoveries and learning journey.
Another great addition to this activity would be the Magic Treehouse books [insert Amazon link here]. This series features two children who travel back to different time periods in a magical treehouse. Your children can use their passport to document their own time-travelling adventures!
Related: Get FREE Seerah Timeline Images HERE
8. Get Cooking
If there is one thing the internet has an abundance of, it’s recipes! What’s more, some recipes are child-friendly and will make a lovely addition to your homeschool history curriculum. Using different time periods and cultures, you can have themed cooking sessions. Try some of these to start off with:
- Viking Bread
- Ancient Egyptian Date Balls (I had no idea this tasty snack was so ancient!)
- Tudor feast recipes
- Pasteli from Ancient Greece
9. Historical DIY
The next time you venture to the park or a local nature walk set your children a DIY tools challenge. During the Stone Age prehistoric people utilised stone, trees and leaves to craft basic tools. See what your children can create and bring home as a prehistoric souvenir. They could even draw their creations in their Time Travelling Passport!
If you need some ideas, check out these engineering challenge ideas!
10. Learn Through Art
Artistic expression has changed significantly. From cave paintings of mammoths to Michelangelo’s depictions of the Book of Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. A great way for children to connect and relate to these works of art is to try and replicate them for themselves.
Because of the wide range of art projects to choose from, this project is perfect for children of different ages. They can pick any image they feel comfortable with, whether it’s a cave sketching, Egyptian drawings from tombs or complete Tudor paintings.
Don’t forget to add the dates of the original works of art in your Book of Centuries!
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Related: How to use a Book of Centuries
Creative homeschool history for everyone
As you can see, homeschool history lessons don’t have to mean reading long biographies and composing written narrations. Craft activities are a creative form of narration and an opportunity for your child to spend time with the information they have encountered. Therein lies the beauty of the Charlotte Mason philosophy – you can mould the lessons to suit you and your children!