Big Moments in History for Little Kids

Eliza Clark
November 7, 2012

Life with young children is all about the little moments: the small happenings and regular routines that, strung together, make up our days. Immersed, as we are, in the here and now, we often give short shrift to the larger news of the day. Yet living through a presidential election, and fielding our kids' questions about why we vote and why elections matter makes us realize that they are starting to pay attention to the bigger moments of history too.

American history is full of great stories. The key turning points and celebrated moments that we know so well are full of adventure and intriguing characters. As our children begin to enjoy longer and more complex narratives, they are at a prime age to appreciate many of the important moments from our collective past. There's no need to wait for them to learn this stuff in school. Indeed, kids can often appreciate and enjoy history more outside the classroom when it's presented as an exciting set of stories rather than an academic subject.

For parents who are history buffs, sharing these stories with our kids is a joy. We may not remember all the details of how the Revolutionary War unfolded, but we can brush up together fast enough with the help of excellent, kid-friendly history books and a number of online resources such as Scholastic's History MysterySmithsonian Kids, and the BBC's History for Kids. We can start by taking our kids to visit historical sites and museums, reading history with them, and talking with them about the significance of big moments in history. Soon enough, we are likely to have some young history buffs on our hands! (Case in point: my ten-year-old nephew who knows far more about WWII history than I ever will.)

In the next few days, we'll be offering ideas for how to get your kids into some of the big moments of American history: the Revolutionary period, the Great Depression, and the 1969 moon landing. These are just ideas to start you off. Any historical period you care about is a great place to begin. And when our kids do get to these subjects in school, they'll have a head start based on understanding the fun of learning and the deep, personal meaning of the past to all of us.

From the Parents

Similar Articles

The Savvy Library

From the educational to the whimsical, our Savvy editors help you explore your world. You can search our 1977 articles by keyword, subject, or date.

Notable Selection

Below you'll find some of the more popular selections from the Savvy Library: