To be frank, as a kid I used to wonder why we had to study history at all. Having to remember events and dates that are long gone seemed irrelevant and an ordeal to me. But as a grown-up, I understand the importance of the subject. In fact, I enjoy reading history.
Now that I know why I felt the subject was boring, I can think of ways to make it interesting for my children. If your child is one like me, you could try these 8 tips to make the subject fun and interesting.
Explain the relevance: When you understand the relevance of history in today’s times, it becomes interesting. Imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and forget everything? You aren’t able to remember who you are, your parents’ or grandparents’ names, where you came from or what you had for dinner yesterday. Not having the ability to remember who we are, deprives us of a sense of identity. Similarly having no historical memory deprives us of a sense of identity as a community. Knowledge of history allows us to understand a country’s traditions, its conflicts and belief systems. It helps us understand why different communities have different cultures and why it is important to respect each and every one of them.
Share Your Family Story: Children love stories and we all have a story to tell. So from time to time, make sure to share memories of people and events from your childhood with them.
Make a family tree: Children are born into history, every family has a history to it. Give your child the opportunity to understand their family roots and culture. If you don’t have a family tree in place, involve your child in making one. Encourage him to speak to his aunts and uncles and get names of their parents/grandparents, where they lived, extracting small snippets of information about them in the process. These can be documented and circulated amongst family members. Your child will feel proud to have compiled such important information about the family.
Read with Your Child: Get you child into a library habit. Try to get them books on history every now and then. Reading newspaper stories, internet articles and books about people and events that have made an impact is a great way to spend quality time together.
Visit historical places: Wherever possible, get them to visit historical places, museums, old towns, etc. that they have read about in books. They will understand that history is about real people. people, places and events.
Enact the stories: After reading a book with a historical theme, encourage your child to make up a play for the family based on the book. If possible, allow her to wear a costume or use props that are mentioned in the story.
Television Programs: Watching television programs based on history is a great way to encourage discussion.
Stamp/coin collecting: Encourage hobbies like stamp and coin collecting. As your child collects different stamps and coins, you can research the history behind them with your child. Gathering interesting bits of stories here and there will make them interested in the subject.
Above all, have a positive mindset towards the subject. Never put down the subject in front of your child, else he is likely to follow suit. Be enthusiastic about learning yourself.
In the next article, we will list down some fun history-based activities that kids can engage in.
Stay Tuned! Stay Relevant!