Help your child to know American history but how ?


★ Help your child make a list of her interests.
Include the sports, hobbies, history topics,
animals and music she likes.
★ With your child, look through your local
newspapers for lists of things to do in the
community. Look for parades, museum and
art exhibits, music events, children’s theater,
history talks, guided walks through
historical districts or tours of historical
homes. Choose an event in which you can
both participate.
★ Sit with your child and show her how to use the phone book to find
information. For example, in the yellow pages, look for the heading
“Museums.” Talk with your child about the places that you find listed
there—What different kinds of museums are listed? Are they
nearby? Look especially for history museums.
—Brainstorm with your child about what other headings you might
look under to find information about local history. Try, for
example, “Historical Societies.” (If your phone book has a special
section of information about community services and points of
interest, look there as well.)
—Call the historical museums and societies that you find. Ask about
their programs for children, their hours and upcoming special
events. Also ask where else you should go to learn about your
town’s history.
—Have your child listen to your phone conversation and model for
her how to ask for information.

★ Have your child begin a list in her history log of local historical sites.
Tell her to include phone numbers, addresses, hours of operation and
other useful information for future visits.
All About Our Town
Grades 3–5
A good place for children to begin to develop an interest in history is to
find out the history of where they live.
What You Need
Guides and histories of your town or city
Whatto Do
★ With your child, research the history of the town, city or area in
which you live. Begin by asking your child what he already knows,
then ask him to make some predictions about what you will find out
regarding when your area was first settled, who the first settlers
were, where they came from, and why they chose to settle in the
area. Help him to record these predictions in his history log —Go with your child to the local library, or
sit with him at a computer, and look for
historical reference materials—local
histories and guidebooks, articles in
regional historical magazines, and so
forth (your librarian can direct you to
good sources of information). As you
work, talk with your child about what
you’re finding.
—Afterwards, talk with your child about what you found out.
★ As part of this activity, focus your child’s attention on your area’s
geography as it played a part in its history. Was it settled because it’s
on a waterway? Did it grow into a large town because of its location?
its climate? Did industry develop there because coal, oil or copper
deposits were nearby In the Right Direction
Grades 3–5
In order to talk and learn about places, and to locate themselves and
others in terms of place, children need to understand and be able to name
geographic directions.
What You Need
Maps of your state, a globe or atlas
Blank paper and crayons or colored pencils
Whatto Do 

★ Sit with your younger child at a table or
on the floor so that you can both see a
map of your state. Point out where you
live, explain the directional signs on the
map: north, south, east and west. Mention several nearby towns or
cities that your child has visited or knows about. Point to one of
these and say, for example, “Granddad lives here, in Memphis. That’s
north of our town.” Have your child use her finger to trace the line
from your location to that place. Continue by pointing out places
that are south, east and west of your location. When your child
catches on to directions, ask her to point to places that are north,
south, east and west of where she lives.
★ For your older child, make the map activity into a game. When you
have made sure that she understands directions, pick a place on the
map and give clues about its location, for example, “I’m looking at a
city that is west of St. Louis and east of Kansas City.” (You can also
name rivers, lakes, mountains or other geographic features that can be seen on the map.) When your child gets the right answer, have
her choose a place and give directional clues for you to use to find it.
★ As part of your child’s study of national and world history, help her
to use an atlas or globe to locate places mentioned in her textbook.

 ★ Help to make directional words a part of your child’s vocabulary by
using them yourself in daily conversation. Rather than saying,
“We’re turning right at the next corner,” say, “We’re turning east at
the next corner.” Encourage her to use the words as well.
★ Give your child blank paper and crayons or colored pencils and ask
her to draw a map of your neighborhood showing important
buildings and landmarks (churches, schools, malls, statues, rivers,
hills and so on). Remind her to include an indicator of direction on
the map. After she’s finished, talk with her about what the map
shows and have her give specific descriptions about the locations of
various places on it.

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