Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Educational Resources – Social Studies, History, and Art

What’s on this list?

  • Social Studies / History resources
  • History/Social Studies related activities
  • Art resources
  • Field trips
  • Offline resources are flagged

The All-Important Disclaimer: I have not personally vetted all of these resources. There just isn’t enough time right now to do that. So if something looks interesting to you, be sure to check it out first to make sure it will work for you and your child.

Social Studies / History

Workman Publishing’s Everything You Need to Know to Ace American History In One Big Fat Notebook

(Offline Activity)

From the book cover: “Everything You Need to Ace American History . . . covers Native Americans to the war in Iraq. There are units on Colonial America; the Revolutionary War and the founding of a new nation; Jefferson and the expansion west; the Civil War and Reconstruction; and all of the notable events of the 20th century—World Wars, the Depression, the Civil Rights movement, and much more.”

The Memory Palace

(Podcast)

The Thirteen-Year-Old’s English teacher told us about a wonderful history resource this week, the Memory Palace. Created by Nate DiMeo in 2008 and named a finalist for the Peabody Award in 2016, each episode of the Memory Palace podcast focuses on a brief moment of history. The stories are told with such emotional resonance and crisp detail that for the space of each episode, listeners are transported to that place in time. There’s no need to listen to the episodes in order. You can find a list of Nate’s favorites here. My daughter’s English teacher particularly recommends The House of Lowe and Dinner at Jefferson’s.

“If you like historical fiction, you will love this.  Even if history is not your favorite thing, give it a listen.  You might get hooked.”

– The Thirteen-Year-Old’s English teacher

Ten Great Nonfiction Books for Middle Schoolers (Caterpickles)

(Offline Resource)

Remember when I made that list of non-fiction books for middle schoolers? Turns out books like March, The Notorious RBG, and Illegal have even more to offer us right now than I had originally anticipated. Obviously, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but I’ve included it as a reminder to us to scour our own collection of nonfiction books to see what unexpected goodies we might have lying around.

Related Activities

Document your #Shelter-in-Place experience

(Offline Activity)

Beth Vrabel, author of The Newspaper Club, offers this suggestion for an easy, offline activity for kids (and their parents) during this period of school closings, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place.

Beth Vrabel's tweet reads: "Tell your kids to write this story. Hand them a notebook and a pen. Have them fill a page a day with their thoughts, feelings, observations. Their kids and grandkids will want this story."
Tweet from Beth Vrabel, outlining the project.

This first tweet covers the basic idea, but in a series of follow-on tweets, Vrabel suggests a series of important guidelines for parents, including allowing this project to be optional, not requiring kids to show parents every entry, and making time to help kids turn their pandemic diaries into a proper newsletter, if they want.

Art

Watch an expert art conservator restore paintings

Take a free virtual art class with Ann McMillan

Mondays at 1 p.m. from March 30 through April 20, artist Ann McMillan will offer a free virtual art class. Classes are recorded live, and the recordings will be available after class ends.

Dav Pilkey at Home

Dav Pilkey, author of Captain Underpants, is hosting a series of drawing classes to help entertain kids at home. New activities and videos are posted every Friday.

Yes, you can still have field trips!

Lots of natural history museums have started to highlight the digital archives, virtual tours, and activities available on their websites. Visit the website of your favorite natural history museum or use my partial list to get started.

Find a resource I’ve missed?

I’ll add more resources as I find them, but this list will be much better with your input too. You’re inevitably going to come across things I’d miss. If you do, please let me know about them, either by dropping a comment below or finding me on Twitter (@shalahowell).

Also, although I hope this won’t happen, I could easily add something to this list that either doesn’t exist anymore or really shouldn’t be on here. If you see something like that, please let me know.

Thank you and good luck!

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