Social studies for kids can be as exciting as a trip around the world. Although the subject may seem dull to parents, kids learn about cultures around the world. Studying the way other people live is mind-expanding. Children learn more about what people have in common, creating feelings of fellowship between nations.
The definition of social studies was set in 1992 by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). This professional organization of educators have played a vital role in the development of this school program. According to them, the term “social studies” encompasses:
“Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology.”
Great, and what are children supposed to do with this knowledge? The definition itself sounds too complicated for younger minds. However, social studies are extremely important in their education as active citizens. The good news is that social studies for kids don’t have to be complicated or dull.
The above definition is very dry. Most importantly, think about social studies for kids as the study of people, from yesterday, today and tomorrow. According to Education.com, social studies can become the best part of a school day. It teaches children about different cultures, traditions, and historical events. And this instills a sense of common humanity.
How Can you Spark Your Child’s Interest in Social Studies?
It’s not only children who find social studies to be a complete bore. In addition, most of their parents believe the same thing. However, that’s because they don’t really understand the subject themselves. This is sort of sad, because social studies is all about the things that made people take risks. Social studies for kids explores human motivations. It’s about people, ultimately. It’s about how they live, how they work together, and what makes them tick.
We want our children to understand the importance behind social studies for kids. Most importantly, they should seek to understand other cultures and see that it makes life more interesting. In addition, even if you don’t have much knowledge about history, this doesn’t mean that you can’t explore the subject together with your kids. Who knows, this might even turn into a fun activity for both of you. They will also then feel more confident knowing that even you aren’t good at everything.
In addition, you should find out what they actually want to learn about the country or era they’re studying. Some children will be interested in wars, while others will want to find out more about how different cultures have evolved. Furthermore, giving your kid the freedom to choose the topic they want to learn more about will encourage them to learn more. Most importantly, social studies for kids should be fun.
How to Make Social Studies for Kids Fun
Here are a few simple ideas that you can try at home to make social studies fun for your children:
- Let your kid teach you. Chances are that you don’t know every little thing about other countries and their people. Therefore, why not let your little one teach you?
- Learn with role-play. Decide on a few characters that you want to role-play with your kid. Also, do your homework in advance and try to guess each-other’s character.
- Put up a map on the wall with notes of events or names. Create a timeline with these important events.
- Use interesting images or videos to pique their interest. Let your child play a guessing game. Have them guess the place and time of the pictures. Then, ask them what the circumstances were.
- Experiential Exercises. Sometimes, the best way to understand the thoughts and emotions of other people is by putting your child in similar situations. For example, If you want to teach them about immigrants in the 1900s, you can create a packed boat with household objects. Additionally, decide what you’ll need to take to your new country.
- Use music from that period! Let’s say you’re covering the Vietnam Era. Therefore, why not listen to specific protest music to get a glimpse into the culture and mentality of the time?
Social Studies Websites for Kids that are Actually Fun
Of course, if your kid would rather learn more about this subject online, there are plenty of social studies websites for kids. This includes websites with dedicated sections for social studies. Your child might find it more enjoyable. Here are some of our favorites:
- Social Studies for Kids: This is more of an aggregator for interesting historical facts and information related to social studies. Clicking on a specific section will redirect you to interesting articles with beautiful visuals that kids will enjoy.
- InteractiveSites: As the name suggests, this is an interactive sites that children can explore to learn more about the past and present.
- Flocabulary: The site features cool videos that will teach your child the fundamentals of social studies. The best thing about it is the fact that your kid doesn’t have to read boring blocks of text. Simply sign up for an account and enjoy the short, educational videos.
- Primary Games: This site has a section of games dedicated to social studies such as “World Capitals” or “World Flags.” This is a welcome alternative to endless text with dates and names that nobody will ever remember.
- LearningGamesforKids: Looking for more interesting social studies games for kids? You can find them at Learning Games for Kids.
- JumpStart: Ever wanted to build your own pyramid? You can do it on JumpStart! The social studies for kids category on the site provides plenty of interactive activities. The site provides clear instructions that will make junior want to learn more.