This has been one of my favorite ‘tools’ to use with the boys to learn about historical figures from the past century. I think I have shared on facebook in the past, but I am finally getting around to sharing it on here. It is SO simple, SO easy, and (for my boys) SO fun!
A couple of years ago I found an old book titled something along the lines of “people you need to know from the 20th century” at the second hand store for a couple dollars.
I cut up some of the faces, attached each image to some card stock, wrote a few details on the back (full name, birth and death dates, accomplishments, etc) and then laminated the cards.
When we first started using these cards I would hold up a card and, if they had any connection to the person, I would try to draw that connection for them through questions to see if they could guess the persons name or position. Now they are relatively familiar with each person and so about once every two weeks I spread them out, place a small candy on each image, and they take turns picking a person and telling me their name and some interesting detail about the person. We don’t deal with memorizing dates but I will just casually point out the dates for them.
I really strove to connect them to something bigger than just a random selection of people.
For example, Jonas Salk was one of the men I chose. He was the inventor of the successful Polio Vaccine in 1957. My mom, their grandma, had Polio in the mid 50’s and still suffers from that all these years later. All of sudden Jonas Salk has some sort of relevance to them because of this tie and they find him interesting because of their grandma’s connection to the disease he helped cure.
The treat I use is chocolate covered sunflower seeds. They’re ridiculously delicious. These are perfect little treats. If they get the card right, they eat the treat. If they get it wrong they don’t get the treat.
The faces from history are my favorite cards, but I have made these with images of famous buildings from around the world, and famous pieces of Biblical art. Both coming from books from second hand stores or library sales that I purchased and then cut up. (It was way harder than I thought it would be to cut up a book!!)
I have a 4 sets of beautiful animal cards that I purchased from a yard sale and we use those cards in the same manner. All of these inspire fantastic conversations and expand their world in a fun and natural way.
Between Magic Tree House books (which they listen to as audio, I don’t read them to them … I just … can’t.) and other biographies we have covered a lot of these historical figures outside of just these cards, and I have noticed that these cards serve as a gentle peg board on which they can hang other information they learn – and because we go over these cards with some frequency, there is a lot of retention of detail.