Delightful Ways To Help Kids Love To Learn History

Many parents and teachers have found six steps toward making education more fun. They bring history to life by:

1. Visiting an historic home, old churchyard or restored village.

2. Taking a look back at family history. You can let your youngsters interview grandparents and other relatives about their experiences.

3. Making a family expedition to the library to look up local history. You may care to try back copies of the newspaper.

4. Using picture books or an encyclopedia to help kids create costumes or imitation artifacts from olden times.

5. Reading an old book or at least one set in the past. Westerns or romance novels will do.

6. Having young people view videos about entertaining times past. For example, a video about the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893-also called the Columbian Exposition-reveals it was a showplace for startling new technologies, an exhibition of the best of 19th-century high culture and decidedly low-brow entertainment. It was an event historians say introduced America to the future and its story can introduce today’s students to the past as well.

Fair-goers marveled at electric lights, refrigeration, long-distance telephones and a primitive motion picture. They were in awe of the giant, 26-story high, first-ever Ferris wheel. They were impressed by the renowned classical exhibition halls-“The White City”-designed by more than a dozen of the country’s greatest architects. Visitors rode on an overhead electric railway and navigated the lakes in battery-powered boats-both novelties in those days. They relaxed by plazas and lakes planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, co-creator of New York’s Central Park. Seeing this can also nourish an interest in science and geography, while knowing that Frank Baum, the writer of the “Wizard of Oz” books, got his inspiration for the Emerald City there may encourage kids to read the classics.

Now the amazing Chicago World’s Fair can be enjoyed in a stunning documentary called “Expo-Magic of the White City,” narrated by actor Gene Wilder. It’s available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and others, as well as online retailers.

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