There are many ways to help children relate to the historical events they are studying — we often use books, music, art, and of course hands-on activities. Over the years we have found many projects and activities to help our kids to learn more about the American Civil War.
Lasting from 1861-1865, the American Civil War was difficult, complicated, and significant era in our country’s history. Our nation was divided on many issues and families were torn apart as brothers fought against each other on opposite sides of the battlefields. It is important for students to understand the roll the events of this period in our history played in shaping the nation we live in today.
Here are several ideas for hands-on activities to help bring studies of the Civil War to life for your students:
Memorize and Recite the Gettysburg Address
Draw a Civil War cannon with this chalk art tutorial
Make a soldier’s meal of hardtack, shortbread, and stew using traditional Civil War recipes
Discuss the Underground Railroad with the help of a walking simulation
Become a Civil War mapmaker to help generals navigate throughout the countryside
Draw maps of the United States and document troop movements and battlefields during the Civil War
Listen to music and bugle calls from the Civil War
Analyze photographs taken during the Civil War to better understand day-to-day life of the soldiers
Take a field trip to a Civil War site in your area
Make a Confederate flag
Create your own Civil War uniforms
Attend a Civil War Reenactment event in your area
Here are some very helpful Unit Studies for even more lesson plans and hands-on activities:
Slavery & the Civil War Unit Study from Our Journey Westward
The Unrivaled Guide to Civil War Activities for Kids by Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Civil War 150 Educator’s Guide from History.com
Time Travelers American History Study: The Civil War by Homeschool in the Woods
If you need ideas for making other historical time periods fun and interactive, follow along with our 5 Days of Interesting Hands-on History Projects for Teens.