Hands-On History: American Revolution Activities

As often as I can, I incorporate hands-on projects into our history studies. I find that if kids complete interactive tasks while studying history, the subject becomes real and tangible to them.

Plus they’re a lot of fun!

Right now we are studying the American Revolution, so I went hunting for some projects appropriate for the time period.

The first place I searched was of course Pinterest!

Hands-On History: American Revolution Activities EducationPossible

Projects to Bring History to Life

Are you a Loyalist or a Patriot?

I came across this activity (My Side of the Story) from Teaching in Room 6 and knew I wanted to add it to our studies. My oldest loves reading historical fiction, so she jumped at the chance to create her own story!

Hands-On History: American Revolution Activities Education Possible

I told her to pretend she was living in the 1700s and think about whether she would be a Loyalist or a Patriot. She would then write a letter to someone close to her, sharing her views.

After thinking about it for a while, she created a story where she was a married woman who supported a different side of the revolution than her husband and it was tearing her family apart.

She brainstormed and came up with a version she was happy with, writing her letter on a plain piece of white paper with black ink.

Since the letter was from the 1700s, she needed to age the paper. First she crumpled up the letter and then used the solvent (tea) and baking technique found in this wikiHow post.

Silhouettes – Remembering Family

The silhouette from 123 Homeschool 4 Me brings together two of our favorite subjects – art and history.

American Revolution Activities for Middle Schoolers Education Possible

Prior to the invention of photography in the early 1800s, capturing someone’s image was done either through painting or sculpture and was an extravagance that few, aside from the wealthy, had the time or money for.

A different option, silhouette portraits, gained popularity as more skilled artists came over from England.

My daughter decided to use one of her American Girl dolls for this project. She set her up on a stool and taped a piece of paper to the wall behind her. Then working with a light, she created the silhouette she was looking for. She traced the shadow and then painted the image with black acrylic paint.

Since she enjoys painting more than cutting, I had her paint the silhouette on white paper instead of cutting it out of black paper.

If you would like to take this project a step further, add in an additional writing assignment by having your middle schooler write a story about the person in the silhouette.

My oldest really enjoyed completing these two American Revolution activities. Plus, they gave me a glimpse into her understanding of the time period.

We love history! If you’re looking for more ways to make history fun, check out our other history posts.

What fun projects have you added to your history studies?

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman


  1. We also love studying history… and there are so many ways to incorporate all kinds of things into a study on history….it makes it just come alive and be remembered. We did the silhouettes with our kids years ago….but after seeing this, I am reminded that it is time to do them again! Thank you. 🙂

  2. Love this with 4 girls and 1 American Girl Doll (thanks Grandma) so far I have no choice but to pin it!

  3. This is awesome! We love history as well. What a clever way to use your American Girl dolls … we’ve created silhouettes of one another in the past. It’s hard to sit still. 🙂

  4. Way to bring history to life! These are great activities! Thanks for sharing at the After School Linky party.


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