American history activities bring the past to life for middle school students. Tweens love getting out of the textbook and spending time completing projects, reading living books, cooking authentic meals, playing historical games.
If your older kids feel that history is boring, it’s easier to keep them engaged when you use hands-on activities like these to make the subject more interactive.
This huge list is full of fun things you can add to your lesson plans when you’re studying United States history to make it more exciting for tweens.
It includes activities and projects for a range of time periods and events, including the 13 Colonies, the American Revolution, the westward expansion, and more.
Choose a few and add them to your tween’s next history lesson and see how more exciting the subject becomes.
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Why Should You Use American History Activities?
As you know, there is so much to study and learn about American history. While it’s easier to give teens a textbook and have them just read about history, that will most likely make them hate the subject.
Without hands-on activities like these, kids won’t fully understand that the history of the United States is rich and interesting. They’ll assume it’s dry and boring and dread the subject.
But when you bring it alive with fun projects, games, living books, and more, they are engaged and open to learning. This is how kids learn best.
You can even make it even easier by using an all-inclusive program like this hands-on history kit.
So now’s the time to make history enjoyable by using awesome tools like these in your homeschool.
Colonial America Games and Activities
In the late 1600s, men and women came to a new land looking for freedom and adventure, wanting to build a new union. The American Indians were well established on this land with a successful society of their own. They both make up the story of Colonial America.
As part of your study on the 13 Colonies, take some time to complete a few of these fun activities with your tweens to help them understand what life was like for those early settlers.
When you’re studying early American history, play these fun, Colonial games for children popular in those days with your tweens as part of your lessons.
When you’re making your history lesson plans, take the time to go exploring the 13 Colonies with books and videos.
Discover more about Colonial America with this 13 Colonies notebooking unit. It includes interesting study questions and fun activities for tweens.
Spend some time combining geography and history with these Colonial map activities.
Teach tweens how much help the American Indians gave the settlers by cooking some Native American corn recipes as part of your Colonial history lessons.
Your tween can use these myths and facts about the first Thanksgiving as part of a presentation as part of a history lesson.
American Revolution Hands-on Activities
Are you a loyalist or a patriot? That was the question of the time during the events leading up to and during the American Revolution. It eventually led to the birth of our country, but it wasn’t easy getting to an autonomous union.
Help teens understand the issues facing the colonists with these hands-on projects.
My tween had a lot of fun with these two American Revolution hands-on activities. She loved using her American Girl dolls as part of school, so she especially enjoyed creating the historical silhouette.
One of our absolute favorite activity was this American Revolution artifact project. Abigail made a teapot that was representative of those used in the 1700s.
Head west was the rallying cry of many after we became a nation. The colonies were getting crowded and people were looking for something more. They wanted to explore. So they packed up their wagons and headed west.
It’s easy to for teens to get a glimpse of what life was like for the American pioneers when you use these fun hands-on activities as part of your pioneer lesson plans.
When you’re learning about the American pioneers, spend some time in the kitchen making these pioneer recipes. Teens love food, so they’ll appreciate this unique way to study history.
These pioneer crafts were once functional tools used by the pioneers. Tweens can make them as part of their history studies to get a better understanding of the life of the pioneers.
In your homeschool, when you learn about the pioneers, this American Pioneer notebooking unit should be a part of your middle school lesson plan. It will make planning easy because kids can use it to direct their learning. Plus, there’s some fun activities included.
Make this pioneer braided rug craft as part of your history lessons.
Use these pioneer life activities with your middle schoolers to give them an idea what daily life was like for the early settlers. Things like drawing a life-sized log cabin, making a quilt, and cooking some recipes will make tweens feel like they went back in time.
Show tweens how difficult the journey was for the American pioneers by studying their mode of transportation – the covered wagon. There are 6 covered wagon activities to choose from.
Here are some American pioneer books and resources you can use in your homeschool when you’re studying this part of United States history.
As you study the American Pioneers, use these Pioneer hands-on activities to engage your tweens. They can cook an authentic pioneer meal, make a covered wagon, play some games, and more.
California Gold Rush Activities
The discovery of gold is what led so many individuals to California. They heard about people striking it rich and wanted it for themselves. But it wasn’t as easy to find and mine gold as they thought, so many left just as poor as when they arrived.
These books and activities will help tweens understand what drove so many to pick up and leave their families just for a chance at fortune.
When your tweens begin studying about the discovery of gold in the United States, this California Gold Rush activity should be a part of your lesson plan. The notebooking and unit study will help you plan your lessons and is a great way for tweens to keep track of everything they’re learning.
Use these gold rush books as a part of your study on the California Gold Rush and wild west. Living books like these make it easy to engage older kids in history.
Civil War Activities
The Civil War pitted friends against friends and brother against brother. It divided our nation. It was a costly war that both sides were willing to die for.
These activities will help your tweens gain a deeper understanding of this dark period of our nation’s history.
These Civil War hands-on activities are a wonderful addition to your lesson plans.
American History Activities
The activities below all cover a variety of time periods, so you can easily add them to your history lesson plans whenever you need something interactive for your teen.
These American history board games make the subject fun for tweens. They’re a wonderful way to help them memorize all the dates and facts that are a part of history class. I try to add them to my lesson plans as often as possible.
When you’re studying history in your homeschool, let your tween make an early American quilt. It’s actually quite easy to do and will give her a chance to work on some life skills. You can see the doll-sized ones that my girls made during our history lessons.
Teach your older kids about the contributions American women have made over the years with fun, interactive resources.
A fun way to add science to your history lessons is to study Ben Franklin’s inventions. There are a bunch that kids can easily create to learn more about his important contributions to our world.
Make sure to add some lessons about the American Presidents to your middle school history plans. These resources and activities will make it a breeze for you to teach your tweens about the highest office in our country and the men who have held it over the years.
If you’re struggling to get your tweens to remember their Liberty Bell facts, use this helpful Liberty Bell scavenger hunt. It’s a great addition to your early United States history lessons.
Spend some time during your history lessons teaching flag etiquette to your kids. It’s important that they know all they can about this vital symbol of our country.
The Battle of the Alamo was an important event in our history and one that tweens should study in United States history. These resources and activities will help make it interesting for older kids.
Add some early American history videos to your lesson plans. Instead of just reading about history, tweens can watch it unfold.
Wondering how to make American history interesting for kids? Here are some activities that are sure to engage your tweens and make history enjoyable for them.
If your tween loves American Girl and Minecraft, she’ll definitely want to take this American Girl Minecraft class. It’s a wonderful addition to your homeschool history lessons.
When you use Dave Raymond’s American history curriculum, there are some activities included that will help teens learn and discover how interesting history is.
Don’t struggle to find ideas for American history lessons and activities. This massive list is full of things you can do to make history interactive and fun for your tween.
As you can see, it’s quite simple to make history fun and interactive for middle schoolers. Tweens can do many of these projects and activities independently, so you won’t get overwhelmed adding them to your lesson plans.
Engaging older kids and giving them a glimpse various time periods and the people who lived during them is truly the best way to make history exciting for them. There’s no way your teens will claim that history is boring when their lessons are full of fun hands-on activities.