With the younger set, I really love to begin an introduction of history, and the concept of time, by simply telling stories.
What kind of stories?
I often began with the stories of my own family. My little ones and yours LOVE to hear the stories about “when mommy and daddy were little.”
This is the time to pull out family photo albums and point out the generations before us and tell their stories too!
You can even look at a map or globe and point out the places our ancestors lived. Then point out where your family lives, hence making each and every generation real to your children.
My mom wrote letters to all my children when they were born, and we would pull these out and read them aloud to as the children grew! You could interview grandparents, even getting them on video, to record the precious memories they long to share with the next generation.
Introducing the Family of God
One of the best ways I found over the years to teach about our place in the family of God is to use the book First Timeline by Mary Daly. It is the perfect vehicle for a history introduction as well as a wonderful precursor to our History Worth Remembering Timelines.
What I love about this book is the way Mary Daly writes to the heart of a child, through the eyes of a Catholic.
She talks about the past as a family of God, the gift of time, and those that came before us! It is very sweet and is discussion oriented. In fact, I would read aloud each story, and pause when there is a question, as these are great discussion prompts. I encourage you to use the program at your own family’s pace. Remember this is just an introduction, and as such can be fun and light.
There is an optional 4.5″ by 81″ timeline mural that your little one can color, and either fanfold as a booklet, or display as a mural. Your child can color as you read the stories in the book (or soon afterwards), filling the timeline in as you progress through the stories. The line drawings are basic, and the act of coloring makes these people and events concrete in the mind of a young child. Thus, giving them a better understanding of the passage of time.
As you move through the book, your child will begin to comprehend what we mean by history and will be fascinated by those who came before us. They will undoubtedly want to know more!
In fact, many of the personalities introduced through this booklet will be studied in future years, and they will remember having heard about them from this introduction. Feel free to look up supporting images and information on the internet too!
Additionally, there are 5.5” x 8.5” cards which may be colored and mounted on dividers, or you can color the images as you complete the biographies, then shuffle, and practice laying them out in sequence making it a game!
The Perfect History Reading List for Littles
Over the past 25 years I have gathered my suggestions for reading aloud and picture books for history!
The list below contains the books we have read and enjoyed as a family as a way to introduce history to our younger kiddos. Look for these at the local library and then order the favorites as gifts!
You will find that these titles also complement the “history stories” from First Timeline. Feel free to use this list for read aloud time once a week or as a monthly whirlwind tour of time. You will see that they are well suited to the younger set. They introduce key events and personalities that matter!
- Turn of the Century (Eleven Centuries of Children and Change) by Ellen Jackson
- The Catholic Bible for Children (Magnificat) – contains many of the Bible figures
- Noah’s Ark by Peter Spier
- Ox, House, Stick: History of Our Alphabet by Don Robb, Illustrated by Anne Smith
- The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kathryn Lasky, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
- The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith
- Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie De Paola
- Leif the Lucky by D’Aulaire
- Francis Woke Up Early by Josephine Nobisso, Illustrated by Maureen Hyde
- Christopher Columbus by D’Aulaire
- William Shakespeare & the Globe (Trophy Picture Books) by Aliki
- The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, Illustrated by Helen Sewell
- A Picture Book of George Washington (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler
- A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler
When you have had a taste of the studying history, you will undoubtedly want more!
The next step is to dive right into our History Worth Remembering Timeline Sets!
Check out my BRAND NEW Mini-Course to Teach Catholic History Multi-ages for even more resources!
Please share with me other titles your family has enjoyed in the comments below!
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