This is the third article in the Educational Gift Ideas series – we’ve already talked about Language Arts and Science gift ideas. Today, I want to share some great History and Geography related gift ideas.
Typically, this is a rather bookish subject, but there are some great games and toys that can round out your children’s studies while adding in an element of fun.
First up – globes. There are quite a few different types of globes to choose from. You can get a simple 5″ Desktop Globe or an illuminated globe (which works great as a night-light as well) like this one: Orion Relief Globe – Illuminated . Then you can also find the electronic globes like the Geosafari Talking Globe, that have quizzes and such. These can be a lot of fun for your geography buff.
Geosafari also has an Educational Insights Geosafari Laptop, with quizzes on a variety of topics, many of which are based on geography and history. This works best for children who are already reading, as they’ll need to be able to read the questions themselves.
Looking for some really fun games that will do double duty educating and entertaining your children? Brainbox All Around The World will fit the bill. This is a really fun concentration style game. You can play this as a solitaire game or with two or more players. The idea is to study the card for 10 seconds (or longer – you can pick your own time-frame) and then flip it over and see how many questions on the back of the card you can answer. There is also a history version: BrainBox for Kids – World History Card Game
GeoDice: Educational Geography Board Game is another really fun way to sneak in some geography review. As is The Scrambled States of America Game (Be sure to also get the book The Scrambled States of America!)
Timeline is a really fun card game where you have to place historic events into the correct time frame. I picked this game up to test it out and my daughter and I had a blast. We played it several times and it was different each time. They make a variety of interchangeable versions, so that you can change things up, like Timeline: Diversity and Timeline Music & Cinema. With so many different versions, this is a game that will never get old.
If you’ve never seen Liberty’s Kids – The Complete Series, then you are in for a treat. These fun cartoons bring the Revolutionary War to life and make it relevant and interesting. My kids adored this show when they were younger, and then retained a lot of information later on.
Is your child into puzzles? GeoPuzzle World – Educational Geography Jigsaw Puzzle is a fantastic reviewing tool. They have a world map puzzle as well as individual continents. They are challenging, as most of the puzzle pieces are shaped like the individual countries, which really aids in learning retention.
Looking for a fun supplement to your history lessons? Horrible Histories: Measly Middle Ages and the rest of the Horrible History titles are so much fun. These books can draw in even the most reluctant historians. These books cover a huge range of topics, from the Greeks and Romans, to World War II, to specific countries. There’s something there for everyone. (These are best for upper elementary – middle grades)
Finally, I’ll share some really nice history books that your history buff might enjoy:
DK Smithsonian History Year by Year
DK: Where on Earth?
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
Women in the Material World
Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects
Next time, I’ll share some ideas for math related gifts!