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 a slightly more expensive illuminated globe (which works great as a night-light as well) like this one: Orion Relief Globe – Illuminated. Then there are also interactive globes, like this Shifu Orboot App Based globe. For your littlest learners, you might like this Learning Resources Puzzle Globe. These can be a lot of fun for your geography buff.
If you would rather have a map than a globe, this Interactive Talking World Map looks amazing! It can hang on a wall or lay on the floor, and with 1000 educational audio facts and quizzes about 92 countries of the world, your child will have hours and hours of enjoyment!
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 and a All Around the USA version. These games will be best for ages 8+.
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: Inventions and Timeline: Americana. 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? The Horrible Histories book series 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:
Absolutely Everything! A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots, and Other Things too Numerous to Mention – This book is a fantastic crash course though history. It’s not often you see a history text that begins with the Big Bang!
DK: Where on Earth? – This book is filled with geography trivia. If you have a child who likes to stump you with fun facts, they will really enjoy flipping through this book with its collection of more than 75 3-D maps.
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything – I absolutely adore Bill Bryson’s writing and his Short History of Nearly Everything is one of my favorite books. This is his young readers edition, which contains all of his storytelling charm, in a more readable format for young learners. Covering topics from the Big Bang to the rise of civilizations and everything in between, this will become a well-read favorite on your bookshelf.
The Travel Book – This gorgeous book would be a fantastic supplement to pair with Level 7 – Exploring Your World. Journey to every country in the world, with stunning photography, you can explore all 230 countries and learn facts, figures, and not-to-miss travel destinations all around the world!
How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous – this fun but morbid book is a collection of deaths of the rich and famous, well, 19 of them anyway. I love this quirky book, and it would be perfect for your reluctant reader!
Bomb: The Race to Build–and Steal–the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon – If your child is a World War II buff, they absolutely must read this book! Not only a history of how the bomb as built, but also the story of the spies who tried to steal the idea. While it’s non-fiction, it reads like a well crafted story.
Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects – Not for the squeamish, this book is fascinating! People eat insects in many countries around the world because they are a plentiful and varied food source. So why do we find it so disgusting? This book is really well put together and full of interesting information!
Next time, I’ll share some ideas for math related gifts!
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