In Honor of Memorial Day...


I recently got my copy of The Civil War Kids 150: Fifty Fun Things to Do, See, Make, and Find for the 150th Anniversary. We are just about to study the Civil War in our homeschooling and I couldn't have been more thrilled about this book. The Civil War Trust published it and I think they've done an awesome job. Below is a review of the book I wrote on Amazon:

I get frustrated with children's books that have "historical activities" to help children learn about a specific time period. Most of the time the "activities" end up being crafty and pointless. I was beyond delighted to find that most of the activities in this book are not only meaningful, but impactful for helping kids learn about the Civil War in honor of the 150th anniversary. (There is one crafty, pointless thing - making Abe Lincoln's top hat. We found it was much more interesting and impactful to compare our kids' heights with President Lincoln's as he was 6'4"! We marked our kids' and Lincoln's heights with tape on the wall and my son was amazed by how tall Lincoln was, because he could actually see it.)

This book was put together by the Civil War Trust and I feel they did an exceptional job.

The book is divided into four different sections: Create, Perform, Find, and Read/Watch. 
Underneath each section are subsections: Introduction, The Gathering Storm, Emancipation, Life at War, The Home Front, New Technology, In the News, Effects of the War, and Preservation.

At the beginning of the book there is a checklist where the sections are organized where you can check off the activities that you do selected from the 50 total activities. I think this is so simple and fantastic! The checklist really makes it easy to keep track and to see all the activities at a glance. 
Here is a sampling of some of my favorite activities from the book:

- Take your Flat Civil War Soldier to the Battlefield
- Whip up a batch of hardtack and have a try
- Enter the Civil War Trust postcard contest
- "Sew" a housewife
- Construct a pup tent
- Do the Rebel Yell
- Send a letter to a soldier
- Hold a piece of history (like a bullet, belt buckle, or cannon ball)
- Whistle "Dixie" or "Yankee Doodle"
- Browse Civil War images at the Library of Congress
- Complete the weapons exhibit (you have to find the pictures of the weapons and ammo used in the Civil War from their chart)
- Uncover Franklin Thompson's real name
- Locate someone connected to the Civil War (a great way to find or talk about your own ancestors that may have fought or lived during the Civil War!)
- Find the Animal Warriors
- Experience a reenactment
- Study the letters of former slave Private Samuel Cabble
- Memorize the Gettysburg Address

What I love about this book is that it is appropriate for all age levels. There are quite a few activities my 3 year old could participate in, and many more my 6 year old could do. I, myself, would have a ton of fun doing many of the things from their list! (and this coming from a burned-out former Civil War reenactor)

Another thing I love is that many of the activities are ones you can do even if you don't live anywhere near a Civil War battlefield or historical site. It was nice that they kept this obvious problem in mind. 

Overall, I'd like to say "Bravo!" to the Civil War Trust (Civilwar.org) for creating an excellent, meaningful resource for bringing such an important piece of American history alive for children and adults alike in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

I would really recommend The Civil War Kids 150 . Check it out!

I also just found this interesting looking free e-book from the 34th North Carolina Reenactment Group called A Civil War Project.

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