The Best History Learning Tools for Elementary School Students

The importance of finding engaging and effective ways to teach history to young learners is something I know from my experience as a former elementary school teacher. Even the most reluctant learners can be captivated by history with the right tools, but they will grow in love with it and appreciate it more with the right tools. That's why I've put together this list of the best history learning tools for elementary school students. From online educational games to documentaries and educational apps, these tools are designed to make learning about history fun, interactive, and engaging. By using a combination of these tools, teachers and parents can help kids gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the past. So whether you're a teacher looking for new ideas or a parent hoping to supplement your child's learning at home, I hope you'll find these history learning tools as valuable as I have. Let's dive in and discover the best ways to bring history to life for elementary school students!

The idea of using online educational games as history learning tools for elementary school students is a creative and attractive idea that educators should explore. These games have the power to make learning history more interactive, fun, and hands-on, making it easier for students to learn and understand important historical topics. Here are five tips and tricks on how to use online educational games effectively as history learning tools:

1. Choose the best history tools: When selecting online educational games to use as history learning tools, choose games that align with the history curriculum. Focus on games that teach about historical figures, major events, and other important topics that will help students understand and appreciate history better.

2. Make learning interactive: Online educational games are a great way to make history learning more interactive. Encourage students to participate in the games, ask questions, and share their understanding of the historical topics.

3. Hands-on learning: Combine online educational games with other hands-on learning activities such as reading assignments, research papers, history projects. These activities will help students to have a deeper understanding of the historical topics they are studying.

4. Utilize educational resources: Take advantage of educational resources available online when using online educational games as history learning tools. Resources such as videos, quizzes, and tutorials will help students to learn more about historical topics that interest them.

5. Develop a history games and activities collection: To keep students engaged in history learning, develop a games and activities collection that revolves around historical topics. This collection should include puzzles, quizzes, interactive games, and other fun activities that students can access during their free time.

Using online educational games as history learning tools is an effective way to teach elementary school students about important historical topics. By choosing the best history tools, making learning interactive, incorporating hands-on learning, utilizing educational resources, and developing a games and activities collection, teachers can make history learning more fun and engaging for their students.

Documentaries: documentaries can be a great way to help give kids a visual understanding of a historical period

Watching documentaries is a creative and attractive approach to learning history, as children can immerse themselves in the stories and events that shaped our world in a more engaging way than reading a textbook. Documentaries related to historical topics can be an excellent tool for history learning and teaching. Here are some tips and tricks to consider when leveraging documentaries as a history learning tool:

1. Choose age-appropriate documentaries: Make sure to select documentaries that are age-appropriate for your students. Younger students may benefit from documentaries with shorter runtimes, while older students can handle longer documentaries with more complex themes.

2. Pick a documentary that aligns with your curriculum: Ensure that the documentary you choose is related to the history topic that you are teaching, as this will help to provide context and background information to reinforce what you are teaching.

3. Provide a viewing guide: Create a viewing guide to help students stay engaged and focused while watching. This guide can include questions, prompts, and worksheets that students can fill out while viewing the documentary to enhance their understanding.

4. Encourage discussion: After the documentary, facilitate a group discussion about what the students learned and how it relates to the history topic being studied. This discussion can be guided by the viewing guide questions or other discussion prompts.

5. Follow up with additional research: Encourage students to conduct additional research on the history topic presented in the documentary. This can be done individually or in groups, and can be followed up with oral presentations or written reports.

By following these tips and tricks, documentaries can be an effective history learning tool to enhance classroom instruction and engage students in the learning process.

Educational Apps: Several apps can be used to help kids learn about history in a fun and interesting way

For elementary school students learning history, using creative and attractive learning tools can have a noticeable impact on their learning experience, which is why incorporating history learning tools into the curriculum can be very beneficial. With the rise of online learning, there are now a plethora of educational resources available for kids to learn history in a fun and interactive way. Here are some tips and tricks on how to incorporate history learning tools into the curriculum:

1. Utilize educational tools: There are several websites and educational resources that offer interactive learning experiences related to history. National Geographic Kids, for example, offers a variety of history games and activities that are perfect for elementary school students.

2. Introduce hands-on learning: Incorporating hands-on activities can be a great way to make history come alive for kids. You can use props, visuals, or even conduct a reenactment to help students understand the historical context of events and historical figures.

3. Make use of apps: There are several educational apps available that can be used in the classroom to make history learning more engaging and interactive. Some of the best history tools include Historypin, Timelines, and Virtual History.

4. Tailor to the history curriculum: When incorporating history learning tools into the curriculum, it's important to ensure that they align with the history curriculum being taught in the classroom. This will help students retain the information they learn and make it easier for teachers to integrate the tools seamlessly into their lesson plans.

For elementary school students, incorporating history learning tools into the classroom can be a great way to make history come alive. By using resources such as educational tools, hands-on learning, apps, teachers can create an engaging interactive learning environment that will help students learn retain historical information.

History Books: Reading books can help kids gain a deeper understanding of history

1. Choose age-appropriate history books: It is essential to select history books that are appropriate for a child's age and reading level. This ensures that they can read and understand the content, enabling them to learn more effectively.

2. Combine reading with other history learning tools: Reading history books can be combined with other learning tools such as maps, timelines, historical fiction. This will help provide a broader understanding of historical events and their context.

3. Encourage active reading: Encourage children to actively engage with the history book by taking notes, highlighting important points, and asking questions. This will help them to retain the information better.

4. Make it a habit: Make reading history books a regular habit. Set aside a specific time each day for reading and stick to it. This will help children to develop a reading routine and make it a part of their daily life.

5. Discuss and share: Encourage children to discuss and share what they have learned from the history books. This will help them to process the information and think critically about historical events.

6. Seek out diverse perspectives: Look for history books that offer diverse perspectives on historical events. This will help children to gain a more comprehensive understanding of history and its impact on various communities.

7. Use history books as a resource: History books can be an excellent resource for research projects and assignments. Encourage children to use these books as a source of information and inspiration.

8. Make it fun and engaging: Reading history books does not have to be dry and boring. Make it fun and engaging by incorporating games, quizzes, and other interactive activities related to history learning tools.

Interactive Maps: Interactive maps can help kids visualize different aspects of history

History learning tools such as interactive maps allow kids to visualize different aspects of history in a completely new way, to engage with the subject in a more exciting way. Here are some tips and tricks for using interactive maps as a history learning tool:

1. Choose the right map: Not all interactive maps are created equal. It's important to choose a map that is specific to the time period or event you are studying. For example, if you're learning about the American Revolution, you would want to use a map that shows the layout of battlefields and troop movements.

2. Use different layers: Many interactive maps allow you to turn different layers on and off, allowing you to focus on specific aspects of history. For example, you could turn on a layer that shows the major battles of a particular war, or a layer that shows the trade routes of ancient civilizations.

3. Incorporate multimedia: Interactive maps can be even more engaging if you incorporate multimedia such as videos, images, and audio clips. For example, you could have a video play when the user clicks on a specific location on the map, providing more context and information about that particular event.

4. Make it interactive: The whole point of using interactive maps is to make history more engaging and allow students to interact with the material. Include quizzes, puzzles, and other interactive elements to keep students engaged with the material.

5. Tie it into the curriculum: Finally, make sure that your use of interactive maps ties into the curriculum and learning objectives. Be sure to explain how the use of the maps supports the learning goals for the unit, and how it helps students better understand the subject matter.

It is a wonderful way for kids to visualize and understand different aspects of history through interactive maps. By choosing the right map, incorporating multimedia, making it interactive, and tying it into the curriculum, you can create a memorable and effective history learning tool for your students.

Field Trips: Visiting local historical sites and museums can help bring history to life

1. Research available historical sites and museums in your local area and choose ones that align with your history learning goals.

2. Prepare your students with background information on the site/museum before the field trip, including its historical significance, location, and key historical figures/events.

3. Arrange transportation to and from the site/museum with safety in mind.

4. Tour the site/museum together and encourage students to ask questions and make observations that connect to what they’ve learned in class.

5. Let students interact with exhibits and try hands-on activities that can deepen their understanding of historical events.

6. Apply the experience to classroom learning by having students connect what they saw and learned on the field trip to broader themes in history through writing prompts, group discussions, or creative projects.

7. Follow up with students after the trip to reflect on what they’ve learned and how the experience has made history come alive for them in new ways.

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Audio Books: Audio books can help kids learn history while also helping them build their reading skills

Audio books are a creative and attractive tool for kids to learn history while building their reading skills. Audio books engage children with stories and factual information. By listening to audio books, children can learn and retain information better than reading from traditional books. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using audio books as a history learning tool:

1. Choose the right audio book: Choose age-appropriate audio books with engaging content. Make sure the content is interesting and educational. Look for books with supplemental materials like maps and photographs.

2. Introduce the audio book: Introduce the audio book by reading the title, author's name and a brief description of the book. Encourage children to ask questions throughout the listening process.

3. Encourage active listening: Encourage children to actively listen by pausing the audio book to discuss important points. Ask children to predict what might happen next, and to summarize what they learned.

4. Follow up with discussion: Follow up the audio book with age-appropriate discussions, quizzes or games. This way, children can maximize their learning experience.

5. Repeat Listening: Repeating Listening to an audio book is recommended to allow children to comprehend the book better.

It is important to note that audio books are an effective tool for helping kids learn and retain historical information while they are also building their reading skills. It is a fun, engaging and effective learning experience.

Virtual Tours: Virtual tours of historical sites can help kids get a better understanding of the importance of history

1. Use interactive features: Incorporate interactive features like quizzes, puzzles, or games to keep kids engaged and interested in learning about historical sites.

2. Incorporate multimedia elements: Use multimedia elements like videos, images, and audio clips to add more context and depth to the virtual tour.

3. Historical Context: Provide historical context for the site being explored to help kids understand its significance in history.

4. Expert insights: Include insights or commentary from historians or subject matter experts to add more credibility to the virtual tour.

5. User-friendly Interface: Ensure that the virtual tour is user-friendly and easy to navigate so that kids can enjoy the experience without getting frustrated.

6. Customization features: Provide customization features like language options or difficulty levels to cater to the needs of kids of different ages and learning levels.

7. Collaborate with educators: Collaborate with educators to develop virtual tours that align with the curriculum and are effective history learning tools.

8. Accessibility: Ensure that the virtual tours are accessible to kids from all backgrounds and have features like closed captions and audio descriptions.

9. Free and available to all: Make the virtual tours freely available to all, so that every kid, regardless of socio-economic background, can have access to quality history learning tools.

10. Review and update: Regularly review and update the virtual tours to ensure that they remain up-to-date and accurate in their presentation of historical sites.

Primary Sources: Reading primary source documents can give kids a deeper understanding of the events of a certain time period

1. Start with age-appropriate primary sources
When introducing primary sources to kids, make sure to choose age-appropriate documents. For younger kids, letters and diaries of famous historical figures or well-written books for kids that explain historical events can be an interesting first step.

2. Use visual aids
Primary sources such as maps, pictures, posters can help kids understand events the context of the time period. Look for visual aids that help explain geography, social hierarchies, technology, or political issues.

3. Create an interactive experience
Instead of just reading a primary source document, try to create an interactive experience. For example, you could play a game of “identify the object” (use visual aids) about the primary source that is being discussed.

4. Use primary sources to teach research skills
Asking kids to look for answers to specific questions can help teach research skills. Provide them with guiding questions or areas of focus and let them develop a research strategy.

5. Discuss and ask questions
Discussing primary sources with kids, asking them questions, and letting them share their opinions is a great way to improve their comprehension and critical thinking skills. Asking questions such as “what would you do?” or “how would you feel?” can be a thought-provoking exercise.

6. Use online resources
There are a lot of online resources available for history learning tools. For instance, consider sites that provide access to digital archives of primary sources for history research and education (e.g. Library of Congress, National Archives, and the Smithsonian Museum).

7. Connect primary sources to present-day events
Finally, connecting primary sources to current events can be a great way to help kids understand the relevance of historical events. Look for connections between events that happened in the past and present-day concerns.

As a result of reading primary source documents, kids can get a better understanding of what happened during that period of time through primary source documents. By using history learning tools that are relevant to their age, creating an interactive experience, and fostering discussion, kids gain a better understanding of history and how the past relates to the present.

Role Playing: Role playing can help kids understand different perspectives of history

1. Set the stage: Provide students with a clear historical context for their roleplay. This could involve giving background information on the time period, cultural norms, or key historical events.

2. Assign roles: Assign each student a particular role to play within the historical context. This could include historical figures, common people, or fictional characters.

3. Encourage research: Encourage students to research their assigned roles in order to better understand and embody them during the roleplay. This could involve reading primary sources, watching documentaries or historical dramas, or visiting relevant sites or museums.

4. Model examples: Provide students with examples of effective roleplaying, such as historical reenactments improvisational theater exercises.

5. Foster inclusive learning: Encourage students to embody perspectives different from their own, and create a safe and inclusive space for exploring different viewpoints.

6. Debrief the experience: Take time after the roleplay to debrief and reflect on the experience. This could involve group discussion, journaling, or creative writing exercises.

7. Make it fun: Incorporate elements of play, creativity, and imagination into the roleplay in order to make it engaging and enjoyable for students.

Roleplaying can help kids gain a better understanding of history by allowing them to see things from different perspectives. By embodying historical figures and exploring different viewpoints, students can gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of history and develop important critical thinking skills.


There are many options available to elementary school students when it comes to history learning tools. In addition to online educational games, documentary films, educational apps, history books, and interactive maps, kids can gain a deeper understanding of historical events and topics through countless other resources. By incorporating these tools into their learning, students can not only improve their grades but also develop a love and appreciation for history that can last a lifetime. Whether a student is studying ancient civilizations or modern world events, these resources can help make history come alive in a way that engages and inspires them. So, if you want to help your child learn more about history, be sure to check out these fantastic tools and start exploring the amazing world of history today!

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