Historical Tours - FamilyEducation

Historical Tours

by Steve Bennett

Take a driving tour of your town long, long ago.

For: Kids 8 to 12

Anybody can study history. But it takes an enterprising young historian, like your child, to give scholarly driving tours of your hometown -- the way it looked years and years in the past.

There are two variations of this activity. In the first, your child studies (using books that are available at the local library) the history of your city or town. Your hometown historian can jot down the buildings, people, and events that happened, as well as the associated dates and years. For example, your child might note the year the first house in your hometown was built and the names of its original owners, or the dates on which the schools in your city or town were established.

Then, next time you're stuck in traffic, your child can take you and other family members on an historical tour of your hometown. He or she can point out the historically-significant places, and answer any questions "sightseers" have. (Truly ambitious scholars might also expand their notes into a homemade history book about your city or town so your family will have all the important facts on file even after the trip.)

In the second variation, your child can give "driving tours" based on his or her knowledge of historical periods. You name the time -- say, a hundred, a thousand, or twenty thousand years ago -- and your young historian takes you and other "time travelers" on a driving tour of your hometown as it looked then. He or she describes the buildings, people, trees, and so on from that time period, and points out the differences between that time period and now. Who knows -- you might be surprised to return to the present and find out that dinosaurs are extinct!