Gosh, I love it when I find hands-on, engaging, and educational activities that build upon subjects that my children have already studied this year. I’m consistently amazed by how much learning happens when I follow my children’s interests and strew, strew, strew!
*Disclosure: I received Dover Publication’s White House pack at no cost and was compensated for my time. I was not required to write a positive review. As always, I only share products and resources that I would use with my own family and that I believe others would enjoy. We love Dover Publications- I’ve even posted about them before on this site!
A Fun, Hands-On White House Homeschool Lesson
I used to start our days with math. I wanted to be able to cross it off of our list while the little brains were still fresh. It helped to alleviate my own math anxiety, but it also created morning power struggles. And that was stressful!
This winter, I tried something new. I started our mornings with the one subject that I have never been worried about: reading. As soon as the kids come down the stairs, I’m ready with what I have dubbed Coffee and Books.
I’ve learned that when we start the day with what we love, everything flows more smoothly. Plus, the magic of reading aloud is the ability to cover any subject or topic.
Recently we enjoyed a morning of hands-on learning and fun, courtesy of Dover Publications. It was a day we won’t soon forget as it inspired an entire day of learning!
A Fun, Easy, and Hands-On Homeschool History Lesson
I have been a fan of Dover Publication’s coloring and activity books long before I stumbled into homeschooling. Why? Because these coloring books are so well done that they double as books. That’s right. When my kids are finished coloring them, I pop them in our book baskets and they become part of our book rotation.
Dover Publications has a plethora of coloring and activity books! I’ve gushed about our love of them before. In the past, we’ve enjoyed learning about birds, states, dinosaurs, insects, space, weather, and more.
This time, we had the opportunity to delve into a recent interest: The President of the United States, the First Lady, and The White House. We recently completed a U.S. Elections Unit Study and the Dover Publications resources were the perfect way to build upon that learning. To say my kids were excited by this particular Coffee and Books would be a gigantic understatement!
These White House-themed coloring and activity books inspired delight-driven learning. I simply started the morning by showing them the books, and reading through each of them while they ate their breakfast… and they ate quickly because they were excited to get started.
These resources enabled us to learn about three different topics:
- The President of the United States
- The United States First Ladies
- The White House
… all with activity books and coloring pages! My children are 8-, 6-, and 4-years-old and this lesson was engaging and fun for all three. Together, they have worked toward completing each activity and coloring book.
Do you want to know what was wonderful about this lesson? Coloring never fails to calm my children down, so this was an exceptionally fun and peaceful day of learning.
Learning About The Presidents of the United States
Together, we learned about American Presidents past and present using the following resources from Dover Publications:
- American Presidents Coloring Book by Peter F. Copeland
- American Presidents Sticker Book by Tim Foley
- Presidents Facts and Fun: Activity Book by Len Epstein
- Standups! Presidents: 8 Easy-to-Make Models! by Mary Beth Cryan
We started with the two coloring books, taking turns reading and coloring the pages. Both are now happy members of our book basket and have been read several times already!
Next, we worked on the American Presidents sticker book. This was a perfect fine motor activity for my 4-year-old so we let him take charge.
He was over-the-moon proud of himself when it was finished! This sticker book is durable and now serves as a poster in my youngest’s bedroom, where we can continue to learn about the Presidents of the United States.
Then, it was time for Standups! Presidents: 8 Easy-to-Make Models! by Mary Beth Cryan, which was a HUGE HIT .
My oldest son adored this activity. He loved creating each of the eight pop-up Presidents. Now that they are complete, he keeps us laughing by hiding them in random spots all over our house. It’s like a Presidential hide-and-seek.
I saved the Facts and Fun book to keep my oldest quiet during church on Easter Sunday and it worked! It is right up his alley with I Spy pages and mazes. It’s a perfect quiet time activity.
Get to Know the First Ladies of the United States
After we had learned about the Presidents, we moved on to the First Ladies. We enjoyed the following resources:
- America’s First Ladies Coloring Book by Leslie Franz
- First Ladies Fascinating Facts Coloring Book by Diana Zourelias
My daughter loved these books! She loved coloring the fancy ball gowns while I enjoyed teaching the kids that the First Lady is more than just a ball gown. My daughter loves biographies and she enjoyed the President and First Lady coloring books.
Let me tell you, this little fella has been quite the handful during our daily quiet time lately… until he got his hands on these coloring books. Quiet time was restored!
When we had finished learning about the First Ladies, we moved on to the White House.
A Fun Way for Elementary Students to Learn about The White House
We used the following Dover Publishing resources for our White House study:
- The White House Cut & Assemble by A. G. Smith
- The History of the White House Coloring Book by Steven James Petruccio
We started with the History of the White House Coloring Book, reading the story and coloring the images before adding it to our book basket. Then, it was time for The White House Cut & Assemble activity book.
My little fella is still working on this project, as it is quite involved, but I’ll post a photo when it is complete!
I love following my children’s leads and exposing them to fun and educational resources related to their current interests. Everyone in our home enjoys this approach and I’m always amazed at the learning that occurs. We thoroughly enjoyed this hands-on approach to history and hope you do, too!
Dover Publications Celebrates its 75th Anniversary
Dover Publications is celebrating its 75th anniversary with 75 Years of Extraordinary Books at Extraordinary Value! To celebrate, they are offering site-wide savings of 25% from now through 12/31/2016 with the coupon code WHBO.
Dover Publications is also having a giveaway! To enter, please fill out the form below:
Want to add to the fun?
Remember when I wrote this post about learning how to memorize the entire periodic table of the elements? Well, Memorize Academy also offers a **free** course on memorizing all of the presidents of the United States! It would be a perfect addition to this unit study.
If you love history, check out these related posts:
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Now, it’s your turn. Tell me: What fun, hands-on homeschool lessons have you enjoyed lately? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram