Social Studies Activities for Preschoolers

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

When introduced to social studies concepts at a young age, students begin to make connections to the use of social studies in everyday life. In this asset you will find resources for your preschool aged students.

Social Studies for Early Learners

While it is normally considered a topic for older students, even preschoolers can be introduced to the major themes from the social studies topics of history, economics, political science, and geography. This lesson contains activities that allow for both group and individual work and, in doing these activities, your young students will learn how social studies connects to the real world.

History - Biography Book

For the history activity, read students a children's biography about someone from history. There are many excellent, illustrated children's biographies. When picking a book, think about things your students are passionate about or a theme for the month (for example, if implementing this in February, you may want to pick a biography for Black History Month). Before reading students the book, explain to them that biographies are books about people who have made such an impact on the world that they are remembered for hundreds of years after they lived. After reading the book, ask students what made the person so special. Then have students draw a picture of the person and then use these pictures to create a historic bulletin board. This would be an easy activity to repeat monthly.

  • Materials Needed: Biography children's book, copy paper, coloring materials

Economics - Sorting Coins

For this activity, you will teach students about the quarter, dime, nickel and penny. You can begin by showing students enlarged pictures of the coins and the actual coins. For each piece of money, tell students how much it is worth. You can also talk about colors, people and images on the coins and what they each say. After teaching students about the coins, put them into small groups to sort coins. Depending on the resources you have available, you could either give them real coins or use play coins. Begin by having students sort them into groups by coin. Other ways to sort them include color, in groups of smallest to largest and by heads or tails side up.

  • Materials Needed: Coins or coin manipulatives, enlarged pictures of each coin

Political Science - The American Flag

For this activity, you will be teaching students about the American flag. Begin by having students identify the colors and shapes on the flag. Then, ask how many red stripes and white stripes there are. Count them together. Ask how many stars there are (you will probably get some fun answers!). Tell students that there are 50 stars, one for each state in the country.

After talking about the flag, read a book about the Pledge of Allegiance or watch a short video that says the pledge. You can try teaching students the pledge by putting the words to a tune or practicing for a few minutes at the start of each day. When doing the pledge, there is a great opportunity for movement as you teach students the importance of standing up and putting their right hand over their heart.

  • Materials Needed: American flag, book or video about the Pledge of Allegiance

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