Social Studies Games for Kids

Instructor: Kimberly Elliott

Kimberly teaches college humanities and has a master's degree in humanities.

For students whose favorite subject isn't social studies, playing educational games can be a fun way to pique their interest. Read on for some ideas for activities to get all students excited about social studies.

Historical Charades

Playing Charades can be a fun way to get students thinking about key historical figures and developments.

How to play: List important names and events covered in class on strips of paper and place them in a large bowl. Divide the class into two teams, and have one person from a team pull a topic out of the bowl. Limit the student's time to act out that topic, without using words. If time expires before someone guesses correctly, the other team gets a chance. Continue playing, alternating teams and actors within each team, until a certain total time limit or score has been reached.

You can use the Famous People lessons to come up with topics, and have the class read about short lessons on the people before the game, after each turn or after the game is over.

Geography Password

Kids can play this game using names of countries, U.S. states, or cities as well as other geographic areas, like oceans or landmarks.

How to play: Write names of places on cards, and divide your students into teams. A student from each group draws a card randomly and give clues, without actually saying the name of the place. For example, if a student draws a card for Arizona, a good clue would be the Grand Canyon. Play for a specified amount of time and see how many names of places each team can guess correctly.

Make this game more of a learning experience by showing the video lessons from the Geography course to teach students more about each place.

Scavenger Hunts

Make learning fun and let students get a little exercise by going on a scavenger hunt around school to find different objects.

How to play: Identify some well-known inventions that would be available at the school or that you could bring in, like a telephone or a kite. Station a few students as sentries near these items and have the rest of the class search for them. When the items are found, students can get a piece of paper from the sentry confirming they found it. This can be done individually or in teams, and the person/team to find the most 'inventions' wins the game.

Start off this game by having your kids study the lessons in the Inventions chapter of the Social Studies for Kids course to learn about the different types of inventions they'll be hunting for.

Student-made Board Games

This is a wonderful opportunity to teach students about countries around the world in a fun and interactive way.

How to play: Split the class into teams, and assign each team a different country. Have the teams create a board game, game rules and questions about the country. Each team will have one class period to teach the rest of the students about their country. The other teams should all have separate pieces that they can advance around the board as they answer questions correctly.

Give each team helpful resources, like the lessons on the Countries of the World to learn about the country they're assigned so they can come up with a variety of questions.

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