50+ Books that Provide 21 Activities to Inspire Learning

"Simplify the curriculum." I've heard this many times over the past few years, and sometimes I struggle with what this should look like.  Recently, I heard Andrew Pudewa speak at the Texas Home School Coalition Conference and he broke it down like this:

You really just need to teach three things:

  1. Character - cultivate virtues like service, selflessness, surrender, and sacrifice
  2. Knowledge - learn stuff like history (to understand the past so you won't repeat it), literature (to understand human nature), and stories of the saints and martyrs (to have examples of people with great character sacrificing for a greater cause)
  3. Skills - language and math skills, or the trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the quadrivium (mathematics, music, geometry, and astronomy)

This really resonated with me because it clarified where I need to be focusing in the upcoming school year as well as encouraged me in the things I was already doing.

One area of my own education that has always been lacking is history.  When I was in school, we played the cram and dump game to pass history.  I never was inspired to learn it because it was so overwhelming and I struggled keeping all of the names and dates straight in my head.  It's not that I didn't like history, I just didn't like not knowing history.

21 Activities for Kids books

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When I was gathering books to utilize in Cycle 2 of Classical Conversations, I stumbled across the Industrial Revolution for Kids, and I purchased it. We've been using it this month to finish up our school year, and I have been so impressed by the quality of this resource, I had to find out if there are more of these books! To my surprise there are over 50 titles in the "21 Activities for Kids" series, and many of them were at my local library.

What I love about these books is that they weave stories of people from history in with the historical facts. There are big, beautiful pictures that accompany the stories. Best of all, the activities are fun, engaging, and really help to bring history to life in a fun way that doesn't always include a craft.

21 Activities for Kids

Don't get me wrong. I love a good craft, and there are some within the activities, but there are also experiments, recipes, adventures, and challenges that really bring the history to life in a fun and engaging way that doesn't always require loads of materials or time.

21 Activities for kids

I feel like these books are a great way to dig into history without over complicating things with my elementary aged kids. I'm also excited to start gathering these books as a great resource for research for my teens. These would make excellent source texts for IEW writing as well.

The books are information saturated, but filled with great stories that bring history to life. I can't wait to try out some of the other titles!

21 Activities for American History




































Only 14 activities here, but still an excellent resource.











21 Activities to Get to Know US Presidents



















21 Activities Celebrating Famous Artists
































21 Activities to Learn State or City History






Texas History Resources

An activity from the Texas History for Kids book.














21 Activities to Investigate Fascinating People in History











































21 Activities for Other Studies
























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  1. Debbie G on May 18, 2016 at 9:40 am

    I am so excited about these. I checked and my library has some of them in a special home schooling section. Who knew? And what a blessing to hear Andrew Pudewa speak in person!

    • Betsy on May 18, 2016 at 9:42 am

      I was surprised to find so many at my local library too! And you have a special home schooling section? I’m jealous of that!!

  2. Dee Dee on May 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    This is great, Betsy! You do a wonderful job of compiling information and sharing. We have the WWII selection after a trip with the grandparents to Pearl Harbor, but didn’t realize there were so many more to choose from!

    As a special request, not that you are in need of topics, but I would really be interested in your list of fiction/non-fiction reads for children. My compulsive reader is quickly exhausting my list of ‘acceptable’ books. There is so much that is inappropriate or non-edifying.

    Blessings on your summer! (Day school isn’t out until July 7th for us here in Asia! Long way to go…)

    • Betsy on May 18, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      I love making book lists…and reading! I’ll see what I can put together for a summer reading list!

  3. Elizabeth on May 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Thanks so much for a great post. I’ve used some of these before, but I had no idea there were so many! I plan on trying to find as many of them as I can , relevant to Cycle 2, through the library, for next school year. Blessings!

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