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It's about time

A personal timeline shows kids their place in history.

By Valle Dwight

Far from a boring recitation of dates and facts, history tells a story of real people through time. Help your child make the connection by exploring her life story.

The project: Create a timeline of personal and historical events

Get ready: Do the research

  • Sit down with your child and talk about the important events in her life, starting with her birthday.
  • Write down the things she remembers and the dates (no need to be too precise, just the year will do).
  • Next, research historical events that happened during your child’s lifetime (the presidential election, for example), and jot these down too.

Make it happen: Map out your child’s life

You’ll just need a few materials for your timeline, including a roll of paper (or tape together a string of plain construction paper), markers, and photos of the events on her list.

  • Using a ruler, make a line about three feet long across the paper. Your child can look at all the dates on the list and write the years down evenly spaced across the line (you may have to help her with this). Have her write down her life events either above or below the line (alternating leaves the most room) at the appropriate year.
  • Paste the photos near the event. Next, weave in the historical events.
  • When the timeline is done, hang it on the wall and talk about the events she remembers in her life and how historical events affected her.

Valle Dwight is a reporter, writer, and mother of two school-aged boys. She has written for many magazines, including FamilyFun, Wondertime, and Working Mother.

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