In this social studies activity your child puts important family events on a timeline. Timelines offer a visual way to teach the concept of time and illustrate complex relationships.

What you’ll need

  • Examples of timelines in books or on the Internet (optional)
  • Writing paper
  • Writing utensil
  • Butcher paper or light-colored construction paper
  • Black marker or crayon
  • Yardstick or straight edge (optional)
  • Photos or mementos (optional)

Here’s how to do it

Discuss with your child what a timeline is and, if available, show your child examples of timelines in books or on the Internet. Talk about what makes an event important. Point out how timelines show the ways people and communities grow and change.

Discuss with your child important events that have happened in your family’s life, such as the arrival of a new baby or a move to another city. You can also add events that happened before your child was born.

Have your child write down the events on paper or have him dictate the events to you. Have him draw a horizontal black line through the middle of the paper. He can use a yardstick or straight edge to draw this line. Next have him place black lines vertically through the line to indicate where each event will go. Then have him draw or write the events in chronological order from left to right on the lines. You can add photos or mementos to the timeline to illustrate the event.