Social studies can be intriguing if presented with a story or it can be boring if it is presented simply as a collection of facts. Since almost everyone enjoys an engaging story, why not approach social studies as the great story about how our country came into existence? Telling this story can be the starting point for creating experiences, and fond memories of learning about history, culture, customs, maps and current events. Your positive attitude will make the subject more enjoyable for your child.

Here are some tips for making social studies come alive:


  • Research your own family and culture, taking note of specific customs and traditions.
  • Invite your child’s friends to visit and share their family traditions and customs.
  • Compare your family’s traditions to the traditions of other families in America.
  • Give your child opportunities to help create new family traditions he can cherish.
  • As a family, view historic videos and documentaries.
  • Spend time talking with older family members (grandparents or great-grandparents), listen to stories of their childhoods and compare them to your child’s experience.
  • Take family field trips to historic museums, historic homes and buildings that are close by.
  • Take opportunities to explore historic sites in other cities.
  • When taking road trips, have your child help you map out the routes, pointing out the cities or states you’ll pass along the way.
  • Watch the news together or read the newspaper together; discuss current events.
  • As much as possible, connect social studies to your child’s life. Making it relevant helps him to have a better understanding of the world around him.

Tonya Breland

won the Milken Foundation National Educator Award and is currently an interim vice principal in New Jersey.