Historical figures become more than just names on a page when young students use moveable figures they cut out and assemble. Learn how they can do that with this Famous Figures of Ancient Times review!
When it comes to homeschooling my kindergarten-aged children, I really focus on a few simple learning goals so that they have ample time to enjoy play. Play is vital learning for children!
Phonics and reading take center stage with basic math skills following behind. For the other subjects that we do as a family, like art, music, science and nature study, history, and read aloud, my younger ones join in and absorb as much as they can.
This worked really well while teaching my older two, but I’ve noticed that my third child hasn’t gotten as much exposure to history stories this year. Miss L and Mr. M, the oldest two, typically team up for independent reading and history projects, but I struggled through the year to read the great history books from the library out loud to our kindergartener.
I wanted her to start developing a general understanding of history: the people and events that all intertwined to shape the world we live in today. But making the time to do it? Well, it wasn’t getting done.
But when a book of cutout paper figures with movable parts entered the picture? History started coming alive!
What I Loved About Famous Figures
Famous Figures of Ancient Times is a book of paper dolls that children cut out and assemble with a small hole punch and tiny brads. There are multiple Famous Figures books that cover different time periods, but our family has been using the book that covers ancient history.
The book begins with a few pages that explain how to use the cutout figures and how to assemble them, as well as a reading list for each person from history. I love that aspect since we rely heavily on real “living books” for history. A summary of each historical figure is also provided so that the children can get a general idea of who they were, where they lived, and why they are famous.
Then come the figures! There is an outlined version to color and a color version of each one (conveniently labeled on the back) so children can see a historically accurate representation of the person’s appearance before coloring their own. Little scholars cut out the figures in pieces and then assemble them with brads so that the figures hinge at points like the elbows, neck, knees, and waist.
All of my children had fun with these. Though I got this resource specifically for my six-year-old daughter, everyone enjoyed them! My daughter decided to let her younger sisters color the blank figures most of the time, so even our very young children were introduced to history in a fun way. Making the figures interact with one another was definitely a highlight for everyone.
Two Queen Hatshepsuts could talk to each other. David could consult with Moses. And of course, all of these famous figures could talk to my children! Now they know more names and stories from ancient history figures than I do (blushing…).
I also really liked that Biblical history and world history aren’t treated like separate topics. Instead, David, Moses, and Jesus are presented in chronological order with Khufu, Hannibal, and Alexander. This really gives a greater sense of continuity with ancient world events and encourages children to not separate the Bible from secular history.
What Didn’t Work Well
While my children love this interactive learning tool, a couple of things are challenging or worth noting.
The brads used for the figures are very small, so you can’t use the standard hole punch and regular brads that most of us are likely to have at home already. This is definitely not a deal-breaker, but just something to be aware of when purchasing for your own family. You’ll likely need to buy a smaller hole punch and tiny brads specifically for Famous Figures of Ancient Times. (1/8″ hole punch here. Mini brads here. <- Affiliate links)
Remember the initial pages I was telling you about? The ones with the awesome book lists and story summaries for each figure?
Well, this book is designed so that every page tears out. That’s perfect for cutting out the historical figures, but not so great for keeping all of the initial pages together.
When they quickly started to come out, I stapled them together and tucked them back inside the book so that we could read the story summaries every time a new figure was cut out and assembled. The pages went missing once. We searched and found them. They went missing again (large family reality #235423), and this time for good.
I would love to have these pages in a separate booklet or something similar so that they wouldn’t be as prone to disappear.
What Miss A Says
Since this resource was specifically chosen for Miss A, I thought it would be fun to share her profound thoughts with you:
I like it because it’s fun and it’s schoolwork at the same time!
-Miss A, age 6
Spoken with a giant smile like a true six-year-old. Famous Figures of Ancient Times is a hit!
Do you struggle to make history an interactive subject in your home?
I’m delighted to be a Timberdoodle review blogger this year! For this review, Timberdoodle supplied the Famous Figures of Ancient Times book and assembly materials, but I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions are enthusiastically mine.