Fun History Games to Bring the Past to Life
History – The only class where I actually fell asleep (multiple times!) when I was in school! Do your kiddos groan and moan about history?
What is it about history that can make it so boring? Because, really, history is so full of interesting facts and stories that now I can’t believe how boring I used to think it was!
Let’s change that! Let’s make history fun and exciting! Let’s make it (dare I say it?!) your child’s favorite subject!
It’s a favorite subject around our house and I firmly believe that is because we use so many games in our history lessons!
Today, I’m going to be sharing 7 super fun history games that you can use in your homeschool to bring the past to life! Let’s get started!
History Games for Elementary Students
Time Period: Colonial America
Players: 2 to 4
Game Length: 5 to 30 minutes (depending on which version you play)
We have been studying US history this year and Made for Trade has been so fun!
This is a board game, shop cards, character pawns, dice, and shillings.
This history game comes with 3 versions to play! The first game is a version of Spoons called Shillings where players try to get five cards from the same shop (blacksmith, potter, silversmith, etc.).
I was really happy to find instructions for this game because my 5 year old could play this with no help and the kids are becoming familiar with items that were sold in different shops during Colonial America.
The 2nd and 3rd versions of the game are very similar.
In the first version players work their way around the village buying or trading items from the village shops trying to acquire any 4 objects from the shops.
Players also have to pay taxes and get paid as they move around the spaces.
The 3rd version, players are also trying to acquire cards, but this time they are specific items on an inventory card for their character.
This version also adds in event cards such as a smallpox outbreak that has kids learning even more about American History.
Made for Trade is a great game to introduce your children to US History!
Time Period: N/A
Ages: All Ages
Players: 2 to 6
Game Length: 5 minutes to as long as you want!
I included it in my list because it is perfect for families with a wide age range, and besides, we all need to know states and countries!
Ask up to 10 questions to guess the state of America or country on the game card! There are 50 game cards and 6 clue cards in each game.
This would be fun for traveling or at the dinner table for some fun dinner time trivia!
There are other sets, too, like landmarks, animals, underwater, foods around the world, dinosaurs, and more!
Time Period: All of History
Ages: All Ages
Players: 1 or more players
Game Length: 5 minutes or as long as you want!
Brain Box World History is a memory game and a history game in one!
Players look at the front of a card for 10 seconds.
Then, they flip over the card and roll the die. Another player reads the question corresponding to the number on the die.
If you get it correct, you get to keep the card; if you get the answer wrong, the card goes back in the box. The player with the most cards after 10 minutes (or some agreed upon time) wins!
There is also a one player game version where a single player can try to get as many cards as he or she can in 10 minutes.
This is a great way to introduce different events in history!
Time Period: All of history
Ages: 8 and up
Players: 2 to 6
Game Length: About 15 minutes
What is it about?
There are so many of the Timeline games and they can all be mixed together for some real fun!
The basic idea of the game is simple – start with a random card and then arrange other historical events either before or after it depending on when they happened in history.
These games are quick, fun, and a great way to learn when events happened.
This is also a great game for introducing lots of events and seeing which ones your children would like to dive deeper into. Other decks include Inventions, more Historical Events, and British history.
The cards come in a tin, like the Spot It, which makes it easy to store or take with you on the go!
Note: If you are looking for a game like this for older children, be sure to check out Chronology. Ages 14+
Time Period: US History (various times)
Players: 2 to 8
Game Length: About 15 to 30 minutes
Professor Noggin is a trivia type game where players try to collect cards by answering questions correctly.
There are easy and hard questions on each card.
When we play, my girls answer the easy questions and I answer the hard questions. It makes for a pretty even playing field, so fun for everyone!
On your turn you roll the die and another player reads the corresponding question to you.
If you get it right you get to keep the card; if you get the history question wrong the card goes back in the pile.
The questions will be either trivia, true/false, or multiple choice format.
The first player to collect 10 cards win! There are several versions of Professor Noggin, so you can get whatever topic you are needing: US History, Art History, Medieval Times, Science, Geography, and more!
History Games for Middle and High School Students
6) The Grizzled
Time Period: World War I
Players: 2 to 5
Game Length: About 30 minutes
There are so many games and movies about WWII, but in this game players are immersed in the trenches of WWI.
This is a fully cooperative game (think Pandemic) where players work together to stay alive until Armistice. Each round will face the hardships of war such as blizzards, gas attacks, and trauma.
Soldiers must use strategy and luck to stay alive together!
World War I can be glossed over in a lot of history studies, with so much emphasis put on WWII.
With The Grizzled, players can learn what it was like to try to survive during the miserable trench warfare of The Great War.
Reviewers state that it is simple and straightforward to learn, but the replay value is quite good!
One reviewer stated that he and his wife are at about 50% win rate, so that makes for exciting play! This would be a great game to play with older middle school or high school students.
Time Period: Slavery and Civil War
Ages: 13 and up
Players: 1 to 4 players
Game Length: 60 to 90 minutes
Freedom is a cooperative game where players try to raise funds, free slaves, and end slavery in America.
As they play, players learn about historical figures, political agendas, and important events that occurred between 1800 and 1865.
This game won the 2013 Best Game Quest Awards for Best Coop Game and was nominated for 2014 Origins Award Best Historical Game!
Freedom would be a great interactive way to cover the time period leading up to the Civil War. Also, look at the huge Civil War lapbook unit study here.
History Games Bring the Past to Life
These games are just the tip of the iceberg, let me tell you! If you are struggling to get your kiddos to get interested in history, try one (or more!) of these games and see them get hooked!
I hope you’ve found some useful resources to add to history in your homeschool this year!
Look at these other fun history learning resources here:
- 22 Famous Texans Notebooking Pages (editable) For a Fun History Study
- History of the Texas Cowboy, Cattle Drives, and Chisholm Trail
- 35 Simple But Powerful American History Homeschool Resources K to 12
- Daniel Boone – North American Explorer Unit Study and Free Lapbook
- Amazing Hands-on History Activities for 14 Ancient Empires (free notebook cover too)