Conversation with THC's Youth Education Specialist
County Historical Commission (CHC) events should include a youth component. To learn more about planning kid-friendly events, we asked THC’s Youth Education Specialist for advice.
Who should CHCs partner with in their community to plan a children’s activity?
Libraries and museums are logical partners in a history-themed (or other) special event. If those types of organizations do not exist in your community, consider partnering with existing ISD Junior Historian programs and afterschool programs--Boys & Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Partners in Education. Also, consider reaching out to home-school groups and day care providers.
Are there resources out there for games, crafts, or activities that CHCs can work with to fit their event? If so, where can CHCs find them?
Attend other organizations’ special events to see what youth like to do. There are many museums and historical organizations that host history-related events: Williamson Museum (Georgetown) has Pioneer Day in the spring and Chisholm Trail Day in the fall; Fort McKavett State Historic Site has its annual West Texas Heritage Days in the spring.
The Institute of Texan Cultures hosts the Texas Folklife Festival every year: http://www.texancultures.com/festivals_events/texasfolklifefestival/. You can also visit www.TexasTimeTravel.com to find similar events in your area.
When planning a Saturday morning event to celebrate county history, what activity would you suggest for children 9-13 years of age?
From my experience, living history presentations and hands-on activities are very popular with youth participants. Here are some examples of each type of activity.
Living History Presentations: cooking, weaving, soldiers, agriculture, animal husbandry, and blacksmith.
Hands-on Activities: games, school activities, churning butter, washing laundry, and weaving.
There are a number of resources (reports, books, websites) available that can serve as inspiration or be helpful in the planning process:
- Children’s Activities: Games from NPS: http://www.nps.gov/fosc/forteachers/childrengame.htm
- 19th Century Toys & Games: http://www.ushist.com/19th-century_toys-and-games_f.shtml
- Children at Play (book): http://www.amazon.com/Children-Play-An-American-History/dp/0814716652
- Pioneer Children’s Games: http://historicthedalles.org/schoolhouse/childrens-games/
- ALHFAM Replica Resource information: http://alhfam.org/replica-resource-list
- The Museum Educator’s Manual (book): http://www.amazon.com/The-Museum-Educators-Manual-Association/dp/0759111677
- Youth in Museums and Libraries (report): http://www.imls.gov/assets/1/workflow_staging/News/750.pdf
- The Participatory Museum (book): http://www.participatorymuseum.org/read/
Here are some examples of living history groups in Texas:
- Texas Living History Association: http://www.texaslivinghistoryassociation.org/
- Texana Living History Association: http://www.texanalivinghistory.org/
- San Antonio Living History Association: http://salha.org/
- Living History & Re-enactment Groups that demonstrate Early Texas History: http://www.earlytexashistory.com/LivingHistory/txlivhis.html
- Crossroads of Texas Living History Association: http://www.cotlha.com/
How do CHCs know if the activities are age appropriate?
Determining appropriate ages for activities is difficult, but remember that many children have not had experience with these activities in the past, so they will be eager to participate in something new.
Here are two resources online that give guidance on what is age appropriate:
More information found on the web links below.