Posts Tagged ‘American History’

LEGO Covered Wagon

Monday, October 5th, 2015


My son made a LEGO covered wagon out of regular LEGO bricks. This is a fun hands-on activity you can do with your kids when you are studying the Wild West. You can also combine it with a literature study of Little House on the Prairie.

My son made some log cabins out of red LEGO bricks attached to a green base. He stuck a horse into the barn, and he placed a chimney on the house. Next to the house is where he placed the covered wagon.

lego-covered-wagon-baseHe started building the covered wagon by grabbing some brown LEGO bricks and placing four “wheels” on the bottom. Those wheels were really LEGO bricks with 2 bumps. Then he built the main platform on top of the wheels. This was in the shape of a rectangle. He placed a front seat on the covered wagon. It was another LEGO with 2 bumps.

lego-covered-wagon-topThe top part of the LEGO covered wagon was built out of white LEGOs in the shape of an upside-down “U,” with a row of 2-prong LEGOs along the top. Brown LEGOs attach the white canvas top to the bottom of the covered wagon.

Now your LEGO covered wagon is complete, and you can begin having Wild West adventures with your fun Wild West LEGO scene!

Modern History Notebook

Monday, September 14th, 2015

modern-history-notebookThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today I will be showing you our modern history notebook that we put together during our study of American history. We made two notebooks for the year: one for the Civil War and one for the true modern culture starting at the turn of the century. In our series on modern history, I have shown you many hands-on activities, field trips, and themed parties that help to bring this time period to life. Now I will focus on the written work.


We used the charts and maps from All American History, Volume II. I liked the fact that my kids had to color and cut out the flags of the different countries involved in the wars. World War I and World War II are especially important to keep separate and are often taught in the schools one after the other. I purposely spent longer than a week (3 weeks!) on World War I so that the kids understood trench warfare and early airplanes. I did NOT want the two world wars to blur together  in their minds.


As you can see in the demonstration video at the bottom of this post, we decorated the cover of the modern history notebook with 3-dimensional stickers from World War II. We divided the binder into different sections:

Take a look at our finished Modern History Notebook:

LEGO Trench Warfare

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015


While studying World War I, my children decided to build LEGO trench warfare. We started with a green base and built up the terrain by using mostly green LEGO bricks. After building up the terrain as tall as you can, put the LEGO men down into the trenches. The good guys can look up over the trench while fighting against their enemies.


One edge has one trench, and the opposite edge has another trench. There can be holes in the trenches to look out at the enemy.

There should be a plain between the two sides. The plain in the middle has land mines and barbed wire, so have the soldiers run carefully not to set off any land mines. If a land mine is set off, make a small explosion with gray LEGO bricks.


Machine guns were also stationed behind the trenches, and they would mow down the enemy when they were charging. This is war. It’s tragic and gruesome, and it’s a part of history. This hands-on activity is one way to understand World War I.

If you are doing a unit study on trench warfare, you might also like Trench Warfare Creative Writing.

Antique Train Tour

Monday, August 17th, 2015

antique-train-tourThis post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today I will be taking you on an antique train tour. This is a fun field trip if you are studying modern history. We have been using All American History, Volume II this year for our American History studies, and this is one field trip that is mentioned in the book to help experience this time period. This particular train was built in the 1940’s.

Trains were built to transport people and freight from one end of the country to the other. Train tracks criss-crossed the nation back during a time when cars did not yet exist and horses and buggies were too slow. Even today, trains are the most economical way to transport heavy objects from one place to another.


Antique passenger trains would have a dining car with a counter and stools. You could order your food and listen to music over the old-fashioned radio. (You will see this in the short video tour.) The ceiling was arched and ribbed. The kitchen was located behind and to the side of the dining car, with a narrow corridor leading to the next train car.

dining-trainHere is where people would sit to eat a proper dinner. Hopefully the dishes wouldn’t be rattling as the train rolled over the tracks.


This is a bathroom. The yellow paint makes it cheerful, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that it is such a small room, almost like a closet. The red seat can be pulled up to go to the bathroom. The sink is super small, as you can see.


There were some old-fashioned lanterns and other paraphernalia from that time period, enclosed behind various glass cases that were museum-like. I show you a lot more trinkets in the video, like an old-fashioned telephone and typewriter.


These are your regular train seats where you would sit and enjoy the scenery while you were going to your destination.

There was a small model train at the end of the tour, with bridges, trees, tunnels, and other fun features. My kids really enjoyed being able to experience what life was like during the 1940’s.

Here is the short 6-minute antique train tour: