history


  • 31 Days of Canadian History Book Canadian history has a habit of being presented in a way that tends to be boring and dry. But, underneath the facts and dates, there are actually some amazing  or shocking stories in our past – both good and bad. Most available programs are text and living book / historical fiction focused, which is a great way to learn, but as a huge fan of hands-on learning, I created a series of hands-on history lessons to take those books to the next level of fun. I did these lessons within a 31-day challenge, so there are 31 activities, spanning from the ... Read more
  • When We Were Alone: A Residential School Storybook {Book Review} One of the biggest dark spots on Canadian history is the implementation of the residential school system for the First Nations children. With the intention of helping Indian children from savage to civilized, they were torn away from their families and forced to live in schools where they were stripped of everything of their culture, abused, and scarred for life. It is vital importance that we open the lines of communication and reconciliation with our children about this experience. The impact of the residential schools has affected the First Nations community so deeply.  But how can we start the conversations needed with ... Read more
  • Lest We Forget If you want to teach your kids some Remembrance Day Lessons, here is a great list of resources for you. Personally, I’ve found this time of year hard to talk about with my kids. So I’ve been looking for a way to share that with my boys – who, even when they were little, have tended to think of war as video game like – cartoons throwing bombs at each other and then getting up and going again. Trying to explain the reality being much grimer is hard to do, and teaching them to be thankful for the work that was done ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Canadian Prime Ministers Guess Who Game Want a fun and interactive way to learn the Canadian Prime Ministers? Here’s Guess Who! Included are all currently 23 Prime Ministers and The Queen – a neat way to learn and recognize each of the leaders of Canada. This game was designed to use in the Guess Who board game from Hasbro. There are two editions included. The first edition is for the original flip up game board. Print out a page for each player, cut each card (including the white space underneath), and slide them into the flip ups. Play as usual. The second is for with red and blue boards with ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Great Canadians Our history is full of amazing men and women who I would count as Great Canadians: important in their own right for a variety of reasons: excelling at sports, as movie or television stars or popular musicians, being activists, inventing things, or many other reasons. Great Canadian Trading Cards To help kids learn more about these people, I’ve made some easy printable trading cards. Print the printable. If you flip your page over, and run through the printer again, you can print two on a page. Cut out and glue the front and back together. On the front, draw or glue a picture of the ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Canadian Money Canada’s money has made many changes over our history – from when we used Beaver Pelts as payment to today’s collection of bills and coins. At some points, we used the “gold standard” which means that our money was actually based on the value of gold, and others (like today) are based on an exchange rate. Although Canada’s first official coins were made in 1858, it wasn’t until 1908 that we had our own mint to produce our own coins. Exploring Canadian Money Money is a great thing to explore and look at with our kids – because there is so much ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Hands-On Canadian History: The Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsIn 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was introduced. It clearly outlined what Canadian citizens and residents were allowed (and not allowed) to do and expect. There are 7 main sections: Fundamental Freedoms Democratic Rights Mobility Rights Legal Rights Equality Rights Official Languages of Canada Minority Language Education Rights Plus details outlining how these rules are enforced, guarantees and exemptions, etc. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Bingo Game This game is designed to be a fun way to get some basic understanding of what is included in the charter. Materials Needed: A bingo card for each player Scenario sheet cut into strips Bingo markers (such as beans or coins or something similar) Give ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Canada’s Official Languages – French and English Given the history of Canada with our roots in both French and British ancestry, it’s not surprising that our country has large communities of both French language and English language speakers. Throughout the years, there have been several conflicts between both cultures, but in 1969, The Official Languages Act made both languages equal in status, making Canada an officially bilingual country. French – English Dominoes Game Since we live in Canada, it is good to at least have the basic skills for the both French and English to be able to communicate.  This simple game helps teach five simple words: Hello / Bonjour Good bye ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Canadian Flag Canada actually didn’t have an official flag until 1964. Until then, the flag that mostly represented our country was the Canadian Red Ensign – a red background flag with the British Union Jack in the corner and a heraldry shield featuring 3 red maple leaves, and flags / symbols of the founding provinces. Interestingly, the debate around the design of the new Canadian flag was quite controversial and caused a lot of arguing among the parliament and also the people.   Design a New Canadian Flag People all over had ideas on what the flag should look like. There were over 3500 submissions ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: St. Lawrence Seaway The St. Lawrence River is the section of water that comes into Canada from the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to the Great Lakes. In 1959, Queen Elizabeth II, President Eisenhouser, and Prime Minister Diefenbaker officially opened the St. Lawrence Seaway, the series of locks and canals that allow ships to travel the length of the river that they otherwise couldn’t. Make a Model Lock It isn’t hard to make a model of how the St. Lawrence Seaway works. First, it is a good idea to explain how a canal and lock system work for rivers, helping boats to travel through different sections ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Japanese Internment Camps After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II, the government of Canada decided that all Japanese-Canadians needed to be put in Japanese Internment Camps. Fearing that there could be some hidden danger from these people, they were forced to leave their homes and jobs to live in a designated compound under supervision. Abled-bodied men were forced to work on roadways, farms, and other projects. Although the war ended in 1945, the camps remained in effect until 1949. How can you talk to a child about the idea of segregation? This idea can work not only for the topic of ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: World War II – Victory Garden Growing a victory garden during World War II was a way for the people here in Canada to both better feed themselves and also help support the troops in Europe, since it was possible to send more food overseas due to less needs here. It gave many people a sense of being able to actively participate in supporting the war that they really weren’t able to otherwise. Teaching your kids to grow their own garden offers so many learning opportunities – not just about how gardens helped during the war, but also around nutrition, patience, responsibility, hard work, botany, and much ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Great Depression – Baked Apples Recipe In the early 1930s, financial disaster struck, leaving many people unemployed and poor. Here in Canada, the poverty was compounded with a horrible drought in the prairies. It was during this time period that people especially learned the art of saving, reusing, and making due – even under the direst circumstances. We call that time “The Great Depression.” Make A Great Depression Recipe: Baked Apples Many poverty-stricken families in the depression era had to make due with the foods they had in order to survive. They learned to stretch meals in creative ways and to make special treats that didn’t cost much ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Bluenose Fishing and Racing Vessel The BluenoseThe Bluenose Schooner was a fishing / racing vessel that was made in Nova Scotia. Its unique design made it incredibly fast and enabled it to become the champion in top ship races during the 1920s and 30s. It’s the ship that you can see on the Canadian dime. Have a Boat Design Competition & Race Materials Needed: LEGO or other miscellaneous crafting supplies to build your boats big enough area of water to float and race your boats Challenge your child to create a boat out of the supplies you’ve provided that a) floats and b) uses a sail. Then get building. when designs are ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Women’s Rights to Vote By the time of World War I, women will still not even considered people. They weren’t allowed vote. Through leadership of strong women such as Nellie McClung, suffragettes lobbied the government hard to change things and earn the women’s rights to vote. The Dessert Vote I haven’t met a kid yet who doesn’t like dessert of some kind. My kids are definitely not the exception to that. I thought that this could make a great example of how being allowed to participate in “important” decisions is needed by all the people involved. Set up a voting booth. I used an empty kleenex box. I ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Halifax Explosion The Halifax Explosion was the biggest man-made explosion before the atomic bomb, caused when two ships collided in Halifax harbour. One of the ships was filled with ammunition and other explosives, ready to head to Europe for the armies fighting in World War I, the other was late and in a hurry. In the aftermath of the explosion, there were countless people dead, injured, and homeless. Make a Video of the Halifax Explosion Short of setting off an explosion of our own, (which would probably have been the boys’ first choice!), I wasn’t quite sure how to do a hands-on activity for ... Read more
  • Hands-on Canadian History: World War I – Brodie Helmet When the world went to war in 1914, Canada joined in, sending forces to Europe to aid the cause. Our soldiers fought bravely and were featured in some key battles, such as Vimy Ridge. An important part of WWI uniforms was a Brodie helmet –  a metal dome helm with a brim and a chin strap. Here is a great picture of one close up.   Make a Paper Mache World War I Brodie Helmet Since my boys love anything combat / warrior related so we decided to try making a brodie helmet of our own out of paper mache. Materials Needed: flour, water, salt (for the paper ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Boer War – Victoria Cross In 1899, Britain goes to war with the Boers, a group of Dutch Colonialists who were living in South Africa. Canada joins in, sending troops to support the British. Our first opportunity to prove ourselves in war, Canada’s success through several intense battles gives us a very good reputation. After the war, four Canadian soldiers receive the Victoria Cross – a special award for valour in battle. Read about what feats of bravery they did to earn these medals. Make a Victoria Cross The Victoria Cross is a cross-shaped medal featuring a banner with the words “For Valour” draped over the cross ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Residential Schools One of the darkest parts of Canadian history is the use of residential schools for native children. Youngsters were removed from their families and homes, forced to wear European style clothing, had their braids cut off, punished for speaking their native language and required to become “civilized.” Children were seriously abused and mistreated. Shockingly, the last residential school didn’t close until the 1990s! The lasting effects of this 100 years of removing children from the cultural and traditional heritage have left the First Nations communities struggling to find, claim, and celebrate their identities, languages, and history. My Identity Activity The picture above ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Klondike Gold Rush The Klondike Gold Rush in 1896 set off the wild excitement of discovery. People from all over risked treacherous land hiking with all their belongings to the rugged wilds of the Yukon just for the chance to find gold and get rich. There IS something thrilling about the chance of discovering something special. Kids in particular love searching (and finding!) things. Offering kids a hands-on opportunity to try their skills at finding “gold” can really help them understand the lure of the gold rush experience. The Klondike Gold Rush – Panning for Gold A very simple hands-on activity for this topic is to just ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: Louis Riel and the Metis Louis Riel was the leader of the Metis people – descendants of families with one European parent and one Native one. Worried that their land and rights were being taken away, Louis Riel led them through a rebellion. He escaped capture by fleeing the to States.  He returned to Canada, where a few years later he joined another rebellion in the prairies. He eventually was captured and, after a trial, was hanged for treason. (Here is the Heritage Minute about Mr. Riel.) Find out more about his life. The Metis people are the founding people of Manitoba, and their culture is ... Read more
  • Hands-On Canadian History: The Canadian Railroad One of the main things that Prime Minister John A. MacDonald wanted to accomplish during his time in office was to create the Canadian Railroad, stretching from one side of the country to the other. It was a very hard task – with surveying and building and blasting and horrific working conditions. Sadly, many of the workers were very badly treated Chinese people who suffered the most and were way underpaid their worth. One of the biggest challenges while building the railroad was figuring out how to get over the Rocky Mountains. The Canadian Railroad over the Mountains – Straight or ... Read more