Kids and history often don’t mix, especially when it comes to getting history into their heads. But that doesn’t have to be. Though it may surprise most parents and teachers, kids actually do like history.
What’s not to like about knights storming castles, slaves uprising against their masters, or generals crossing rivers to reach the encamped enemy on the other side? Or how about the workings of a day in a Roman forum?
History is not boring. Writersóespecially if you want to get published and make a profit – just need to make these historical facts interesting, not mundane or abstract. Speak to kids’ levels of understanding and interest. Show them through your words just how fascinating stories of the past can be. Inspire them. In essence, give them something to improve their minds and entertain at the same time. Because when something is fun to read, it doesn’t seem like work, and retention levels are universally higher.
But how can writers inform yet entertain at the same time?
There are several ways to amuse kids with history and one of the most common is through articles. Simply state the facts – kids don’t need a lot of fluff. But don’t make it dry either. Remember the goal is to keep the youngster’s attention long enough for him or her to learn something.
Try comparing your chosen historic article to something relevant in most kids’ lives. For example, if you were to write a piece on castles, try comparing them to modern houses. What are the similarities? What makes the two structures unique? Why would a child not like to live in a castle? What advantages do castles have that modern houses don’t? And the list goes on.
However, there’s nothing like a tale of fiction to bring young students up-front and center in a study of past people and places. Show a story, using historical facts, of ancient heroes through the perspective of a fictitious character, especially of a child in similar age to your target audience. This gives kids a non-condescending invitation to learn through a story, and is especially effective for those who might need an extra boost getting excited about history.
And don’t forget the power of poetry! Kids have large memories and there’s nothing like a snappy little rhythmic poem to keep history facts bouncing through their brains ad nauseam.
Even more, if repeating something helps the brain retain, then doing is sure to solidify the historical facts and figures. That’s where crafts and activities are worthy of mention. Handcrafts with instructions for cutout hats, tools, fans, or animals are especially fun for the younger grades.
In short, the goal is always to incite in young students the desire to learn. Also, since many kids don’t have a natural desire to ìstudy,î prove their preconceived notions wrong by writing to their level and without expressing condescension (kids can quickly sense that from adults). And lastly, remember to have fun – your writing will be an educational benefit to thousands while accumulating monetary profit for yourself.
Paying History Markets
American Girl Magazine
Payment: Not listed online.
Payment: $50 per page
Payment: Fiction, £90, £80 per serial episode; Features, £50-£70.
Payment: .$0.20-$0.25 / word
Payment: $0.20-$0.25 / word
Payment: .$0.20-$0.25 / word
Learning Trough History Magazine
Market Listing: http://www.writersweekly.com/markets/homeschoolingcompanions.html
Michigan History Magazine for Kids
Payment: Columns $1,000-$1,500.
Natalie Hale, founder of NatalieHale.com, is a writer of children’s literature. Also an avid fan of history, she’s written book reviews for Renaissance Magazine. Other writings include pieces for Children’s Book Insider, Brady Magazine, The Blue Review, and more. Natalie is currently penning her first series of children’s chapter books. For more details about her past work or to contact her, visit http://www.nataliehale.com.