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DD Y5 has really got into History - How can I help her?? What museums /activities etc?

(35 Posts)
smellylittleorange Sat 10-May-14 15:14:55

DDs school recently ran a Tudor event - she was so inspired that she is now positively passionate about all things historical! She is avidly watch every episode of Horrible Histories she can find ( was pleased to find they do a magazine) and is really into learning about Tudors and Romans especially. I have promised her that whenever we have the time off together in school hols /weekends she can go to Museums . Last week we visited the new Mary Rose Museum which she loved and got an annual pass for - we are lucky enough to be able to travel to London free by train from the south coast so I intend to visit the Museum of London with her next half term. I am slightly restricted in that I do not drive so although we have been given English Heritage membership as a gift I have been unable to use this locally yet.

I did not do History at school so feel a bit overwhelmed by it all although I love Mary Beard and Lucy Worsley to bits ( doesn't everyone love Goddess Mary?). I try and be guided by DD in Museums. One advantage of her increasing love for History is I have started really getting into learning about the subject too!

If you have History mad kids what kind of stuff do they enjoy doing - what sparks their interest ? What doesn't ? What puts them off? I want to encourage DD but do not want to put her off with stuff that is too dry /advanced for her. We are going to Crete in summer so I have bought her a book on Ancient Greeks but would she find it boring to explore the Minoan Ruins near where we are staying for example? DD is a July born but bright in top sets etc has strengths in English and Languages and loves writing at home ( not at school finds it "boring") and reading.

Leeds2 Sat 10-May-14 15:26:17

Horrible Histories do a theatre show every year, which tours round various venues. I think they choose two of the books, and do them on alternate nights. Might be a show near you.

Hampton Court is a good place to learn about Tudors, if you can get there. Think they do an audio tour specifically aimed at children, and they usually have workshops for children, and people dressed up in costume, during the school holidays.

smellylittleorange Sat 10-May-14 15:31:03

Ah yes thanks Leeds2 - we are seeing the horrible Histories show in summer at Camp Bestival fingers crossed - I love Horrible Histories especially the songs. I was just telling DD this morning about Hampton court so will look into that as an Audio tour sounds great - is easy for me to get to too. It is just so overwhelming all the stuff that is out there that we had not realised before .

EBearhug Sat 10-May-14 15:49:56

I was a junior member of my local museum, so if you've something like that near, it could be worth checking. It meant free entry at any time, and it also meant there were various talks and outings to local sites. Had some great days out, and great fun preparing for the annual Christmas competition, which I usually won for my age group, but never the overall prize, and I'm not still bitter about that at all, oh no... grin They also helped arrange lifts, if parents didn't drive. (I'm not sure if they did that directly, of if parents sorted it out between them, to be fair. But car-sharing certainly went on.)

In the summer holidays, mum used to take us off to one of the local towns, and we'd go round the local museum and follow a town trail if she could find one. We also went to museums on holiday. (I always like a good industrial museum with old machinery.)

As you can get up to London easily, there are loads of museums there. A lot of the big museums will have "children's trails" and so on. I was at the Museum of London a couple of weeks back. There's also the V&A (loved that when I was first taken as a child,) and the British Museum, of course. The V&A Museum of Childhood is at Bethnal Green, too. The National Portrait Gallery might be good (some Tudor portraits), and the National Gallery, if you look at the history behind some of the paintings. Entry to most is free, except for special exhibitions. There are a lot of smaller museums in London, too, like John Soanes House and so on. And if she likes the Romans, then there's the amphitheatre in the base of the Guildhall, which isn't far from the Museum of London.

Also, lots of places will do special events, especially over the summer, so keep an eye on the various websites. My county council usually has a list of upcoming things for council-run sites (and you may be in the same county.) Also, if you don't drive, check what offers are on at the railway station - they do 2 for 1 offers on a lot of places, if you go by train. (Not sure of the details, as I rarely travel with anyone else.) Hmm, a quick check shows it might just be London, but you can get there, so that's okay. This site about Secret London might also give some ideas - you could look by Tudor or Roman or whatever else.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 10-May-14 16:50:07

My DD is a huge enthusiast of history. A word of warning the HH stage show is not quite as fun as the TV show as the audience are captive, not a single song in the Egyptians.
DD and I are members this year of Royal Palaces which are great. You do need to choose when you visit the palaces to co-ordinate with events. English Heritage I have not found as good as National Trust. We do a lot of researching individuals in our family tree and what life would have been like or them.

OhImATwat Sat 10-May-14 16:52:52

Hever castle in kent. Full of all things tudor and a brilliant water maze to burn off a bit of energy in the gardens.

historic dockyards like portsmouth or chatham are good too.

LIZS Sat 10-May-14 16:56:30

If you live in SE how about Fishbourne Roman Palace, also nearby Bignor although you may need to check re. public transport. Weald and Downland museum has houses and buildings from across ages and runs special events with re-enactments of historical periods.

smellylittleorange Sat 10-May-14 17:01:27

Wow thank you both - great ideas there. I think we are going to have to pace ourselves! Just booked a cottage near Cirencester for bank holiday weekend so hopefully some opportunities there. I had dismissed the V & A but it seems like it is less "grown up" than I'd thought . I live in Hampshire EBearHug but nearer the West Sussex border so will definitely check out both council websites. I realise we are so lucky to be able to get to London ( due to DHs Job ) free and will definitely make more of this over the next few months.

Are there any books etc anyone can recommend ( apart from the Horrible Histories range of course)

smellylittleorange Sat 10-May-14 17:03:21

Ah yes Fishbourne we live quite close the problem is it always tends to be a venue for school trips but will investigate thanks.

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 10-May-14 17:04:08

Oh missed you were in Hampshire Brading Roman villa on the IOW.

LIZS Sat 10-May-14 17:13:24

Cirencester museum is good , the amphitheatre is a bit of a disappointment though, will you be able to get to Bath as the bath complex is very worthwhile. There is also a villa (Chedworth ?) not far away. Silchester is good for a walk around (near Basingstoke) and gives some idea of the scale of a Roman city site. Think there is a bus service. Artefacts from the ongoing dig are in Reading museum iirc. If you fancy a trip into Kent , try Canterbury and Lullingstone Villa.

InMySpareTime Sat 10-May-14 17:14:43

She could join the Young Archaeologist's Club a junior arm of the Council for British Archaeology. Membership Isn't much, and gets you into loads of places cheaper or free. If you search for your local YAC branch, they often have proper archaeological digs for children, my two have dug Edwardian house foundations, Stone Age quarries etc.

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Sat 10-May-14 17:15:35

DD (10) has really enjoyed the 'My Story' series of books. They're historical diaries and really accessibly written about interesting periods of history. DD knows far more than me about the suffragette movement as a result! They're divided into boys and girls for some reason but my friends 11 year old boy has enjoyed borrowing all the 'girls' ones and DD has asked for the 'boys' ones. They're usually pretty good value on the book people.

There are also a set of books called The Secret Diary of... And they have common people eg Leonardo da vinci's paintbrush cleaner, queen victorias chamber maid commenting on historical stuff as it happens. Might be a bit young for her but they are quite entertaining.

MerryMarigold Sat 10-May-14 17:18:14

My ds (8) is not academic at all, but loves watching old episodes of time team on YouTube. We also watched a great docu on Egypt. It's a nice time filler. Also, any children's historical novels?

bestbeginnings Sat 10-May-14 17:29:38

Hampton Court is fab - we are members & go regularly - the actors around doing stories are fantastic with the kids - well worth checking what's on before you visit (its Georgians at the mo, but many of them are tudor/Henry viii based) - if you have reasonable access to London, British museum, V&A and museum of London have all been enjoyed by my two. We try and do just one thing at a time - otherwise it gets overwhelming.

Thinking more laterally, how about tickets to the Globe (seats up high are cheap and fun)?

Also look out for the archeology day they do at the Tower of London - you get access to the Thames shore and they have loads of experts on hand. And expert amateurs who are delighted to have kids kids to lecture wink. Totally free. Last time, we found various bones with butchery/cooking marks, tudor pottery,& medieval roof slates - and of ourselves more pottery pipes than you can shake a stick at. You get to take 5 things away with you, I think.

Wellwellwell3holesintheground Sat 10-May-14 17:39:31

The Globe sent shivers up and down my spine the first time I went there. It hadn't occurred to me that the colours would be so bright. Amazing place.

mummytime Sat 10-May-14 17:53:54

If she is at all interested in the Roman's or archaeology, this is worth visiting in summer. We've been a couple of times, and even got free ice creams once! Even when the dig isn't there I like walking around the old site, there are always the walls and explanations boards available.
There are quite a few living history museums around.
I would recommend Hever and Hampton too.

Leeds2 Sat 10-May-14 18:40:00

Second the suggestion about the My Story series of books.

Historical House is a good series of historical fiction too. I think there are 4 books in the series, written by different authors (Adele Geras and Linda Newberry are certainly involved), and it tells the stories of people who lived in the same house but at different and significant times from a historical point of view. I know one of these was around the time of the suffragette movement. Might have been called Lizzie's Wish.

Also the Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. Again, the stories are fictional but set in Ancient Greece with a lot of historical detail.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 10-May-14 18:50:00

DD age 8 is fascinated by history, if you can go to London, Imperial War Museum may be worth going to, haven't done that with her yet but DH and I loved it. Also Portsmouth docks. If you can get to wool by train then the Bovington Tank Museum is good, they have a new exhibition there this year called Warhorse to Horsepower which she loved, also trench experience.

Books, DD likes the Tony Robinson ones, loves HH (unless you are right at the front for HH at CB see it on the Sunday in the Big Top, DD got right to the front just as it started) The Roman mysteries are great as is My Story and also try Michael Morpurgo.

Cirencester isn't that far from Bath and the Roman Baths are well worth a trip and Hever Castle is excellent. DD next wants to go to The Tower of London.

EBearhug Sat 10-May-14 19:15:44

Big museums like the British Museum and the V&A - it's probably easier just to concentrate on one or two galleries, rather than trying to do the lot in one day. Some of the V&A galleries are probably more child-friendly than others. You can always check out the websites to see if it might appeal or not.

Madcats Sat 10-May-14 20:41:14

What a shame you didn't post last weekend. English Heritage had the Ermine St Guard doing all things Roman at Old Sarum. We thought it was great. The members seemed passionate about their theme and were happy to explain...slowly.

There seem to be quite a few re-enactment groups around. Try looking on the English Heritage website under "events".

If you can get up to London with ease, definitely definitely go to the Museum of London.

I've managed to persuade DD (6) that the V&A merits a short detour of an hour or 2 once in a while. They have some great bits for kids in many of the galleries (possibly a bit childish for year 5, not sure). Maybe let her research the museum online and decide what she would like to see. They have a great cafe too, and open late most Fridays in the summer.

Are you anywhere near this place?

TeenAndTween Sat 10-May-14 21:11:34

DD1 loves her history too.

Old Sarum (EH) in Salisbury often has re-enactments,
as does Old Basing House (Hants Culture Passport)
Milestones in Basingstoke (HCP) has old streets and shops and is worth a visit.
Manor Farm nr j8? M27 (HCP) has Victorian school room
Fishbourne has already been mentioned.
Broadlands, Romsey occasionally seems to have a Living History weekend which has been good.
Hurst Castle (EH) at Calshot New Forest is worth a visit on a nice day.

In London we've enjoyed the British Museum (best to tie in to a school topic though eg Egyptians or Greeks), and the Imperial War Museum (when they do WWII - has some good bits about day to day life).

Agree Roman Baths are good.

My younger DD2, now aged 9 has been to all of these except Hurst Castle and has enjoyed them all at her own level so all the above would be good for any age 3 upwards.

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 10-May-14 21:42:20

If I remember right Fishbourne does re-enactment things in the holidays (mind I moved from near there many years ago but must have been about 10 times on school trips, taking family friends, exchange students etc). Weald and Downland Open Air Museum is great as has already been suggested. What about Bletchley Park? different era of history. Bucklers Hard near Beaulieu?

DeWee Sun 11-May-14 10:33:48

Ds (aged 6yo) loves history, but his favoured time is WWII.
Horrible History books, My Story, Geoffrey Trease, Usborne history books are all great. Also don't discount adult books, ds trawls the seoncd hand books shops and comes out with all sorts, as long as there are a number of pictures, he copes fine.

I also keep an eye open for special events (we're off to a WWII reenactment day at a museum today). He wears his favoured outfit with is shorts, long sleeve t-shirt and knitted gillet, which is close enough to WWII boy outfit for him to get up close-the reenactors are always really pleased to talk to someone with an interest (even if the interest may be in regaling them with facts about the Spitfire) and wearing something that looks like they've made an effort to dress up gets special attention.

There's also quite often news articules on the BBC of interest, and if you search youtube there are a lot of clips on there-particularly off the history channel, which as far as I can tell is aimed at ds' level, at any rate it does not go over his head.

grayling57 Sun 11-May-14 12:51:43

I loved history at that age! I remember being particularly obsessed with Romans and Usbourne had a wonderful book about them which I got for Easter one year. I liked going to castles. I really liked the books by Rosemary Sutcliff like Eagle of the Ninth and there are some wonderful books by Michelle Morrigan (?) about evacuation like Goodnight Mr Tom and Back Home. And I liked watching Cadfael - these are on Youtube if you look - and maybe she might like Pride and Prejudice, especially if you can explain a little about the historical background (Wiki will help).

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