Discussing Early Humans with Preschoolers

So we’ve been working on World History this year and I’ve struggled to come up with ways to make these topics accessible to my 4 year old.  Like most kids his age (and maybe most kids in general) he learns best when he can touch and interact with the materials so I’ve turned his train table into a History table.  Our first unit was Dinosaurs and I made a sensory bin full of plastic dinosaurs and gave him paleontologist tools to unearth them. That combined with a bin full of books on dinosaurs next to the table gave him plenty of opportunities to play with his new ideas.

Now we’re talking about early humans and I changed the table to match.

I put out lincoln logs and stones for building shelters

cinnamon coffee cake playdough to make clay pots/bowls/etc

a bin filled with homemade cloud dough (I used vegetable oil and added a little vanilla for scent, ours has kept in an airtight container for months and months) and a handful of pumpkin seeds to plant

plastic fruit and vegetables to harvest

a small “lake” full of fish and crustaceans for food



And people (ours came with the lincoln logs so they’re not exactly dressed appropriately, but they work)


And Brady has been making his own early agrarian societies ever since.

We also made cave paintings. We talked about how early humans used dirt and plants to make paint and then we raided the spice rack


He added a little water (the graduated cylinder is Brady’s new favorite tool)


Stirred it up


And painted with his fingers


(this was also a neat sensory project because of the different smells and textures)

And here are some of the reference materials we’ve used:

DK “History of the World

“The First Farmers” by Jonathon Norton Leonard

DK Eyewitness Books “Prehistoric Life”

DK Eyewitness Books “Fossil”

DK Eyewitness Books “Early Humans”

DK Eyewitness Books “Evolution”

“Over 6,000 Years Ago In The Stone Age” by Hazel Mary Martell

“The Story of Life on Earth” by Nicholas Harris (I thought this one was a particularly good, accessible overview for young kids)

This National Geographic “Earth: Making of a Planet” movie is also a good way of leading into a unit on Early humans (although it is a bit violent/dramatic)

We also watched “Ice Age” just for fun.

And that wraps up our early humans unit.

*The above are not affiliate links (nor are any other links you will find on my blog), just things we’ve found interesting/helpful*



2 thoughts on “Discussing Early Humans with Preschoolers

  1. Pingback: floating grapes flu bugs « Teaching Brady

  2. Pingback: Ancient Egypt « Teaching Brady

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