As much as our culture preaches to ‘live in the moment,’ it’s important we balance that sentiment by engaging with our rich history. Teaching kids about our history is important because our present day is a direct result of it.
Stonehenge exists as a blatant reminder that our existence is pre-dated by a world much different than ours. Using the monument of Stonehenge is a great way to open the door on conversations about our history with your child! Here are tips to get you started when teaching kids about Stonehenge.
What is Stonehenge?
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument existing on an entire landscape of ceremonial monuments. It is located in Wiltshire, England where its construction dates back nearly 5000 years. Some of the stones weigh up to 30 tons! Ask your child how they would move a stone so large without a truck or train!
Kids learning ancient architecture with Stonehenge
Stonehenge is considered to be architecturally sophisticated for its time. The stones are arranged with interlocking joints, something that is non-existent in any other prehistoric monument. And so the mystery begins.
There isn’t any concrete evidence of the purpose for building Stonehenge. When it comes to teaching your child history, sometimes it’s best to analyze many different theories and ask them why or why not that theory may be right. Here is a great documentary suitable for kids about Stonehenge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP2DlTwQuIY
Learn about solstices using Stonehenge
Today, one of Stonehenge’s most popular reasons for relevance, is its alignment with the sun. And by sun, we mean the changing seasons: the summer and winter solstices.
Here is a resource for building your own Stonehenge so your child can understand how it relates to the sun’s patterns.
Perhaps Stonehenge is how our ancestors observed the patterns of the sun? Maybe planting the seeds of what would become our calendar? These are questions and possibilities you can discuss with your child. After all, the calendar didn’t just ‘appear,’ it was developed based on a stream of acquired knowledge throughout the ages.
History as an opportunity to learn
Stonehenge, like any historical monument, is meant to act as an invitation to learn. Take the time to dig a little deeper with your child. Help them realize that the ground they walk on today was inhabited by many before them. Monuments like Stonehenge are a way we can discover a tiny piece of what life might have been like in the past.
If you don’t know where to start with teaching children history, we wrote a previous blog on Khan Academy— a great resource for finding kid-friendly history lessons! Here’s their resource for children learning about Stonehenge:
Finally, here is inspiration for a stonehenge lesson plan, so you and your private tutor can get a head start!