The purpose of this post is to provide teachers, parents, and students (and anyone else interested in learning history) with a handpicked collection of interactive history games to help with history learning. All you need is a browser and an Internet connection. The games are engaging, interactive, and fun to play. Students won’t complain again about history being boring!
These online history games cover the three main types of history games (according to Karen Schrier): Games that focus on the representation of the past, games that promote interaction with historic themes and concepts, and games that are played within a ‘historical or history-related setting’. To learn more about these history game types I recommend reading History and Social Studies: Using Digital Games to Teach History and Historical Thinking by Karen Schrier.
As students engage with these online history games, they get to develop multiple skills including: decision making, perspective-taking, the ability to weigh various types of evidence, compare and contrast sources, and many more.
1. Mission US
Mission US is an educational media project that helps students improve their history learning. Using interactive narrative games “immerse players in rich, historical settings and empower them to make choices that illuminate how ordinary people experienced the past.”
Popular games offered by Mission US include 1770 The American Revolution, 1866 Westward Expansion, 1907 The Immigrant Experience, 1929 The Great Depression, 1941 World War II, 1960 The Civil Rights Movement, and 1848 The Antebellum Era.
Besides history games, Mission US also offers various educational resources to use with students in class including document-based activities, vocabulary builders, writing prompts, review questions, primary source documents, suggestions for further reading and research, and many more.
iCivics is a leading civics education platform that offers a wide range of educational resources that include games, lesson plans, webquests, videos, among others. These materials help students learn about different social studies topics including civil rights, governance, citizenship, public policy, the constitution, media, news literacy, and more.
iCivics also offers a number of interesting history games to use with students in class. One interesting history game that stands out to me is Race to Ratify.
“Race to Ratify drops your students into 1787, where the ink is still drying on the new Constitution. Will it become the law of the land or will it fall into the dustbin of history? The fate of the young nation is in their hands! Use this game to teach the big ideas at the core of the ratification debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists.”
3. Mr Nussbaum history games
Mr Nussbaum website includes a section featuring numerous engaging history games. Some interesting titles included are:
– Civil War Word Search: “This is an online word search with the Civil War-themed words. Choose with or without a timer.”
– Halls of History – Online U.S. History Game: “This game will test your visual knowledge of American history. There are seven sections to the game, five of which cover historical eras until the Civil War, and two of which cover famous people in American history.”
– American or World History Timeline: “This fun game challenges students to drag and drop the historical events (with brief descriptions) to their correct places on the timeline. Students must complete three boards successfully to win the game. “
– Glamour Legends:”This fun game allows students to dress up George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Tubman, or Christopher Columbus in more modern, or more primitive clothes.”
– Who is Your Founding Father? “In this innovative game, students determine the “Founding Father” by evaluating the accomplishments of Franklin, Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton on a significance scale of 1-10. ”
– American Revolution Timeline: “This fun and challenging game requires students to correctly order revolutionary war events along the timeline. Easy and Hard levels are available. Very fun, but very challenging.”
– Not Boring Jeopardy – 13 Colonies Edition: “This is a “jeopardy” like game on the 13 colonies. It’s super fun for classrooms, individuals, or small teams, totally customizable”.
4. Planet 42 History Games
Planet 42 features over 40 online games to help you learn history. The games come in different formats and styles including arcades, puzzles, racing games, quizzes, and more. Examples of history games featured in Planet 42 are American Civil War Puzzles, Cold War Puzzles, Ages of History Game, Seven Wonders Adventure Game, Great Pyramid Puzzle, History Dressing Games, History Figure Games, History Map Games, and many more.
5. School History
School History provides a huge library of teaching resources for history teachers including various interactive history games. School History provides history games in different play styles: there is the Fling the Teacher games in which students get to fling their teacher high into the sky each time they make correct answers, Beat da Bomb history games engage students in a race against time to answer all the questions before the time is up, in Hoop Shoot history games students get shots at scoring baskets for each correct answer, Historical Hangman requires students to come up with correct answers to figure out the historical figure, and many more.
6. Minecraft Education
Minecraft Education offers a plethora of history games to use with kids and students. Each of these games comes with various resources such as guiding ideas, student activities, learning objectives, performance expectations, and more. Some of the featured history games include:
– Timecraft- History Edu Review: “7 Villages with coordinates allow students to build demonstrations of their understanding of a course or unit in history within an appropriate setting”.
–Titanic: “In this game, students learn about the history of the Titanic, rebuild its inside, and build a redstone circuit to get light to the flower floors”.
– History Blocks: “The purpose of this activity is to guide teachers through an activity in which students reconstruct Unesco world heritage sites Minecraft”.
– Replicating Landmarks: “Students research and recreate a structure from history such as a building, monument, castle, bridge, or other large manmade object.”
BrainPOP is an educational platform that offers different learning materials for students in grades K-12. These include games, animated movies, quizzes, and more. Subjects covered include social studies, English, Math, Music, Arts, Health, and Technology. I conducted a quick search for history games on the site and found a list of interesting history games to use with kids and students. Some of these games are:
– Sortify American Revolution: “Sort colonists and events leading to the American Revolution by common characteristics; pair cause and effect; and order future Presidents.”
– Sortify: Native American History: “Categorize and sort traditional American Indian tribes and attributes of Native American groups before Columbus”
– Sortify: World-Changing Women: “Use strategy to up your points! Show your knowledge of World-Changing Women by sorting these current and historical figures according to self-selected categories”.
– Sortify: U.S. Constitution: “Sort concepts of the U.S. government, including personal rights, the three branches, state powers, and the Supreme Court, into categories”.
8. Printable and online history learning games
The website, Students Handouts, offers a large collection of interactive games and quizzes to use in K-12 classrooms. The games cover history, math, ELA, Science, Cultural Literacy, and more. The games are ideal for studying for tests and reviewing course materials. The history games are arranged into two broad categories: American History Games, and World History Games.
For instance, the World History Games category features games related to the following sub-categories: Early Humans games, Ancient Egypt games, Ancient Civilizations games, Ancient Israel games, World religions games, Ancient India games, Ancient East Asia games, Ancient Greece games, Ancient Rome’s games, Byzantine Empire games, and many more.
9. Ducksters history resources
Ducksters offers a wide variety of educational resources covering History, Biography, Geography, and Science. The resources in the history section, for instance, are arranged into three main categories: Ancient History, World History, and US History. Each category contains various sub-categories. You will find lessons and reading materials covering different historical events.
There are quizzes at the end of each reading material for students to test their historical knowledge. In the US History section, for example, you will find resources on Native Americans, Colonial America, The American Revolution, The American Civil War, Westward Expansion, The Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement, United States Government, US History Pre-1900s, and US History 1900s to Present.