Introduce your kids to some French history – and make it fun!

french kids - French history - www.MyFrenchLife.orgDo your kids like crêpes and croissants? Well they might just like French history too.

As a child I loved history – I just didn’t know it. I would absorb all I could from movies, shows and books and then recite my newfound knowledge to all of my friends.

To me, I was just having fun, but really I was learning. Before I knew it I was crazy for all things French, and all that from watching a few episodes of ‘Madeline’.

Children are very curious and love to learn new things. Teaching them French history can be the prefect gateway into the French language. And, it’s easier than you think. So, we’ve put together a little guide to help you get started.

Which historical events should I teach?

France has a very long and rich history. Figuring out where to start isn’t easy.

Each historical period or event will have a few well-known events, people or places, so start there.

Here are some of the most popular French historical people and eras:

Lessons on history, structured for French kids

To get the most out of your mini-history lessons we recommend starting with a story or film that gives a very general overview of the era or event.

French kids - French history -

Once your kids know the general story, you can have a question and answer session where you can bounce questions back and forth to see what they understood.

When the questions have been answered, it’s onto the activities. Depending on how in-depth you wish to go, you can prepare as few or as many activities as you please. Each one can focus on different aspects of the era and can help your child better understand what they’ve just learnt.

Making French history fun!

Letting kids put their own spin on history makes it fun for all of you. Creativity is your best friend.

To make learning history fun, you could try books and stories, games, movies, field trips, cooking or even arts and crafts.

How can I make these activities relate to French history?

Coming up with ideas for activities doesn’t have to be hard. As long as you can work in some facts then your lesson will be worthwhile.

The simplest connections will suffice; the key is to make learning fun so your French kids want to know more.

Here are a few ideas for linking your activities with history:

  • French kids - French history - www.MyFrenchLife.orgPlay memory games to help them remember.
  • Painting is a great way to keep their memory fresh. They can paint a picture of a French château or do their own interpretation of a Monet painting.
  • Make an afternoon tea fit for a king and discuss what life was like for the kings and queens of France.
  • Make a paper version of Napoleon’s hat complete with a tricolore cockade. While making your hats tell stories of Napoleon. They may even recognise the cockade from the revolution.

If you are planning a trip to France you’ve got a great opportunity to relate what you teach the kids with where you will be visiting. Then you can take them to see the sites and let their imaginations run wild with history.

Handy resources on teaching French history:

What are you tips for teaching kids about French history? Share your experiences and suggestions with other members below!

Image Credits
1.  Royal Irish Rifles ration party Somme July 1916 by Imperial War Museums, via Wikimedia Commons.
2. The three musketeers Fairbanks by PKM, via Wikimedia Commons. 
3. Napoleon I of France by Andrea Appiani by The Yorck Project, via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

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  1. Elise Mellor Aug 19, 2014 at 11:48 AM - Reply

    I think a lot of people are hesitant to tell their children about the nastier side of history, afraid that it will disturb/scare/upset them.
    But on my first trip to France, my sisters and I were eight, nine and eleven years old, and we loved hearing all the gory details of the guillotine and whatnot! We wanted to know all about what happened to this King and that Queen and how the peasants lived… it really got us into the French story.
    Alors, my advice would be, don’t be afraid to share the darker stuff with your kids – they are probably more resilient than you give them credit! Just, use your discretion obviously: your enfants probably don’t need to know about the really R-rated stuff…

    • Judy MacMahon Aug 19, 2014 at 12:50 PM - Reply

      Good point Elise and one I agree with. I think that Sarah Towle and her storytelling apps are a perfect example – children teenagers and now teachers all over the world are lapping up Sarah’s apps and French history stories!

    • Christina Guzman Aug 19, 2014 at 4:46 PM - Reply

      Yes!!! kids love knowing everything!! even if it’s gory! It makes what happened even more interesting and dare I say…exciting! Even those who go eeeewwww and hide away behind their hands love it!
      Which is why role playing with kids to teach them about history is a fantastic way of getting them to learn. Not many people realise that drama actually allows kids to develop their creativity as well as memory. Since they are not restricted by ‘normal conventions’, rather left free to explore events and situations, they learn more and have fun. So i would definitely recommend playing with kids and creating role play games for them to learn – it is very effective.

  2. Gift May 4, 2021 at 2:09 AM - Reply

    I like it

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