Kids: Things To Do At Home
These resources are designed to help children of all ages explore topics in American history. The majority of the resources on this page are for school-aged children. Check the side bar for links to Smithsonian resources and activities for early learners.
Look, Talk, Play
This activity is designed for grades Pre-K-5.
These activities help young learners build skills in literacy, creativity, and communication while using everyday materials and exploring interesting topics. A series of five, each activity uses objects from across the Smithsonian as a jumping-off point for learning through play as well as tips for caregivers.
These activities are mostly designed for grades K-5; however, reading recommendations are for all ages.
Experience history together first-hand through fun family activities and great book recommendations. If you like history, there’s something here for you! Visit the site »
History Time Videos
This content is designed for grades K-5.
For elementary school students to practice thinking routines by carefully observing museum objects and artifacts. Each video has an accompanying lesson plan with activities for students to do in the class or home. See video playlist on YouTube »
Spark!Lab "Try" Activities
These activities are targeted for grades K-6. Younger children may require assistance with reading and following instructions and materials handling.
Innovative thinking helps us shape the world around us. Draper Spark!Lab activities are designed around common themes that connect to the National Museum of American History collections and exhibitions. Themes are developed broadly to incorporate a wide range of collections and change every four months, ensuring that regular visitors have something new to explore. Visit the site »
Also, you can go digital and check out Spark!Lab challenges using Tinkercad, a free app for 3D designing. Through these activities, you can reinvent a shopping cart, design a stadium, invent something to help clean plastic out of the ocean, and more! Try the activities »
Family Audio Tour
This activity is designed for grades 1-6.
Enjoy a highlights tour (now available online!) of objects on display at the museum around the theme “People who make a difference.” Stops on the tour include Julia Child's kitchen, a Revolutionary War gunboat, and the Muppets. Take the tour »
Tracking the Buffalo
This activity is designed for grades K-8.
Decipher the imagery in a buffalo hide painting to understand the buffalo’s role in the lives of American Indians who live on the northern plains. Visit the site »
Star Spangled Banner
These activities are recommended for grades K-12.
Explore the flag that inspired the National Anthem. Discover stories about how the Star Spangled Banner was made, its history, and its preservation. Answer quiz questions to earn stars. Get them all right and claim your reward. Visit the site »
Build a Sod House
This activity is designed for grades K-12.
Construct your own sod house on the open prairie the way settlers did in the 1800s. Will yours stay standing? (Requires the Flash plug-in.) Visit the site »
American Enterprise Simulations and Explorations
These activities are designed for grades 3-12.
Explore the history of American business and consumerism throughout different historical eras. For younger learners, try "Have a Cup." "Farming Challenge," or "Market Revolution." Visit the site »
Preparing for the Oath
This activity is designed for grades 4-12.
Preparing for the Oath is an easy-to-use study guide for the civics portion of the U.S. Naturalization Test. Here, you can learn about U.S. history and government and practice for the test. (Requires the Flash plug-in.) Visit the site »
Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery (app for Apple iPad)
This game is designed for grades 5-12.
With the sudden and curious departure of her last intern, Museum Curator Isabella Wagner needs your help solving a mystery dating back to the Civil War. Could there be ghosts trapped in the basement of the National Museum of American History? Play the game to find out! Visit the site »
Museum YouTube Channel
These videos are designed for a wide age range.
The National Museum of American History’s YouTube channel offers engaging video content on a variety of historical topics. See a list of videos that are appropriate for student-aged audiences. Visit the site »
These activities are designed for a wide age range. Younger audiences may require assistance with reading and site navigation.
Use Voyager, the Smithsonian’s online 3D viewing platform, to explore 3D scans of some of the objects from the Smithsonian’s collections. You can search by featured object, by collection, or by the museum in which the object’s collection is housed. Voyager includes features that allow you to go beyond simply viewing the object to take virtual tours and connect to additional sources to learn more. Visit the site »