When my 6-year-old twins asked me to learn about the Ice Age I was so excited to put together a little unit study for them!
Let’s be honest, anytime any of my kids ask me to teach them about a certain subject, my homeschool mom heart rejoices! Learning things because they want to and not because I’m suggesting it, yay!
My kids tend to not want to spend much time on one theme, so for me doing a unit for more than a few days will turn into them losing interest completely. Of course, that is something I definitely don’t want to happen so I have to choose my books and activities wisely. If I can find 2-3 books that will do it for us and 1 or 2 activities then we are golden.
For our Ice Age unit my twins wanted to focus on animals of that period mostly. I did sneak in a little information about early humans as well.
Here are some recommendations for books for elementary age learners.
The main books we used were The Magic Treehouse #7 Sunset of the Sabertooth by Mary Pope Osborne and the companion Fact Tracker for it Sabertooths and the Ice Age: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House 7: Sunset of the Sabertooth . These books were perfect for their age! Enough fact mixed with adventure to keep them intrigued and excited. When the main story got them asking questions I was easily able to answer them with the Fact Tracker book.
We also read through the entire book Eye Wonder: Early People. We loved the game and questions in the back of the book. I even learned so much that I had never known before about early humans. It was a little dry though but the illustrations were great so that made up fr the dry facts.
I love the You Wouldn’t Want to Be series and You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Mammoth Hunter: Dangerous Beasts You’d Rather Not Encounter didn’t disappoint. I mean what 6 year old wouldn’t get a kick out of reading how hunters had to cover themselves in mammoth poo.
Explore The Ice Age!: With 25 Great Projects (Explore Your World) by Cindy Blobaum was super helpful to look at and get activities from. We didn’t read through the entire thing but it was nice to have to delve deeper with projects.
The Saber Tooths are the Big Cats: Ice Age (Awesome Ancient Animals) book and the Mammoth and Mastodon book by Jennifer Zeiger were perfect for delving more into detail about these prehistoric giants.
No unit study is complete without a few picture books and activity books. We really enjoyed reading From Wolf to Woof: The Story of Dogs by Hudson Talbott and The First Dog by Jan Brett they both talk about how wolves became dogs. We are huge wolf and dog lovers so these were so fun for my twins. The First Drawing by Mordicai Gerstein really got our imaginations going with its take on how the first drawings began. We loved looking at the pictures of cave paintings, then trying our hand at making our own.
Since my kids favorite part of this unit was learning about mammoths they loved The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth It reminded me of the Night at the Museum movies. We even have the mammoth plushie to go along with it. We loved using the Ice Age sticker books from Usborne , my twins were so excited about them they even brought them to bed. This book has great information in it too so it can be read again and again even after your kids are done using the stickers.
I mentioned before that we made our own cave art! I cut a long piece of brown butcher paper and crumpled it up to give it texture like a bumpy cave wall. At first, my daughter Riley wasn’t so thrilled with that but we talked about how it made the art more realistic so she understood and was happy to start. I taped it up and we used oil pastels to draw and shade saber tooth cats, mammoths, wooly rhinos, and fun handprints just like in the books we have been reading. We were so happy with how it came out!
This was such a fun unit to delve into. I’m hoping that we can revisit it at a later time to do more hands-on projects but like I said earlier the twins started to lose interest a little bit after a few days so I backed off with pushing more activities. I can’t wait to see what they ask to learn about next! Have you studied this time period with your kids yet? If so, what was your favorite book to use ?
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