Finish out your history class with a bang with these creative end of the year games! They are a fun way to review history for kids, and many would work for a literature class as well. They are easily adapted for different age groups by requiring different levels of detail and complexity in their responses.
10 Fun History Games to End the School Year
1. The Dinner Party
I am shamelessly borrowing this from one of my favorite high school teachers. The students are throwing a dinner party, and the guests are the major historical figures they have studied during the year. Their task is to create a seating chart for their guests. Who would they seat together and why? This works well as an individual or group project.
2. Head-to-Head Matchups
It seems that so much of history is about war and conquest, so have your students decide who they think the biggest and baddest conquerors were by lining them up in one-on-one matchups. Could Alexander the Great defeat Napoleon? Was a Persian royal guard tougher than an Assyrian solider? Why or why not? You could also do all kinds of variations: Which orator could outspeak the others? Which king commanded the most loyalty? Older students might like to set it up like a video game, which each opponent is rated on several factors, like strength, intellect, loyalty of troops, support of the people, etc.
3. Fantasy Conquest Teams
Following the conquest theme (can you tell we’ve been studying ancient history?), have your students create fantasy conquest teams, by taking warriors and leaders from various periods you’ve studied to create super teams then imagine what would happen as they battle it out. Who would win? What would the ultimate prize be?
4. Wanted Posters
Have your students create wanted posters for various historical figures, complete with drawings and a list of crimes. You’ll find plenty of material no matter what the time period!
5. Time Travel: Take 1
Students pick one time period studied during the year that they would like to visit. Why would they like to go there and what do they think would happen if they did? This would work well as an essay, a short story, or a play.
6. Time Travel: Take 2
Now imagine that someone from the past (Cleopatra? Newton? Confucius? a medieval peasant?) traveled through time to your town today. What would they think of what they encounter? How would they act? Would they want to go home again or stay? Again, this could be an essay, short story, or play.
7. Modern Makeover
Take a famous city or landmark you have studied and have the students give it a modern upgrade. What would the Pyramid at Giza look like if it were being built today? Who would build it and how? Would it have wi-fi??
8. Crash Course
A visitor to your class wants to know what your students have learned this year. Have them give a short summary in 5 minutes or less! Bonus points for humor and use of visuals.
9. Yearbook Photos
Your historical figures are graduating from high school, and your students are putting together their yearbook. Who would have been captain of the football team, and who would have been president of the chess club? Come up with some fun “Most Likely to…” captions.
10. Twenty Questions
Have the students take turns picking a mystery historical figure or event. The other students have to try to guess the answer by asking yes or no questions, such as “Was this person a political leader?” or “Are you thinking of a battle?”
What games have you played with your students to finish out the year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!