Creating A History Timeline Book

Keep a record of history and develop a visual understanding of when key events took place.

Harry and Teddy creating a Stone Age timeline
Harry and Teddy creating a Stone Age timeline

Sharing Stories

My favourite aspect of history is the stories which have been passed down through time. One of our family favourites is the story of King Cnut. According to the story he walked down to the sea to show that even his power as a King was not strong enough to control the natural elements of the tide. This story was not written down at the time of the events so different versions have been told overtime with the same moral ending.

Like many children, Teddy and Harry enjoy listening to this story and others. They often request for the same tale to be told over and over again. Stories like that of King Cnut which are based on real historical figures or in a specific time period can often be confusing to children.

Timeline from our Castles topic
Timeline from our Castles topic

A Visual Perspective

To help Teddy and Harry put events into perspective, I have created timeline cards. When we are learning about a specific time in history, we sort the timeline cards into chronological order. This provides the children with a visual way to see history and presents an opportunity to develop an understanding of dates and time.

From my research I have seen the start and finish dates vary greatly, therefore in this activity I will show aspects of the way people lived rather than specific dates and events.

One fun way to do this is to tie a piece of string between two chairs and have them peg the cards onto the string.

Teddy looking into the Stone Age
Using books and timeline cards to better understand history.

We are currently exploring activities related to the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age. This happened such a long time ago and covers such a large period of time that it is difficult for children (and adults) to comprehend.

We began by creating a timeline across the floor, using lines of different coloured paper as a way of differentiating the various periods. The dates in our timeline only refer to the beginning and end of each time period. During this time people did not keep written records as we do now. Therefore, nobody knows exactly when a house was built or pot was made. As a result, this is not an exact science but relies on best guesses and expert opinions.

To help the boys keep a record of history and develop a visual understanding of when key events took place, we made a history timeline book. This is an ongoing project in which we can continue to add more and more information.

An example of our timeline notebook.
An example of our timeline notebook.

Make Your Own History Timeline Book

To make your own history timeline book you will need an A4 notebook. This can be on plain or squared paper. We found that squared paper helps us to measure the years more accurately.

The first few pages will cover the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Each of these periods in time has an estimated start and end date. From my research I have seen the start and finish dates vary greatly, therefore in this activity I will show aspects of the way people lived rather than specific dates and events.

  1. Page 2 – 3 – Palaeolithic Era (Old Stone Age) 2.5 million years ago – 8,000BC
  2. Page 4 – 5 – Mesolithic Era (Middle Stone Age) 8,000Bc – 4,000BC
  3. Page 6 – 7 (Neolithic Era (New Stone Age) 4,000BC – 2,200BC
  4. Page 8 – 9 Bronze Age 2,200BC – 750BC
  5. Page 10 – 11 Iron Age 750BC – 43AD

The Iron Age ended in 43AD when the Romans invaded Britain. In your timeline notebook the year 0 will be the start of a new page, therefore the end of the Iron Age will be illustrated on the next page.

On the next set of double pages, the years in the timeline will be more specific. Draw a line across the middle of the page. Count an even number of squares to represent 10 years. Each double page will cover 100 years.

Timeline Table
Timeline Table

Continue this throughout the notebook. Each double page representing 100 years.

Timeline Notebook
Timeline Notebook

Using Your Timeline Notebook

As your child discovers each new period in history, an interesting individual or event, they can record this on their timeline. They can write the information, draw a picture, or cut out a picture from another source.

Enjoy discovering history with your child and building a visual guide to the past.

Discover Related Topics

Try out these topics, all of which have related timeline cards.

Year 1
Neil Armstrong

Armstrong timeline cards.

Year 1
Christopher Columbus

Columbus timeline cards.

Year 2
Flying Machines

The boys dropping homemade parachutes.

Year 2
Castles

Teddy looking out from a castle ruin.