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The Great Depression Hands On Activities

Hands On Activities

The Great Depression hands on activities: photographing our life, building Hoovervilles, and eating spam for lunch.

It’s interesting when your history studies get closer to time periods you remember your grandparents talking about. I am sure in a few weeks it will get stranger teaching them about the 1980’s.

After our friendly competition in the stock market game in our last All American History JR lesson it was interesting to see how this one event affected the economy.

We started the week by watching a DVD from Netflix, The American Experience: The Crash of 1929.

The Great Depression Hands On Activities: Photography

From our family study guide and book Children of the Great Depression
I got the idea to have my boys pretend they were hired by the president to document the life of a young boy.

I gave them my camera and sent them off to photograph. About 10 minutes later I gave them the lesson on “standing still” to take photographs and deleted the 150 blurry photos.

When I uploaded the photos I switched them to black and white. I created some simple scrapbook pages for them to make a book. I printed the photos and had the boys write captions.

The Great Depression Scrapbook Pages

Great-Depression-2c  Great-Depression-c

The Great Depression Hands On Activities: Hoovervilles

I allowed the boys to build a shantytown or “Hooverville.” These makeshift homes built by the homeless people of 1930s allowed my boys to understand the impact of unemployment and homelessness. It really was like blanket forts we have done in the past, but this time we were focusing on our history lesson.

The Great Depression Hands On Activities

The Great Depression Hands On Activities: Food

We ended the week by having a lunch based on companies that started producing foods in the 1930s. I have to say eating Spam, Frito Lay and Krispy Kreme Donuts scored me some major cool mom points. Following the directions of All American History JR. lesson plans we mapped the locations of each company.

For Christmas my son had received the Lego Empire State Building. We watched the DVD, Modern Marvels: The Empire State Building and then constructed the building. It was fun to discuss the impact this building had on the Great Depression and New York City.



  1. I love the idea of a blanket fort for a Hooverville.

    FYI, your pin on the Bright Ideas press board goes to your blog in general, not to your post.

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