Connecting children to their community is of the utmost importance. When a kid learns about history they are able to develop greater appreciation of their home and make better decisions for their future.

History lessons do not have to be relegated to the classroom. Turn a child into an architectural detective and have them learn the past through the built environment. Building materials provide physical evidence of the past. Limestone foundations teach a child about fossils. Showing the difference between handmade and man made bricks can provide evidence of a building’s age. Gas lights can illuminate a child on how people had light before there was a light bulb.

Every year, hundreds of children tour the German Village Historic District in Columbus, Ohio, and history is brought to life. While working for the German Village Society, I saw an opportunity to continue education beyond a guided tour and introduce these concepts to schools unable to take a field trip.

I developed a coloring book to teach students the history behind architecture in the German Village Historic District, German immigrants, and house histories. Recognizing a nonprofit’s budgetary restrictions, Marsom partnered with NBBJ architects to create drawings pro-bono and she successfully acquired an Ohio Arts Council grant to assist with printing costs. Once printed, the color books were offered for sale at special events and gift shops with all income supporting future printing of color books. Today interested schools receive complimentary German Village coloring books.

Coloring books are a creative way to introduce children to history, while inspiring them to be more cognizant of their community’s surroundings. Every community as unique assets and a coloring book can ensure local children develop pride in place.