Our geological timeline activity was such a great success but people have asked us for something easier for younger children or a quick project for older children to do to get an idea of the timescales involved in going from the earth forming to the first people on the planet. So we have put together a free printable for you to cut and make that helps to remind your kids of the general timescale from the earth being formed to first humans.
Prehistory is the time before people appeared on the planet. It’s from the creation of earth through to early man and covers everything from the creation of the earth, dinosaurs, and the great extinctions.
Starting at 4,600 million years ago it spans through to around 2 million years and gradual builds up.
- 4,600 million years ago the earth was formed.
- 2000 million years ago first plants
- 600 million years the first animals
- 200 million years the first mammals
- 200 – 65 million years the dinosaurs
- 2 million years ago the first people
There are lots of bits missing as this is simplified and our timeline of the creation of the earth covers more like the languages of periods of time, the environments in the different eras etc…
Creation of the Earth Dial
This free printable geological timeline model inspired by one that I made a child from a book, is quick and easy to make and is ideal as a quick reminder of the important events leading up to early man.
Materials for making your Earth Timeline Model
- FREE Printable Earth Timeline Activity Sheet -> You can download it here
- Split Pin
How to Make your Prehistory Time Dial
- Printout the time dial onto card
- Cut around the outside of each dial
- Remove the grey boxes from the front of the time dial
- Using a split pin go through the green dot in the centre and join the 2 sections
Then turn and learn as this covers the major events in prehistory and evolution.
Books about Prehistory
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We have a little library of books that I like to use when we are learning about prehistory but one book has become our primary resource – we reach for it everytime we start to learn about history.
Our main book is The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History the first section of the book goes through the evolution of the earth from the Birth of the planet to early man. This time dial is ideal to make as you read through the pages and refer back to as well as great craft to make with pages 12 and 13 of the book.
As well as our Usborne World History book above we have a few others that explore the first 4 billion years in more details.
It Started with a Bang
It Started with a Bang by Floor Bal is a beautifully illustrated book for younger readers that explores evolution from the empty space through to modern man.
AGE – Preschoolers with an interest upwards
Continental Drift: The Evolution of Our World from the Origins of Life to the Far Future
Continental Drift by Martin Ince is much more details that It Started with a Bang above and ideal for going deeper. We found the information related to how the continents formed and more fantastic and gave us a great deal of information and knowledge for Earth Science as well as Prehistory.
AGE – Upper Primary/Elementary
Bang!: How We Came to Be
Another fantastic beautifully illustrated book Bang!: How We Came to Be by Michael Rubino not only explains the science behind how we know about prehistory but also brings it to life for kids as well. Falling in line with Continental Drift it can extend a little further as your child reads more about prehistory and evolution.
AGE – Upper Primary/Elementary to Middle School
Life: The First Four Billion Years: The Story of Life from the Big Bang to the Evolution of Humans
Life: The First Four Billion Years by Martin Jenkins is so detailed and fascinating as you read through about the evolution of the different creatures, plants, bacteria and more on the earth as well as the climates and environmental changes that have occurred. This is written for older kids and I could see it being used all the way through into high school with more detailed text books. A beautiful book.
AGE – Lower Secondary School/Middle School
More Activities for Learning About Prehistory
Why not try some of these other activities to learn more about Prehistory.
- Learn about how we know prehistory existed with a simple cast fossil activity.
- Explore the Jurassic, Triassic, and Cretaceous with our Dinosaur Timeline
- Create a mould fossil with salt dough ideal for young kids