You Wouldn’t Want to be a Civil War Soldier!

Fast and Easy Extension Activities for You Wouldn’t Want to be a Civil War Soldier! A War You’d Rather Not Fight by Thomas Ratliff

I’m back once again with more videos, crafts, and assorted projects for this book. I usually don’t do a lot of crafts and acting out of war-type activities, so this will be mostly videos this time around.   Let me know if you find any typos or broken links. Thanks!


Beginning-Page 5

I felt this book didn’t do a great job of explaining what the Civil War was about, so I added this short video from A Kid Explains History to give an overview.  

Pages 6-7

A 4-minute video looking at the officers and jobs of the Civil War. As with all war things, it does talk about how some died, but nothing too graphic. 

Pages 8-9

Civil War Uniforms and Equipment (Does mention guns and show small amounts of reenactment). The video only shows the union uniform, but the photos, if you scroll down, also show the confederate uniform.  


A look at food for the Union Soldiers. It does mention butchering animals.  


A list of authentic civil war recipes to choose from. 

Pages 10-11

A look at how to roll a bedroll. Your child can practice folding their own blanket into a bedroom and maybe even try napping on it to see how comfortable it would be. 

Pages 12-13

A look mostly at the picnickers at the first Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), but again, war. I try to pick ones with the least amount of shown violence while still being interesting and not too hard for children. 

Pages 14-15

Video about the daily life of being a soldier (with only a little actual battle)

Pages 16-17

There aren’t that many great videos about Antietam that don’t show too many graphic photos of the dead and lots of battle scenes or are very advanced. This one is on the advanced side, but it is informative, short, and better than most in terms of graphic images.  


After watching about a dozen or more videos looking for something that would kind of explain the Emancipation Proclamation in a way young children can understand it without being too dull, the best videos I could find were songs. 

Here is one, a song parody.


Here is another song

Pages 18-19

Another “In 4 minutes” video, this time about weaponry, I would like to use a bit more variety in my video selections, but these are short and easy to understand and limit onscreen violence. 

Pages 20-21 

After previewing dozens of videos, this one seems to best show the Battle of Gettysburg without actually showing any battle. 

Pages 22-23

A demonstration of civil war medical practices. Not for the faint of heart. 

Pages 24-25

Background on the Monitor and the Merrimack

Pages 26-27

Abraham Lincoln animated movie

Pages 28-29

For children who are ready to handle a full movie with some violence in it, here is a Christian movie review for the movie Gettysburg. It does have a strong influence showing people praying and talking about God, although that is balanced by scenes of war.  


Page 33

Harriet Tubman animated movie classic

Read-Aloud of the book Sarah Emma Edwards was a Great Pretender.

Read-Aloud of the book Mary Wears What She Wants by the American Civil War Museum

Read-Aloud of the book Brave Clara Barton

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