Year 1 History and Geography

history and geography owl

The Stone Age and Stonehenge


The Stone Age

Let's go back in our imaginations thousands of years ago. What would Britain have looked like? Our very, very distant ancestors lived in what we call the Stone Age because these early humans lived very primitive lives and used only very basic tools.

To stay alive, people hunted and gathered plants. They couldn't buy their clothes or food, so they had to make or find everything. They made tools out of sticks and stones. Sometimes, they even found time to decorate the caves where they lived with cave paintings (you can make your own cave painting by following the activity on page 154 of What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know).

The most important task for early humans was finding food. They picked the wild plants and hunted for animals to eat. They were called 'hunters and gatherers' and were always on the move. Why did they have to keep moving? They followed the animals as the animals looked for greener grass and a warmer climate. Having to move constantly made life hard for early humans until they learned how to tame animals and grow crops like wheat so they could settle down one place, knowing that they had a regular supply of food.


Although the people of those days had only very simple tools, they left something that has amazed people ever since. It is called Stonehenge and it is in Wiltshire, in the South-West of England.

Huge stones, some of which were brought over land from hundreds of miles away, were set up in a circle. Other stones were arranged inside this circle in a special pattern. What do you see the photo above? These stones are very, very heavy. A lot of people would need to work together to move them around and raise them up. How did they do it, with only very simple tools made of sharp stones and animal bones? It is a great mystery, and people have tried for hundreds of years to understand it. Nobody knows what Stonehenge was built for. Perhaps it was to do with religious beliefs, as it is arranged so that the rising sun falls on the stones in a certain way. Perhaps it was a sort of calendar or a place people went to when they wanted to get well. One day you might visit Stonehenge, then you can try to think it out for yourself.

This activity is adapted from pages 137 - 139 of What Your Year 1 Child Needs to Know, which can be purchased here.