Famous Figures (movable figures)

Figures in Motion

Action figures for learning about history? That’s exactly what Cathy Diez-Luckie has created. Rather than three-dimensional plastic figures, these are two-dimensional cardstock figures with movable parts connected with mini-brads (1/8”). Perhaps the most fun for children will be cutting out and constructing each figure! This is not a difficult process since it only requires cutting, punching holes in the designated spots, and inserting brads. The Well-Trained Mind publishes this series and also sells the unusual-sized, long-reach punch and brads. Two versions of each figure are included: one in full color and the other in black-and-white for children who prefer to color figures themselves. Figures appear in authentic period costumes and are about 11 to 12 inches tall when finished.

Six books in the historical series are available. The Well-Trained Mind also publishes Dinosaurs on the Move with ten dinosaurs to construct. The books with historical figures include brief biographies of each figure along with instructions and suggestions as to how you might use the completed figures. Historical figure books and their descriptions follow.

Famous Figures of Ancient Times

Famous Figures of Ancient TimesTwenty figures have been selected from the hundreds or more that might have been chosen. One is generic rather than naming a specific person: a Greek Hoplite (citizen warrior). Other characters range far in distance and time: Narmer (unifier of Egypt), Khufu (Egyptian pharaoh), Sargon the Great (Mesopotamian ruler), Hammurabi (Babylonian king), Moses, King David, Ashurbanipal (Assyrian king), Nebuchadnezzar II (Babylonian king), Cyrus the Great (Persian king), Queen Hatshepsut (female ruler of Egypt), Lei Zu (the woman who discovered silk), Qin Shi Huangdi (a Chinese emperor), Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, Jesus, Constantine, and Augustine. Note that a significant number of these characters might also be used for Bible history. Famous Figures of Ancient Times works well as an accompaniment to Story of the World, Volume 1 and Mystery of History, Volume 1.

Famous Figures of the Middle Ages & Renaissance

This book features Justinian I, Theodora, Charlemagne, Leif Eriksson, William the Conqueror, Richard the Lionheart, Genghis Khan, Francis of Assisi, Marco Polo, Suleiman, and Joan of Arc representing the Middle Ages. Figures from the Renaissance are Johannes Gutenberg, Christopher Columbus, Queen Isabella I, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, and Galileo Galilei. Note, again, that some religious figures are included. This book coordinates well with The Story of the World, Volume 2.

Famous Figures of the American Revolution

There are ten figures in Famous Figures of the American Revolution. There is one generic figure, a Soldier of the Continental Army. The other nine characters are Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Daniel Boone, George Washington, John Adams, Molly Pitcher, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and Thomas Jefferson. This book works well with The Story of the World, Volume 3.

Famous Figures of the Civil War

This book features figures for Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Clara Barton, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Frederick Douglass, a Confederate soldier, and a Union soldier. It should supplement The Story of the World, Volume 4.

Famous Figures of the Early Modern Era

Included in this book are Mary, Queen of Scots; James I; Samuel De Champlain; Queen Nzinga; Shah Jahan: Pocahontas; Rembrandt; Louis XIV; Isaac Newton; William Penn; Peter the Great; Johann Sebastian Bach; Ch'ien-Lung; Captain James Cook; Catherine the Great; William Wilberforce; Napoleon Bonaparte; Robert Fulton; William Clark; Simon Bolivar; and Sacagawea. This book works well with The Story of the World, Volume 3

Famous Figures of Modern Times

This book coordinates well with The Story of the World, Volume 4. It includes 21 figures: Queen Victoria, Crazy Horse, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Edison, Queen Min, Emperor Meiji, a French soldier of World War I, Amelia Earhart, Mohandas Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, an American pilot of World War 2, Rosie the Riveter, Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, and Neil Armstrong.


These Famous Figure books are a great way to add a hands-on element to history studies. One drawback is that the books are relatively expensive for the number of figures per book because they are printed on cardstock in full color. The copyright page prohibits photocopying, but the publisher's policy states: "Well-Trained Mind Press' generous copyright allows the household family (via a "royalty-free family license") to copy the student materials for use within the household [immediate family]." This policy then makes the books practical for families to use. For information about rates for use in groups (co-ops or classrooms), email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pricing Information

When comparison prices appear, please keep in mind that they are subject to change. Click on links where available to verify price accuracy.

Punch - $7.50, mini-brads - $3.50 (only directly from publisher)

Famous Figures of the American Revolution: Movable Paper Figures to Cut, Color, and Assemble

Famous Figures of the American Revolution: Movable Paper Figures to Cut, Color, and Assemble

Dinosaurs on the Move: Articulated Paper Dolls to Cut, Color, and Assemble, Second Edition

Dinosaurs on the Move: Articulated Paper Dolls to Cut, Color, and Assemble, Second Edition
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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: varies
  • Grade Level: grades 1-6
  • Educational Methods: multisensory, interactive, hands-on
  • Educational Approaches: unschooling or relaxed homeschooling, eclectic, classical
  • Religious Perspective: secular but Christian friendly

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