African Kingdoms PDF


African Kingdoms is a month-long course about the Mali Empire, Benin and Kongo kingdoms, Ethiopian kingdom, and Swahili Coast city-states. It is for teaching ages 6 to 18.


African Kingdoms is the eighth unit in the Middle Ages History course. This unit covers the kingdoms and empires of sub-Saharan Africa in the middle ages including Mali, Benin, Kongo, Ethiopia, the Swahili Coast, and Great Zimbabwe.

This book is for adult mentors to use as a resource when planning lessons, not a textbook for students.

This unit has sections on:

  • Mali Empire
  • Benin & Kongo
  • Ethiopia
  • Swahili Coast

Layers of Learning is activity-based and this unit guide includes many hands-on ways to learn about African Kingdoms. Here are a few things you will find to do inside this unit:

  • Color a map of Africa during the middle ages
  • Make Malian mud cloth with actual mud
  • Learn about Mansa Musa and create a sand picture
  • Build mini library of Timbuktu
  • Make a paper mache Benin mask
  • Fold a pop-out accordion book about the Zagwe Dynasty of Ethiopia
  • Play Swahili language bingo
  • And so much more!

Layers of Learning History units include Library Lists of books on the topic, a family read-aloud suggestion, hands-on activities, printables and paper crafts, sidebars for extra learning, and tools to help you assess your student’s progress and mastery. Learn more about how Layers of Learning works.

See Inside

This is a view of a two page spread from African Kingdoms:

On these two pages you can see an Exploration about Lalibela churches. The colored similes tell you this activity is for kids in the early, middle, and upper grades. Most explorations are for all ages.

There are sidebars like these on every page of the unit as well. You can use the sidebars as extras anywhere you like. The unit book is meant as a guide for the mentor in planning lessons, not a textbook for the student. So the mentor picks which explorations and which sidebars to use.


This unit was written to be used for a month but contains plenty of content for many more weeks of learning if you choose. This is a pick-and-choose curriculum, meant to be cycled back to in the future when your child is older. As such, it intentionally includes far more material than you can possibly cover in a month.

African Kingdoms is also part of the overall Middle Ages History course, the second Year of the four year Layers of Learning History cycle. If you use the program in order, it will take you through the history of the world from ancient times through the 21st century. However, each unit stands alone and can be used independently of any other unit.

Printable Pack

This unit comes with a downloadable Printable Pack that includes all the student worksheets. The printables can be copied as many times as needed for your family or class.

You can download the Printable Pack from your receipt or from your account at Layers of Learning.


Extra Resources

This unit comes with extra weblinks and a YouTube video playlist on the  Middle Ages History Resources page.


PDF Download








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