Columbus Day this year falls on Monday, October 8th. Because the kids may be home from school, you’re probably looking for ways to entertain them. You may also want them to learn and understand a little bit about the holiday. Your kids may be interested in many aspects of the Columbus story. Who was he, and why did he sail to America? What was the voyage like? Who was here when he arrived, and what happened next? Here are a few fun ideas and activities you can use to educate and entertain your kids on the Columbus Day holiday.
- Start with some information. You’ll want to go to the library the week or weekend ahead of time, since it will probably be closed on the holiday. Pick out some books about Columbus and his voyage that are geared towards children, and read them together. Here are a few suggestions to look for: For 4- to 8-year olds, look for In 1492 by Jean Marzollo, which adapts the famous rhyme about Christopher Columbus, or Christopher Columbus by Stephen Krensky, which will answer some questions about life aboard a ship. For 8- to 12-year-olds, check out Animals Christopher Columbus Saw: An Adventure in the New World by Sandra Markle, which talks about the ways animals affected Columbus’s journey, and how the journey affected some animals, or You Wouldn’t Want to Sail With Christopher Columbus!: Uncharted Waters You’d Rather Not Cross by Fiona MacDonald, David Antram, and David Salariya, which puts young readers in the shoes of a boy who has the opportunity to join Christopher Columbus on his voyage.
- Make a map. Now that you all know a little more about Columbus’s voyage, have your kids try to imagine their own. Have your kids pretend they’re setting sail for a new, undiscovered land. Using crayons, colored pencils, or markers, have them draw their own maps of the uncharted waters and lands that they may encounter along the way. Also, encourage them to imagine what types of people, animals, and plants they will find when they get there.
- Build a ship. Let your kids build their own versions of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Use egg cups painted brown for the body of the ship. Cut out sails from white construction paper. Use glue to attach the sails to toothpicks, and then line the bottom of the egg cup with a layer of modeling clay. Insert the toothpicks into the clay and presto! Your ships are done.
These are just a few possible ideas to help you fill the day, and your children’s minds, on Columbus Day. Columbus Day brings up many possibilities for a fun and interesting day.