This exploration is for all ages of kids as the smilies below show. You can color the map of Columbus’ first voyage. Then make the Columbus hat and spyglass craft with your little ones.
This exploration adds to the fun activities in Layers of Learning Unit 2-20, which is about early European explorers including Christopher Columbus. Paper crafts and historical maps are frequent elements of the Layers of Learning curriculum.
Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World was a hugely pivotal event in world history. It linked the western and eastern hemispheres and made contact with widely different civilizations.
Columbus had a dream for years about crossing the ocean but needed money, men, and ships and that meant backing from royalty. Learn about his struggle to make his dream come true and the first voyage across the uncharted ocean.
Step 1: Library Research
Start off your exploration of Columbus with a trip to your library. Just below we recommend a few books by age group, but if you can’t find these, search for Christopher Columbus and pick from your library’s selection.
Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus
by Peter Sis
By Pam Conrad
Christopher Columbus First Voyage to America: From the Log of the Santa Maria
By Christopher Columbus
Step 2: Columbus’ First Voyage Map Exploration
After you have done some reading about Columbus color a map of Columbus’ First Voyage. You might want to also trace the route around a globe.
While you color the map have a discussion about what the world was like before Columbus crossed the Atlantic and then what happened after his voyage. Learn about the Columbian exchange and the goods that were sent both directions.
For Youngsters Only: Make a Columbus Hat and Spyglass
Your younger kids will enjoy making a papercraft Columbus hat they can wear and play with while they learn about Columbus. On the front of the hat is the Jerusalem cross, because Columbus was a devout Catholic and believed to his dying day that when he discovered America, he did it at the behest of God.
On the back of the hat are the words “In 1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue.” It’s a pivotal date; one of the most important in world history. Your kids should remember it.
Then make a spyglass with the map of Columbus’ first voyage printed on it.
Step 3: Show What You Know
After reading and coloring the map or making the hat and spyglass craft, do a writing project to show what you have learned. For Columbus, write a few of your own log entries as though you are the captain. Write about the day you first sighted land. How do you feel after the uncertainty of the voyage? What do you hope this voyage will do for you?
Additional Layers are extra activities you can do or tangents you can take off on. Additional Layers are sidebars in the Layers of Learning curriculum. They are optional so just do the ones that interest you.
Columbus was a wildly successful individual in accomplishing his own goals. He successfully crossed the ocean multple times, made Spain fabulously rich, and profoundly changed the course of history. Usually, when we see someone who is successful we say they’re “so lucky” or words to that effect. What Columbus did had nothing to do with luck. As you learn more about his life leading up to that first voyage, make a list of everything he did to accomplish his goals. Then think about how you can apply that to your own life.
In 14 hundred and 92 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
The date of Columbus’s voyage was one of the most important in world history. Your kids should know it so when they come across other people and events they can place them before or after Columbus.
The people Columbus first met in the New World were the Taino Indians. Learn about them and their fate. Columbus himself could not have predicted the effects his voyage would have on indigenous peoples of the Americas. Learn more about this.
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