The kids are out of school, maybe you have the day off from work, and … now what? Instead of spending the day watching reruns of “Glee” on TV, take advantage of these 10 Columbus Day activities to keep the kids entertained.
First, let’s understand a little about what Columbus Day is. People have been celebrating Christopher Columbus’ landing in the New World since 1792 (the 300th anniversary), but the holiday did not become official until 1971. Christopher Columbus was not the first explorer to reach the Americas, but he is credited with promoting widespread contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans.
Now, let’s look at some fun ways to celebrate Columbus Day. Remember that your Columbus Day activities do not have to be directly related to the holiday. They can be related to October, fall, Native Americans, geography, sailing, or any number of other ideas. Or you can just find a way to have some fun on your day off!
1. Go to a local farm festival. Harvest celebrations, agricultural exhibitions, and fall farming shows remind us of the way life used to be and the way life still is in many communities. They are also a great excuse for snacking on caramel apples and pumpkin seeds. Many farms offer pumpkin picking, apple picking, apple cider tasting, hay rides, pony rides, corn mazes, and farm animal petting zoos. One farm in Colorado even allows you to smash pumpkins to the ground with a giant slingshot. Take this time to do something you have never done before.
2. Build a scarecrow. It’s a great way to spend Columbus Day when you truly want to scare away garden pests or just want to have some fall-related fun. You can turn the kids into miniature scarecrows or create a life-size creature to stake in front of your house or garden.
3. Make a papier-mâché globe to teach children about the geography of Christopher Columbus’ journey. Simple materials like a balloon, newspaper, flour, and water can bring a lot of fun.
4. Get in the Halloween spirit early by going to a haunted house. You can go to a real haunted house or just enjoy some fake ghouls in a corn maze. Amusement parks usually offer specials to capture the last visitors before the end of the season.
5. Create and complete a Columbus Day crossword puzzle, word search, quiz, poem, or short story. Write down what Columbus Day means to you, quiz the kids on country capitals, or download some printable coloring pages.
6. Throw a theme party for friends. You could celebrate Native American culture, be patriotic with giant Uncle Sam hats, explore — or create — your Italian heritage (Columbus was Italian), or have some Spanish fiesta fun (Columbus sailed under the Spanish flag). There are plenty of ways to create a fun and unexpected Columbus Day party.
7. Go to a local Columbus Day parade. Parades are a great way to gather with other people in your community, listen to bands, watch floats fly by, and celebrate the holiday.
8. Go to the zoo. Some zoos offer free or discounted admission on Columbus Day.
9. Attend a children’s show. You may be able to see an outdoor movie, a play for kids, or even a 3D cartoon in a movie theater.
10. Make egg cup replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. If you can’t take a trip to the British Virgin Islands to see the Nina replica, this is the next best adventure for a holiday weekend.
These 10 ideas should certainly set your mind running. Get creative and go enjoy this Columbus Day.