In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety-Two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Christopher Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who had set sail from Spain in an attempt to chart a new route to the East Indies. On October 12, 1492, he landed in the Bahamas, instead. He became the first European to discover the New World (history.com). There has been much controversy over whether or not he “discovered” the New World, as it was already inhabited by Native Americans.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the date an official holiday in 1937, but the observance of the holiday was changed to the second Monday in October almost 40 years ago. As a federal holiday, Columbus Day presents a day off for government workers.
To celebrate the day, there are a lot of activities that families can participate in. Many cities across the nation hold parades and festivals on this historical occasion. However, if there are no festivities in your area, you can do some fun things at home to educate your children. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Create a Paper Mache Globe
This is definitely a project that you’ll want to start early in the weekend. Materials include a balloon, newspaper, flour, water, blue and green paint, paintbrushes, and the ability to print a world map. Exact details of this craft can be found at www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/globes . This is a great idea for kids, because it’s hands-on, and it allows you to show them the voyage that Columbus took.
Write a Poem about Columbus
Write the word “COLUMBUS” vertically on a piece of paper. Try to come up with a sentence that starts with each letter – this is known as an acrostic poem (Enchanted Learning). This project can get the conversation started about the history of Christopher Columbus.
Read a Book about Columbus
You don’t have to spend any money on this. You can go to your local library, possibly even your child’s school library, and see if they have any children’s books on Columbus. Here are a few suggestions for different age groups, to get you started:
“Columbus Day”, by Christina Mia Gardeski, for ages 4-8
“The Story of Christopher Columbus”, by Anita Ganeri, for ages 4-8
“The Discovery of the Americas: From Prehistory through the Age of Columbus (The American Story)”, by Betsy Maestro, for ages 9-12
“Explorers Who Got Lost”, by Diane Sansevere-Dreher and Ed Renfro, for ages 9-12
All of these book ideas, and others, can be found at The Holiday Zone.
The Holiday Zone