Christopher Columbus has gotten a pretty bad rap the last few years. When my boys were younger I wanted to avoid teaching them some of the savage things Columbus later did and focus on the sense of adventure and to learn about the explorers of the Americas. I wanted them to envision being a trailblazer themselves one day., to boldly go where no man has gone before. I also wanted to teach them to treat others with the same kindness they would want someone to treat them. My hope is that these Christopher Columbus activities for kids will help you do the same.
WHY IS CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS FAMOUS?
The Renaissance was a time in Europe of new ideas and new discoveries. Christopher Columbus was born when people wanted to explore new lands and were creating maps of places they had never visited before but imaged existed. The voyage that Columbus and his crew took is remembered because it started the exploration and colonization of the Americas. Without that sense of adventure we would not have our great country, the United States.
Christopher was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. When he was 13 he learned how to sail a wooden ship with sails. That is how he learned about the winds and tides, or movements of the sea made by the pull of the moon. He learned to navigate (find the way), by looking at the Sun and stars.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS WAS A MAP MAKER
People make maps in order to tell others where they live, where they have been, and where they want to go. Long, long ago when people made the first maps, they knew only three continents. In 1492 people in Europe only knew about their continent, and Africa, and Asia.
The first mapmakers must have been explorers who were sailors, since traveling by boat was the best way to explore the Earth. The people who were the explorers (or navigators) wanted to get from Europe to Asia, especially to India. That is where the people knew how to make silk and grow all kinds of spices that the people from Europe wanted.
Christopher Columbus and his brother were both map makers. Watch this video to learn how important maps are to us.
Christopher didn’t have a Shark Tank he could take his business idea to get funding. He had to convince the king and queen of Spain to give him the money and ships he would need for his voyages. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand wanted to get rich, too. They also liked the idea that if Columbus found a shorter route to India then Spain would be the place to live and raise a family.
Now, can you answer the questions below about what maps help us do? Reveal the answers by holding down the mouse while scrolling to the right of the sentence.
- Maps show us ______ we are and _____ we need to go. where
- It also shows what? (roads, countries, cities, famous landmarks)
- What is a compass rose? (shows the directions, which way is North)
- What does a legend do? (tells what all the symbols mean)
- How do you find the distance between two distances? (use the map scale)
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS WANTED TO BE AN EXPLORER
Everyone during the Renaissance loved the spices coming from China and India. It made their food taste better. They didn’t have electricity or big refrigerators like you do. The only way they could preserve their food was by drying it or eating it before it went bad. Spices covered the taste so you didn’t mind so much. Merchants from India, China and the East Indies were getting trading with business people by trading their spices, clothes, and other goods. The Columbus family wanted to get rich, too.
CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS ACTIVITIES
- BBC Primary History: Click on the game on the right hand side of your scren to learn about Christopher Columbus and all the items that went on the ships
- Animated Knots: Learn how to make one of the easiest boating knots
- National Ocean Service: Print out these instructions to make your own compass
- PBS Kids: How will you know how fast your boat is going? Learn how to measure your boat speed.
- American Table: What will you eat on the long voyage? Sailors in 1492 all the way to the Civil War ate hard tack. You can make your own!
- Kids Activities: When you are in the middle of the sea there aren’t any lights to tell you where you are going. A good sailor knows how to look at the stars and tell where he is. Make a telescope and learn the names of the stars.
- Kids Activities: What would a sailor be without a boat?
- BrainPop: Put the historical events in the right order on the timeline.
Christopher Columbus Resources From Other Homeschool Blogs
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