* Think about Columbus Day, why it's important, and what you want to teach.
* Think about your family, what they would benefit from, and what they enjoy.
* Choose a few activities that reflect your values, interests, and priorities.
* Take pictures and record highlights from your
experiences in a family journal or scrapbook.
If you can't celebrate on the designated day, you can create your own "Christopher Columbus Day" (or week) and celebrate when it's more convenient for you.
Holidays are just a way to help us remember, learn about, and celebrate the things that matter most to us and to pass them on to our kids. We can even create our own "family holidays" that reflect the things our families care about most.
Here are some fun and meaningful ways to celebrate Columbus Day. Some of these ideas are better for young children and others are good for adults and older kids. Choose a few that your family will enjoy and have fun! (Click on the colored links to find helpful resources.)
Learn about Christopher Columbus
* Read what Columbus said about his life.
- Christopher Columbus: Man of Faith
* Read selections from a book together.
- The Life of Christopher Columbus
- The True Story of Christopher Columbus
* Tell stories.
- Christopher Columbus Short Stories for Kids
- All About History: Columbus
- 10 Things You May Not Know About Christopher Columbus
* Watch a video.
- Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus
- History.com Videos about Columbus
- The Spiritual Foundation of Christopher Columbus
* Sing a song.
- In 1492
* Recite a poem.
- The Things That Haven't Been Done Before
Create something about Columbus
* Write a story, poem, or journal entry about an experience Columbus had, or write about
something you can learn from him.
* Draw pictures about Christopher Columbus and the experiences he had, or color pictures:
- Columbus onboard ship with a spyglass
- Columbus sees signs of land
- Columbus flagship Santa María
* Make a simple diorama with the pictures you color.
(The example is about natural habitats, but you can adapt it to your Columbus pictures.)
* Make paper boats, carve a boat out of wood or soap, or make a boat out of a plastic container,
milk carton, or anything that floats.
Enjoy a fun picnic together
Create a meal that seamen might have eaten in Columbus’ day. Some of the foods Columbus took on his voyages were sardines, anchovies, cheese, chick peas, lentils, beans, rice, honey, almonds, raisins, biscuits, garlic, oil, and vinegar.
Pack up your meal and the boats you made. Go to a place where there is lake, pond, stream, or some other kind of water. (We have even done this by our swimming pool before.) Eat your picnic. Talk about what it must have been like to be Columbus and his crew and to be out on the ocean for so long. After your picnic, you can float your boats in the water or have boat races.
Reflect on your dreams together
Explain that Columbus was a man with a dream. He worked hard for many years before he finally accomplished his dream. He needed to develop great faith, courage, patience, humility, and perseverance to succeed. Talk with your children about their dreams. Write them down and keep them in a special place. Encourage your children as they take steps to accomplish their dreams.
Learn about people in history who have risen to their dreams
Many times the great things people accomplish are "impossible dreams" until they actually do them. Then their example charts the course for others. Columbus Day can be a good time to learn more about wonderful people who have worked to accomplish challenging goals.
Mitt Romney is one great example. So are some of the other heroes we've talked about on Patriotic Moms. (There are five pages of posts on heroes -- be sure to click on the tiny "Previous" link at the bottom left corner of the page to see more.)