Choosing Family Activities for Columbus Day
Celebrating Columbus Day can be fun and easy. Start with the question, "What do I want to have happen?"
* 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.
* Plan a fun event and record the happy memories in a family journal for your kids to remember.
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.
Five Easy Suggestions
1) 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
* Watch a movie.
- Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus
* Sing a song.
- In 1492
* Recite a poem.
- The Things That Haven't Been Done Before
2) Create something about Columbus.
* 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.)
* Write a story, poem, or journal entry about an experience Columbus had, or write about
something you can learn from him.
* Make paper boats, or make a ship out of a plastic container, milk carton, or anything that floats.
3) 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. After your picnic, you can float your boats in the water or have boat races.
4) 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.
5) Learn about people in our day who have accomplished great things.
Many times the great things people accomplish are "impossible dreams" until they actually do them. Their example then charts the course for others. One recent example in the news is Steve Jobs. Here is a cool video of Steve telling some of the struggles he faced and the lessons he learned: Steve Jobs Changed the Way We See the World.