Celebrating Columbus Day is fun and easy. Start by asking, "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 time together and record the happy memories in a family journal (with pictures) for your kids to remember.
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.
Here are some resources and activities for Columbus Day. Some are better for young children and others are good for older kids. Choose a few that your family will enjoy and have fun!
1) Learn about Christopher Columbus.
* Read (or tell) what Columbus and others said about his life.
- Christopher Columbus: Man of Faith
- Good Quotes for Columbus Day
* 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 video.
- Animated Hero Classics: Christopher Columbus
- History.com Videos about 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 a 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 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 shows others the way.
One example is Steve Jobs. His vision and accomplishments inspired the achievements of others. Here is a cool video of Steve telling some of the struggles he faced and the lessons he learned as he worked to make his dreams come alive: Steve Jobs Changed the Way We See the World.
Here are some short video clips for younger children about other Americans with determination, courage, and endurance to accomplish great things:
* William Bradford
* George Washington
* Benjamin Franklin
* Harriet Tubman
* Abraham Lincoln
* Thomas Edison
* Alexander Graham Bell
* The Wright Brothers