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Explorers for Kids – Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Vespucci Activities

Make learning about explorers for kids fun and memorable with famous explorers for kids lesson. Using hands-on history activities and free early explorer printables, we will learn about Columbus for kids, Vasco de Gama for kids, and Vespucci for kids.  This history lessons for kids is perfect for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. Simply download pdf file with explorer lapbook and scroll down to see the fun history activities for kids we used and you are ready to play and learn!

Make learning about explorers for kids fun and memorable with famous explorers for kids lesson. Using hands-on history activities and free early explorer printables, we will learn about Columbus for kids, Vasco de Gama for kids, and Vespucci for kids.  This history lessons for kids is perfect for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. Simply download pdf file with explorer lapbook and scroll down to see the fun history activities for kids we used and you are ready to play and learn!

Explorers for Kids

This fun, hands on early explorers lesson helps kids learn about European Explorers including Christopher Columbus, Verpucci, and Vasco de Game. We love making history come alive for kids by using engaging history lessons for kids and these famous explorers for kids lesson includes lots of fun ideas including explorer games , free explorer printables, and of course lots of creative early explorers activities. This famous explorers for kids is perfect for preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students.

FREE Early Explorers Lapbook and Worksheets for Homeschool History

Famous explorers for kids

If you are following along our Early Explorers for Kids lesson and would like to download the FREE lapbook / timeline elements from today’s lesson, scroll down to the bottom of the post, under the terms of use, and click on the text link that says >> Download <<. The pdf file will open in a new window for you to save the freebie and print the template. The download includes the following early american explorers

  • Prince Henry
  • Christopher Columbus
  • Vasco de Gama
  • Vespucci

Captain Says History Game

We played ‘Captain says’.  You play by having the captain instruct the other sailors to walk/hop/run/skip/crawl to the following areas of a ship. If it is  warm enough outside,  do this on a driveway and drawn a ship in chalk. If you do it inside you can use masking tape to make a ship outline on the floor.

  • Bow (front)
  • Stern (back)
  • Keel (bottom spine)
  • Mainmast (middle mast)
  • Mizzen sail (back sail)
  • Crow’s nest (lookout at top of mainmast)
  • Rudder (in back of ship, used to steer)
  • Helm (steering wheel)
  • Fore sail (front sail)
  • Anchor
  • Mainsail (middle sail)
  • Keel (bottom spine)
  • Starboard side (right)
  • Aft of the boat (back toward the stern)
    Port side (left)
  • Amidship (middle)
  • Hull (main part of the ship)

Christopher Columbus Video for Kids

We watched the animated video by NEST on Christopher Columbus (This is an excellent series with both famous people and Old & New Bible Testament stories straight from the Bible) Your library may have some. I bought a lot of the VHS off of Ebay for super cheap (we can suffer through the old medium for a good price!) Goofy really enjoyed the story and remembers so much more because he heard it and saw it!

 

Retelling History through Acting

We acted out the story when Christopher Columbus asked the King & Queen of Spain to go, sailing, and landing in America.

What does your name Mean History Connection

Christopher’s name means christbearer – what does your name mean activity?
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Drawing the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria

Use the Draw, Write, Now book #2 to draw Columbus’ three caravel ship – Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. I think this how to draw series is great! It helps teach kids some basics of drawing, they can practice writing, and it goes along great with Social Studies at the same time. Goofy was thrilled that drawing with Mommy was ‘school’ =-)
Note: 1+1+1=1 has a great FREE printable to go along with the Draw Write Now series.

Draw Write Now Christopher Columbus Drawing for Kids 

 

Ship Learning with FREE Printables

We learned more about ships – the method early explorers used to get to the new world. We used the free printable from Enchanted Learning for our labeling.
Learning about Early Explorer Ships for Homeschool Kids
We also practiced addition and colored by number Columbus’ ships. (I love how Goofy used our Unifix Cubes to do the math problems – I was so proud!)

Unifix cubes for early explorer math problems 

 

Making a boat Extension Activity

We made several kinds of ships: wood, metal, cloth, paper and tried sailing them to see which would float.

Hour Glass History Craft

The ship’s boy kept track of time with half-hour glass. We made our own similar device for keeping track of time. We used 2 funnels, card stock (for opening on funnels), tape (we used packing tape), and sand. After finishing it we timed it & turns out we have a minute glass. Goofy thought it was great fun to make & has been enjoying telling me when a minute is up =-)

european-explorers-activities

Food on an Early Explorers boat

We talked about what they ate on the boat? Answer: dry biscuits, salted meat, cheese, chickpeas, honey, rice, almonds, onions, raisins. Because of the lack of fresh fruits & veggies the sailors ended up getting  scurvy. Side note: in 1795 sailors took daily ration of lemon so they nicknames Limey.  Goofy that it was cool that they had biscuits on board. To help him understand that the biscuits wouldn’t be fresh from the oven we made a biscuit and let it sit out for days. Now imagine what that would be like after 2 months!!

I intended to practice different basic knots, but we rain out of time.

Christopher Columbus Books for Homeschoolers

Here are our favorite books about Columbus. Check them out from your local library or click to find on Amazon.

   

Vasco de Gama & Vespucci

There weren’t lots of books or activities about the following explorers, but I wanted to at least touch on these important explorers!

I used The Picture History of Great Explorers by Gillian Clements. This is a wonderful book to own. It gives one page of information about each major explorer from Ancient Explorers and Vikings to Armstrong and Earle. Each page is easy to read and filled with great information. There are several illustrations per page. I love the ease of use and chronological order.

  • Vasco de Gama – established trade route for Portugal to Indies by sea going around Africa
  • Amerigo Vespucci – discovered that America was indeed a new, separate continent.

Vikings for Kid s- this is a fun hands on history unit that will help make history come alive including history activities, history crafts, free history printables and more for learning about early explorers #vikings #history #homeschooling Native Americans Plains Tribes Lesson civil war for kids free printable board game

History Lessons for Kids

Check out one of or MANY engaging, Free history lessons for kids

  • Explore American History for kids including lots of fun, hands on activities and free printables
  • Dive into Mesopotamia History to learn about Gilgamesh
  • 4 week lesson about Early Explorers for Kids
  • Learn about castles, knights, and more in this exciting Middle Ages for Kids
  • Make a teepee, dig for arrowheads, color our printable books and more in this Native Americans for Kids lessons
  • The Colonial America for Kids lesson takes kids on a journey back to the first permanent settlement in America – Jamestown. Students will learn about colonial life with lots of hands on projects like eating Gruel, making a Wattle & Daub house, and creating a tin lantern will make the settlement come alive.
  • We will make westward expansion for kids come alive for kids as they learn facts about the time period from about 1783-1898. In addition to learning about the Oregon trail, pony express, gold rush, transcontinental railroad, students will also learn to match animal trails, map the united states, and learn about North American animals too.
  • Civil War for Kids – students will learn about slavery, famous Americans from the Civil War, famous battles, and how our nation stayed together. Lesson includes printable worksheets, mapping activities, printable civil war board game and more!
  • Learn about US States for Kids – state coloring pages, president coloring pages, state report forms, states and capital printables, and so much more!
  • Learn about the Roaring 1920s for Kids – Printable Book to Read, Color, and Learn
  • Rosa Parks for Kids Printable Reader to Color and Learn
  • Martin Luther King Jr for Kids Printable Reader to Color and Learn
  • 1950s for Kids Reader to Color, Learn and read about what life was like in America in 1950

16 Printable Country Studies for Kids - children will have fun learning about countries around the world with this fun resource perfect for pre k, kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 including Kenya, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Netherlands, Mexico, China, Philippines, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Chile, Colombia, Australia, and Costa Rica. FREE Printable 50 Us States coloring pages Kids will have fun learning about Children Around the World using these free printable worksheets for kids of all ages. #childrenaroundtheworld #christmasaroundtheworld #geography

Looking for more resources and free worksheets to teach students about geography for kids? You will love these coloring sheets, printable maps, books, activities and games:

 

Early Explorers Printables

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>> Download Free Early Explorers Lapbook Part 3 <<

About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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