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Dutch and Swedes for Kids

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Here is the next in our colonial america for kids unit as part of our history for kids. Our units are filled with lots of hands on activities so that my kids have fun learning (and remembering) US History. This week we are learning about the Dutch & Swedish settlers in America.
Dutch and Swedes for Kids - help explore american settlers in colonial america with fun, hands on activities, free printables, great books and more #colonialamerica #historyforkids #homeschooling

Did you know that New York was originally New Amsterdam and settled by Dutch? Do you know what Wall Street is named after? I learned so much this week!!!

Dutch & Swedish Settles History

Here’s a little history for you to set the stage.  After Henry Hudson explored the area looking for a Northwest Passage to India the Dutch, being savvy business people, wanted to begin trading with the Native Americans. They wanted beaver pelts. When the Dutch New Indies Company tried to get settlers to go to New Amsterdam they had trouble as many Dutch didn’t want to come. The Dutch actually lived very comfortable with religious freedoms & government representatives at home! So New Holland ended up having a mix of many other European nations who were eager to come live in New Amsterdam. The Dutch New Indies Company then offered to give patrons a large piece of land if they provided 15 colonists to live & work it. But the colony was not well run; there were outhouses on the street, pigs running loose, lots of drinking & fights, and no defenses. The Dutch New Indies Company appointed Peter Stuyvesant to fix it up! He was not very popular, but he fixed it and raised money for ‘police’ by taxing imported liquor. When news of war between England & Holland reached the colony they begin building a wall around the colony, but they ran out of money and the colonists did not want to finish it. (The only part of the wall would later be known to the world as Wall Street!) In 1664 English ships did come and as the colonists refused to fight with Stuyvesant, they surrendered. New Amsterdam became an English territory and was renamed New York.

Dutch Early Settlers in America

The early Dutch settlers were the first to bring cows to America – we visited a historic farm where we got up and personal with a cow. My son even got to try milking a cow by hand.
Milking a cow by hand for dutch early settlers homeschool history unit

We made our own butter by shaking cream in a Tupperware for about 15 minutes. Then we shaped it into a ‘biscuit’. The kids thought that was hilarious; it tasted good too!

making butter from scratch for dutch early settlers homeschool history unitmaking butter from scratch for dutch early settlers homeschool history unit


Swedish Colonial American Settlers

Settlers first constructed log cabins in 1638 in New Sweden. (This would later become part of New Amsterdam) So we made our own log cabin out of lincoln logs.

Lincoln log reconstruction of first log cabins in america by Swedish settlers

We had a busy week so we didn’t do as many activities. If you have time you might explore holidays from Holland, make Dutch Applesauce, “trade” beaver furs, make butter, or another Dutch treat.

Great Books for Colonial America Dutch & Swedish Settlers Unit

I have three really good resources for you this week, but they are not currently pictures on Amazon. You can still get them used on Amazon or through a good local library.

  • Wooden Shoes in America by Lois Maloy – This book is about a family who moves to America and what their life is like the first year they are there. It has simple, beautifully done illustrations and really gives some insight into life for in New Amsterdam. It is written with chapters, although there are illustrations on each page.
  • Old Silver Leg Takes Over! A Story of Peter Stuyvesant by Robert Quackenbush – This is a GREAT way for kids (and adults) to learn about New Amsterdam (later New York!) It is full of great information, easy to read, and has nice blue & white illustrations. My son loved the comical pigs on the bottom right of each two-page spread and reading what the pigs had to say.

Colonial Life for Children: The Dutch & New Amsterdam by Schlessinger – I stumbled upon this series by accident in my local library. I’m so glad I did! There are 9 in the series about Colonial Life. A kid walks your kids through a 23 minute visit to that aspect of Colonial Life. You will see characters in costume, learn a lot of interesting facts, and feel like you get a wonderful glimpse of their life! My son loved the visual!

FREE Life in Colonial America Printables

We added to our {free} Colonial America Book. You can get the entire book including this weeks pages including:

  • Dutch Settlers in New Amsterdam,
  • Peter Stuyvesant: Old Silver Leg
  • Dutch & Swedish contributions to America
  • Colonial Art
  • School in Colonial America

Download Life in Colonial America Worksheets

Download Life in Colonial America Worksheets

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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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