Have fun learning about early explorers such Marco Polo for kids and Prince Henry the Navigator for kids with these clever hands on history activities and free explorer printables! These Marco Polo activities are fun for elementary age kids from kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students.
Early Explorers for Kids
Next up in our hands-on history unit we are learning about famous early explorers Marco Polo for Kids and Henry the Navigator for kids. This is part of our engaging, fun early explorers for kids unit. These Marco Polo activities are sure to captivate your children’s attention and help them to remember the material. These explorer activities for kids are ideal for preschoolers, kindergarteners, grade1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students.
Marco Polo Activities
Marco Polo was an Italian merchant and explorer who was born in Venice in 1254. At 17 years of age, he traveled with his father and uncle on the Silk Road to China where he met the great ruler Kublai Khan. Marco traveled much of China and the east, and his stories were written into a popular book The Travels of Marco Polo.
Walk the Silk Route
We walked the silk route (like Marco Polo did). Basically I made a large maze (see image above) and I put different items along our route to ‘discover’. Items we discovered along the way were things that were new to the Europeans during this period of history. They were impressed with Marco Polo’s discoveries of the umbrella, coal, paper money, postal system, kite, hot water from tap, and good roads.
- We learned about camels (we were going to make a sock puppet camel, but we ran out of time and had recently made snowman out of socks)
- Math in Early Explorers – It took 4 years for Marco Polo to get to China to meet Kublai Khan – how many days/month/years is that?
- Discovering Silk – Explore silk by going to a fabric store. I let the kids explore with their hands. They felt the difference in materials: silk was a favorite =-)
- Tasting Chinese Food – Chinese is one of our favorite kinds of food so I whipped up some Kung Pao for dinner. You could also easily get some take out and eat out of the fun take out containers!
- Watch National Geographic: Marco Polo’s Travels
- Marco Polo Books for Kids – Favorite books to teach about Marco Polo in order of preference: #1 – Marco Polo by Demi (our cover looks different; it has beautiful illustrations that are gold & look like they are from the old Orient, tells the story in good depth for K-4th), #2 – written like a comic so great for a kid who is reading; summarized story but covers the highlights, #3 – you are the servant traveling with Marco Polo; good reality check with illustrations & information; written for 1st-6th grade
Spice Painting of Kublai Khan’s Palace
We explored spices from the East: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, pepper, saffron, and poppy. After smelling & feeling the differences in texture – we made a painting with the spices of Kublai Khanh’s palace. He LOVED this sensory activity! I love when history comes alive to young learners.
Marco Polo Lesson Plan
Prince Henry the Navigator for Kids
Wondering about who Henry the Navigator for Kids was? Prince Henry the Navigator was a prince from Portugal, the third son of King John I of Portugal. Born in 1394, he was never a navigator himself, but Henry sponsored a great deal of exploration along the west coast of Africa. The Portuguese Prince is regarded as an originator of the Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade. He also discovered the first shipping routes directly from Europe to Asia for the Portuguese monarchy.
DIY Compass for Kids
We made a compass – Find a plastic lid (think the size of a mayonnaise jar) and fill it with water. Slice a carrot, zucchini, etc. Strike a needle with a magnet 40 times and insert in veggie. Put veggie in the lid with water & watch it work! Goofy that it was pretty cool!! (need a step-by-step instructions, see homemade compass)
Compass Scavenger Hunt
We had a Compass Scavenger Hunt (I would give you a printable, but this was personal to our house so it wouldn’t do you much good.) The children went certain number of paces N or S, turned East, etc. He thought it was so much fun he asked to do it again!
Henry the Navigator Books
I did not find any good book to read on Prince Henry…. so we read the information about him I found online and located Portugal & Africa on a map. (Because of this there is not a lapbook on him, but we did pencil him in to our lapbook timeline.)
Facts about explorers
You may also enjoy these other great activities:
- Leif Erikson for Kids Reader to Read, Color, and Learn
- Viking Activities for Kids – build a viking ship, read about famous vikings, find Vinland, and more!
- Learn about European Explorers for kids such as Amerigo Vespucci, Vasco de Gama, and Columbus with this hands-on history lesson
- James Cook Study
- Explore with Henry the Navigator and Marco Polo activities in this fun history lesson
- Work on math and litearcy skills with these free printable explorer worksheets
- Join Drake, Cartier, and Henry Hudson for kids as they explore the new world in this fun history lesson
- Learn about Magellan, the Aztec, and the Spanish Conquistadors for Kids
- Don’t miss all our resources for learning about early explorers for kids
- Learn about 13 Famous Explorers for Kids Printable Reader to read, color, and learn
- Famous European Early Explorers Printable Notebook Pages
- Early Explorers for Kids Pennant Posters
- FREE Printable Famous Early Explorers Coloring Pages
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
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- 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!
- Pennant History Posters to see US History At-a-Glance
- 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
- Titanic for Kids Reader to Color and Learn
- Learn about the Roaring 1920s for Kids – Printable Book to Read, Color, and Learn
- 1930s for Kids – Printable Book about the Golden age of Hollywood, Great Depression for Kids and more to read, color, and learn
- Life in the 1940s America for Kids Reader
- Learn about the trading of goods that began in 1941 with this Columbian Exchange for Kids printable reader.
- Anne Frank for Kids Printable Reader to read, color, and learn about this Jewish girl who lived behind the wall in Holland during World War 2
- 1950s for Kids Reader to Color, Learn and read about what life was like in America in 1950
- Life in the 1960s for Kids Printable book to read, color and learn about life in the 1960s
- Learn about platform shoes, disco, the beginning of Star Wars and more with this 1970s for kids Reader
- 1980s for kids Reader to read, color, and learn!
- 1990s for Kids Printable Reader filled with information about fashion, technology, Presidents, and more!
- Learn about life for early 2000s Kids with these american history printables to read, color, and learn!
- Review what you’ve leanred with these American History Worksheets (Notebooking)
Geography for Kids
- Grab this realistic looking Free Printable Passport for Kids
- Free Printable Maps including world map, continents, and country maps with and without labeling
- Ready to dive more in depth? Check out Country Study for Kids – look at 16 countries around the world up close
- Kids can research to learn about other countries with these country worksheets.
- Around the World I Spy Worksheets – learn about 36 countries
- Use Lego to explore famous landmarks in countries for kids
- Research and learn with these free Children around the World Worksheets
- Roll into Geography – Printable Geography Games
- Geography Treasure Hunt Activity
- Landforms Worksheets pdf free
- Snap Geography Games for Kids
- Read, Color and Learn about other countries with FREE country studies including: Vietnam For Kids and Greece for Kids and Peru for Kids and Kenya for Kids and Israel for Kids, plus many more!
- You can find all our FREE printable country coloring pages covering over 36 different nations – or jump right to Spain Coloring Pages, China Coloring Pages, Italy Coloring Pages, Chile Coloring Pages, Germany Coloring Pages, and Costa Rica Coloring Pages
United States Lesson for Kids
Help children learn about the great country of the United States with these free printables and resources:
- Free Presidents of the United States for Kids
- Cute, Free Printable State Coloring Pages
- Printable USA Presidents Coloring Pages
- Voting for Kids – How Americans elect a new president
- Free Presidents Worksheets – Learn about all the American presidents
- US States I Spy Worksheets
- Help kids understand where do I live with this clever printable activity
- Learn about American symbols with these Patriotic American Symbols for Kids
- United States I Spy Worksheets
- How much do you know about USA for Kids? Color the flag, look at a map, discover famous landmarks like the statue of liberty,and more!
- American Symbols Worksheets
- Fireworks Patriotic Craft
- 50 States Worksheets
- State Animals USA Printables Scavenger Hunt
- United States Scavenger Hunt of State Birds
- FREE USA State Flowers Scavenger Hunt Printables for Kids
FREE Marco Polo Lapbook and Worksheets for Homeschoolers
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Wow cannot wait to do this with my 3rd grader. I am always looking for way to bring history alive. Thank you!!