Kids will have fun learning about early explorers Marco Polo and Prince Henry the Navigator with these clever hands on activities and free printables!
MARCO POLO for Kids
Walk the Silk Route Hands on History for Homeschoolers
We walked the silk route (like Marco Polo did). I put different items along our route to ‘discover’. Items we discovered along the way that were new to the Europeans: umbrella, coal, paper money, postal system, kite, hot water from tap, and good roads. The road then took us to the kitchen.
Spice Painting of Kublai Khan’s Palace
We explored spices from the East: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, pepper, saffron, and poppy. After smelling & feeling differences Goofy made a painting with the spices of Kublai Khanh’s palace. He LOVED this activity!
Learning about Camels
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 for Homeschoolers
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 for Homeschool Marco Polo Study
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!! (If you live in Minnesota you HAVE to try Willow Gate – my favorite Chinese restaurant ever!!)
Marco Polo Lesson Plans Worksheets
- Watched National Geographic: Marco Polo’s Travels
- Completed Marco Polo section of lapbook along with 2 review worksheets. Click on picture to download. (Note: Viking & Marco Polo elements are in same download)
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
Download FREE Marco Polo Lapbook and Worksheets for Homeschoolers
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Prince Henry the Navigator for Kids
Homeade 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!!
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.) Goofy 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.)