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Marco Polo for Kids Lesson Plan (w/ Henry the Navigator)

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.

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
Marco Polo for Kids- hands on homeschool historySpice Painting for Kids homeschool history

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

Completed Marco Polo section of lapbook along with 2 review worksheets. To get this Marco Polo printable simply scroll the 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 sheets. Click on picture to download. (Note: Viking & Marco Polo elements are in same download)

 

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.
Homeade Compass for Kids

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.)

History for Kids  Historical Fiction for Kids Arranged by Time Period free-worksheets
Plus, don’t miss our other fun hands-on history lessons, these amazing historical fiction for kids, and our vast archives of over 200,000 pages of free homeschool printables for Prek-12th grade!

marco polo lesson plans worksheets

Download FREE Marco Polo Lapbook and Worksheets for Homeschoolers

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>> Download Marco Polo Lapbook <<

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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