1st grade 2nd grade 3rd grade 4th grade 5th grade History Kindergarten Preschool Westward Expansion

Pony Express, California Gold Rush, & Transcontintal Railroad for Kids

Kids will have fun learning about the westward expansion for kids in this hands-on american history for kids! Start off by learning about the pony express for kids, try panning for gold as you discuss the gold rush for kids, explore the transcontinental railroad with a fun activity, and so much more with this fun history lesson that includes not only history activities to make the lessons memorable, but free history worksheets too! This week 3 of our Westward Expansion Unit is fun for pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders.

Pony Express, 1st Transcontinental Railroad and Gold Rush lesson for elementary age kids with tons of fun, clever history activities like panning for gold plus FREE Westward Expansion Worksheets
Westward expansion for kids

This is our 3rd and final week of our Westward Expansion for Kids lesson on American History from 1783-1898.  This fun history lesson for kids is filled with lots of creative ideas for teaching kids about american history. Learn about the pony express for kids– our first post office. Then learn about the transcontinental railroad for kids with a fun, hands-on activity. Finally learn about the gold rush for kids as you talk about gold fever and the California Gold Rush with a fun panning for gold activity. This wild west history for kids is fun for preschoolers, kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, and grade 4 students! Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschooler – these fun history activities are perfect for at home, in the classroom, or as a supplement to your homeschool history lessons!

Gold Rush, Ghost Towns, Transcontinental Railroad and Westward Expansion Books

Explore this fascinating time period with these fun-to-read and engaging books for kids of all ages!

Original Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, NE - homeschool fieldtrip

The Pony Express for Kids

We started out by learning about the Pony Express (see books above) and how it carried mail to the west coast during a crucial time in American History – right before the Civil War. It cost $5 for 1/2 an ounce so it wasn’t cheap! Mail took about 10 1/2 days to get from Missouri to California. With the expansion of telegraph lines, the Pony Express was no longer an effective means for delivering mail. The Pony Express was only used for 18 months.

We also were able to take a fieldtrip to see an original Pony Express Station in Gothenburg, NE. I love that homeschooling allows us to take extended fieldtrips off peak season when crowds and prices are down!

free westward expansion worksheets

Westward Expansion Worksheets

We drew pictures and wrote the last couple pages to his Westward Expansion Book (this is a FREE printable included in Westward Expansion). I may be a little partial, but I thought his drawing came out AMAZINGLY well for a 1st grader!! I am really impressed with the Draw Write Now series.

Kids will have fun learning about the westward expansion for kids in this hands-on american history for kids! Start off by learning about the pony express for kids, try panning for gold as you discuss the gold rush for kids, explore the transcontinental railroad with a fun activity, and so much more with this fun history lesson that includes not only history activities to make the lessons memorable, but free history worksheets too! This week 3 of our Westward Expansion Unit is fun for pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th graders.

Gold Rush for Kids

First we learning about the discover of gold by James Marshall on January 24, 1848 in California. We read how people flocked to California anyway they could (land, seas, or river) to try to get a share of the finds. Then we went panning for gold ourselves! I used the brown rice & gold fusion beads from our sensory box and dumped them in our pool. I added some water so they could feel like they were panning in a river/stream too! It had a nice side effect – the brown rice made the water cloudy – even better!! The kids used a dish to scope up the contents and try to sort through the rice (representing rocks/gravel) to find the gold. They had SO much fun!

Transcontinental Railroad for Kids

Transcontinental Railroad for Kids

We also learned how the railroad expanded between 1863-1869 to connect the Eastern United States with the west to form the First Transcontinental Railroad.  Once the railroad was completed, it slowly ended the more hazardous stagecoach and wagon caravans. The telegraph lines were actually laid on the railroad right of way as the track was being laid.

Lewis and Clark for Kids - this lewis and clark lesson helps kids learn about the period of american history covering the westward expansion. It includes DIY mocasin activity, free printable animal tracks activity, worksheets, book recommendations, and so much more! #lewisandclark #historyforkids #homeschooling cute wild west worksheets are a fun way to sneak in some math and literacy skills! Use these wild west printables to teach toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade students. The cute cowboy, cactust,horse, covered wagon, boots with spur, cowboy hat, and more on the free printable kindergarten worksheets will make children eager learners! Simply print pdf file with free preschool pages and you are ready to leran with fun themed worksheets. Oregon Trail History for Kids - kids will have fun learning about the oregon trail with these clever oregon trail activities, history crafts, free oregon trail worksheets and more for elementary age kids as they learn about american history and the westward expansion. #historyforkids #homeschooling #oregontrail This Westward Expansion Reader is a great way to work on reading skills while learning about how the US expanded west into the Louisiana Territory and beyond. Add this westward expansion printables to your westward expansion lesson as part of an American history study for preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th graders. Simply print the westward expansion summary for kids to read, color, and learn about US history of the 1800s.
There is so much more to the wild west than just cowboys, Indians, covered wagons, and dust bowls. See the rest of our westward expansion activities with everything you need to make history come alive for your elementary age kids! See the rest of our unit here:
  • Lewis and clark for kids – Start out the way with wild west did with the journey of Louis and Clark after the Lousiana Purchase in 1803.
  • Oregon Trail for Kids – learn about the dangerous Oregon Trail and make a salt dough map, covered wagon model, and learn how hard life was for settlers traveling west.
  • Pony Express for Kids plus the gold rush and first transcontinental rail road are just a few of the fun topics explores in this final week of our wild west for kids unit!
  • Free Wild West Worksheets – over 70 pages of math and liteacy skills for kids 2-7 years old with a fun cowboy theme! Perfect to do alongside this history lesson and to keep younger siblings engaged at the same time
  • Oregon Trail Skip Counting Game allows children to practice skip counting with a fun themed activity
  • Westward Expansion Flip Book
  • Dig in to history with this engaging, Wild West History Sensory Bin ideas
  • Geography is Fun with a Salt Dough Map – learn about US geography and features as you mark the path the westward travelers too
  • Westward Expansion for Kids Book to read, color, and learn!

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 Learn all about the Eighties for kids with this American History for Kids reader for kids to color and learn! Learn about life in the 1980s with elementary age students from pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students.  Simply print pdf file with 1980s for kids for kids to learn about life in the 80s while having fun coloring the cute pictures and learning about big hair fashion, the walkman, Rubik's cube, video and the Presidents of the US during this decade.

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!
  • 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
  • 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)

us presidents coloring pagesIt is important to teach children about how we elect the president of the United States of America. This simple, no prep Voting for Kids reader will help pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade students. This printable election book is perfect for preparing children for November elections! FREE Printable 50 Us States coloring pages  american-symbols-for-kids-read-color-and-learn

United States Lesson for Kids

Help children learn about the great country of the United States with these free printables and resources:

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 Maps for kids -blank maps of the world, africa, asia, australia, south america, north america, united states, antarctica, Europe and more. Include blank maps and labeled maps. Use them with any social studies / geography program with kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, and 7th grade students to visualize the world at a glance or dive deep into finding countries, continents, rivers / mountains, oceans, etc. Includes both blank printable maps and labeled as well. tralia, united states, europe and more both blank and labeled for kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, elementary, middle school, and high school #printablemaps #geography #homeschooling  Make geography come alive by using these free printable passport for kids. Childrne can pretend like they are traveling all around the world as they study and learn about other countries while keeping a record of where they've been. This free printable passport activity is fun for toddler, preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and 4th grade students. Inside their passport for kids they can put their picture, personal information, signarure, and informatin about the countries they travel to. Simply print pdf the free printable passport for kids file and you are ready to go around the world! FREE Lego Challenge Cards - free printable STEAM education uses lego or duplo bricks to help students learn about famous buildings and landmarks from around the world. This fun learning activity is great for parents, teachers, school at home and homeschoolers from preschool, pre k, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade students.

Geography for Kids

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:

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

Leave a Comment