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.
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!
Pony Express Activities
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!
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.
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
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 – 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!
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)
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
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