Westward Expansion for Kids

There is so much more to the wild west than just cowboys, Indians, covered wagons, and dust bowls. Our free westward expansion history unit has everything you need to make history come alive for your elementary age kids!

Westward Expansion - FUN hands on history unit for kids with lesson plans, educational activities, FREE worksheets and more for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade students studying gold rush, oregon, trail, wild west, railroad, louisiana purchase #westwardexpansion #historyforkids #homeschool

Westward Expansion

How many of you thought this period of history was just about cowboys & Indians?  I’m a huge history fan and I myself never wanted to dive deeper because I wasn’t a fan of cowboy movies. LOL!  Boy was I missing out!

The wild west is filled with epic adventures for everyone: from dangerous covered wagon rides to searching for gold, our first post office, railroad, and more! Come joins us we dive into this truly fascinating period of American history – Westward Expansion!


—-> Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea

Most kids know about Columbus “discovering”  America in 1492, early settlers in Colonial America, but their history drops off after we gained our independence after the Revolutionary War in 1776.  It’s a shame because we just became a nation and there is a lot of exciting things happening as we form our new nation, and discover the rest of the country!

Westward Expansion for Kids covers 1783 to 1898 (just after Hawaii joins the USA) so make sure you see our Civil War for Kids unit to get that important piece of history that deserves a study all of it’s own.

This week kids will make a salt dough map of the us noting elevation and rivers which were so important to settlers moving west, learn about the Louisiana Purchase (steal of deal that doubled the size of the USA), learn about animal trails (who the settlers encountered), and made our own moccasins to remind us of Sacajawea who helped Luis and Clark on their expedition to the Pacific Ocean.

Plus we completed some westward expansion worksheets, matched animal trails to the North American animals, and did some mapping exercises.


—-> The Oregon Trail

This week students learned about the dangerous Oregon Trail and painted it on our dried salt dough map. We made our own model of a covered wagon and learned how hard life was for settlers traveling west. Kids loved learning about life for these wild west Americans by making their own crackers and square dancing. Finally we used a wild west themed activity to practice counting and skip counting before completing our worksheets for the week.


—-> The Pony Express, Gold Rush, and the Transcontinental Railroad

This was one of our favorite weeks as my kids were fascinated by the idea of striking it rich when the gold rush hit in 1849 and the subsequent ghost towns you can still find all along the deserted towns in western America.
HINT: If you life nearby the area make sure to visit one of the many ghost towns – it is not an experience you will soon forget.

Take a virtual field trip to learn about the pony express, pan for gold, make a railroad project, and finish your westward expansion worksheets to complete the unit.

Wild West Fun for Younger Learners

History Lessons for Kids

Our fun, hands-on and engaging homeschool history include not only clever activities to make history fun and memorable, but FREE printable worksheets and games too!

  • Mesopotamia History – learn about he cradle of civilization while making costumes, recipes, maps, their own wheeled transport replica, play the royal game of Ur, make raised reliefs, practice cuniform in clay, and construct their own zigurats!
  • Early Explorers contains activities and printables to relive the adventures of early explorers for kids as they become a viking with Leif Erickson, sale around the world with Magellan, head to China with Marco Polo, discover the New World with Columbus, and more!
  • Middle Ages for Kids. Build your own Medieval Castle, learn about the science of a catapult, dye silk, make peasant bread, find out the important roles of knights, make a bow and arrow, learn the origin of pretzels, making illuminated manuscripts, make artwork with egg paint and weaving simple tapestries .
  • Native Americans for Kids – explore various tribes as you create free printable book, make PVC tent, totem poles, Indian fry bread, husk dolls, recreate an archeological dig with arrow heads, and more!
  • Colonial America for Kids takes kids on a journey back to the first settlers in America – eat Gruel, makea Wattle & Daub house, create a tin lantern, write with a quill, make simple Johnny Cakes, make you own marbles, create traditional silhouette art projects, and more.
  • American Revolution for Kids.  In 4 units your students will learn what events lead up to the American Revolutionand famous figures will making dragon pistols, roll their own cartridges, working spy cipher, cold feet activity.
  • What was the Westward Expanion?  Hisotyr comes alive as they learn about the oregon trail, pony express, gold rush, transcontinental railroad, and more with printables and activities like making a covered wagon, homemade crackers, how to square dance, pan for gold, and make a railroad project.
  • Civil War for Kids We have recommendations for mapping and visiting famous battle sights nearby, printable civil war board game, make an informative emergent reader, create a flip book or people students should know, and complete some free printable Civil War worksheets.
  • United States for Kids – we have worksheets, games, state coloring pages and more to make learning about the USA fun!
  • Learn about the Children of the World and the countries they live in with our handy, FREE resources: country readers, map of the world for kids to print and label,  a printable countries of the world coloring book.

Looking for more fun, creative ways you can begin homeschooling for free? We have over 1,000,000 pages of FREE pre k worksheets, kindergarten worksheets, grade 1 worksheets, second grade worksheets and more for K12. Plus see our history lesson plans, free math games, english worksheetssight words activitiesalphabet worksheets, and cvc word games for kids of all ages!

In addition, don’t miss our disney world tips and  kids activities filled with ideas for every holiday and season of the year!