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  • Truth Matters

24 Fantastic Activities For Columbus Day

Updated: Jan 12

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer who set sail for Asia; intending to map a sea route to China and India. On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus found himself, after a long boat trip, landing on Guanahaní- an island in the Bahamas instead! We have gathered 24 fantastic activities that you can use with your students to teach them about Christopher Columbus and his journey!

1. Watch a Video

Start the day off with this super video that details the story of Christopher Columbus’s voyage! The video and fun animations are a great introduction to this story or can alternatively be used as a refresher.

More educational videos can be found here including the Christopher Columbus Cartoon.

Columbus and his crew sailed across the ocean in three ships called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Use paints to create an ocean background and then use halves of paper plates for the boat. Add newspaper sails, flags, and windows to create these collage boats..

Columbus Day Craft

Originally, Christopher Columbus was intending to sail to India, China, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. These super sensory spice paintings are the perfect way to incorporate this fact into your Columbus Day activities. Paint with glue and then sprinkle different spices on each part of the ship for a unique color and effect.

Columbus Day School Craft

Create a background with colored paper and sponge paint to create clouds. Then ,students can paint their hands with brown paint and stamp them onto the page; adding sails cut from paper for this perfectly messy and sensory activity.

Columbus Day School Craft

5. Learn About Star Navigation

It has been suggested that during his travels Christopher Columbus at times, attempted to navigate using celestial or star navigation. This video does a super job of explaining star navigation to students and suggests a super activity to create the Plough constellation and pointer stars to help find the North star.

Christopher Columbus also used a magnetic compass during his voyage to the Americas. Cut out the crosses for the middle of the compass along with the compass directions on smaller squares of paper. Students can then assemble the compass themselves.

Columbus Day School Activity

Linking some science to your Christopher Columbus Day activities is simple with this STEM boat-building activity. Challenge your students to use whatever recycled materials they’d like to create a boat that must carry Christopher Columbus across the water.

Columbus Day School Activity

8. Christopher Columbus Reading Comprehension

This reading pack includes a reading passage where students can learn facts about Christopher Columbus and then answer questions on what they have read to show their understanding.

Columbus Day School Workbook Facts

Download PDF • 118KB

To create these collapsing spy glasses you will need three lengths of cardboard tubes and some tape. Cut two of the tubes along the side before taping them again to make them narrower. Then, build up tape around the ends of the tube to act as a bumper from them coming apart if pulled.

Columbus Day School Craft

10. Learn and Sing a Columbus Day Song

Learn all about how Columbus sailed the ocean from Europe to the Americas in 1492 with this fun song, which includes lyrics so your students can learn the words and then sing along. This song would be the perfect start to a class presentation or show on Columbus Day.

Start by cutting a flap into the side of a plastic bottle for your students. Then, using cardboard, paper, and cocktail sticks students can make the boats. Glue some blue tissue paper to the inside of the flap that is cut into the plastic bottle and then add the boats. Add a plaque to display the bottle and disguise the flap.

Columbus Day Plastic Bottle Craft

12. Christopher Columbus Day Boat Snacks

These cute sailing ship snacks are fantastically perfect for a healthy snack time on Columbus Day. Students could make these in class with just a slice of orange for them to stick a lollipop stick into and add a sail made from paper.

Columbus Day Snacks

13. Write a Diary Entry

A history writing lesson can be an amazing activity for Columbus Day! Students can imagine they are Christopher Columbus on his voyage and complete a diary entry from a day at sea or reaching land.

Columbus Day School Activity: Diary

Learn how to make this cool origami boat by following the steps and folding a piece of paper. Add a toothpick with a sail to complete the craft! Your students can then decorate this boat to look like one of the boats Columbus made his journey on

Columbus Day Origami

15. Host a Columbus Day Trivia Quiz

Get your students into teams and let them compete to score points on this fun Columbus trivia quiz. This is a super way to test their knowledge and see how much they have learned.

This fun craft is a simple way to create a ship in a bottle for younger students. Students can cut out boat shapes from paper and add their own explorers. Wrap the finished picture in saran wrap to give the effect of a glass bottle.

Columbus Day Simple Craft

For this activity, draw or print a map of the Atlantic Ocean and add some pictures of Christopher Columbus’ boats and their sailing routes. You can then use this map for a range of grid reference tasks for your students or get them to plot a sailing course using the grid references.

Columbus Day School Activity: Maps

Create a Columbus day storybook with this fun activity idea. Use a boat template for students to use as pages in their books and they can write a story or illustrate a picture book of Columbus’ journey to the Americas. Staple the pages together and add a paper sail to complete this cool craft!

Columbus Day School Activity: Storybook

After your students have learned more about Christopher Columbus and his story, it’s time to test their knowledge! This 3-in-1 activity worksheet is a free printable resource that covers some of the key facts and learning points about Columbus Day. This activity is a perfect starter activity for your day!

Columbus Day School Activity

These fantastic cut-and-stick Columbus day activities are superb for younger learners. Students can read and follow the simple instructions to color the ships, cut along the dotted lines, and then stick the ships along the route across the sea.

Give your students some different foods and let them create their own Columbus Day-themed snacks! Encourage students to use the foods you provide in a creative way to show a part of the Columbus Day story! This edible collage will be great fun to make and eat.

Get to grips with some of the vocabulary and spellings associated with Columbus day with this free printable word search. This is a great option for fast finishers during the day or as a starter activity.

Columbus Day Word Search

This activity is easy to adapt for students of any age as they can create a map to show Christopher Columbus’ journey from Europe to the Americas. Students can try to copy or draw their own map or teachers can provide an outline for them to paint.

24. Complete a Christopher Columbus ABC Order Cut and Paste Activity

Link your literacy lesson to your class learning about Columbus day. This free Columbus day activity for 1st and 2nd-grade students is the perfect alphabet sorting task. Students can cut and stick to order words to the 2nd letter.

Download PDF • 3.94MB

*These activities were originally posted on


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