Columbus Day Activities

The Christopher Columbus Quiz Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Discover some new Columbus Day activities for kids as you read this article. As the saying goes, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the year 1492. He made it to the New World with his ships the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Columbus Day has been celebrated in the United States for over two centuries. President Benjamin Harrison dedicated October 12 as Columbus Day to commerate the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.


Celebrate Columbus Day with the following games and crafts.

Race to the New World

See who's the better explorer when you race boats, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, to the New World.

Big Round World Box

Give the gift of the world to the explorer in your life.

Discover It Game

Be Christopher Columbus for a day and test your skills of observation and discovery.

In 1492 Christopher Columbus left Spain, racing to find the New World. See how fast you can get there when you play the game in the next section.

For other fun features for kids, see:


Race to the New World

Race to the New World Columbus Day Activity

Race to the New World with this Columbus Day activity. Perfect for warm weather, this game lets you explore the world with the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

What You'll Need:

Large plastic tub


Adhesive vinyl paper in various colors

Clear adhesive vinyl


Waterproof markers

Foam blocks


To make the game, draw the scenes of Christopher Columbus' journey from the Old World to the New World on adhesive paper.

You may first want to stick a strip of blue adhesive paper around the top 4 to 5 inches of a deep plastic tub to look like the sky.

Then you can draw things like islands with palm trees, clouds, birds, fish jumping into the air, sailboats, and pirate ships on more adhesive paper. Do some research to find out what else Columbus might have seen on his journey.

Cut out the figures you drew, and stick them onto the blue paper. Label one side "Old World" and the opposite side "New World" with waterproof markers.

When you have finished creating your scene, cover the whole thing with clear adhesive paper. Then fill the tub with water to just a little below the bottom edge of the adhesive paper.

Make Columbus's boats next: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.

Make each boat by poking a toothpick into a small foam block.

You can use more adhesive paper to cut a sail for each boat. Label each boat with its name.

If you like, decorate the boats with waterproof markers or more adhesive paper.

Now you are ready to race. Line up the boats in the Old World and blow them over to the New. Which boat will get there first?

For the explorer that's not ready to hit the water, make him a big round world box. Learn how to make this Columbus Day activity in the next section.

For other fun crafts and activities for kids, see:


Big Round World Box

Big Round World Box Columbus Day Activity

Make this big round world box for the explorer in your life. This Columbus Day activity makes a great gift for anyone who wants to travel.

What You'll Need:

Large round balloon


Rubber band


Liquid starch

Large bowl

Map or globe





Craft knife

Small metal can

Construction paper

Glue or tape

Blow up a large, round balloon, and fasten the end with a rubber band.

Tear newspaper into strips that are 1 to 2 inches wide. Soak the strips in liquid starch for 10 minutes.

Paste the strips onto the balloon until the whole balloon is covered. Dry between layers. Add 3 more layers of newspaper strips. Each time you add a layer, change the direction of the strips to make your globe strong.

Let your globe dry for a couple of days. Release the rubber band, and the balloon inside will lose its air.

Copy the shapes of the different countries from a map or another globe onto your globe. Paint the countries different colors and label them. Label the oceans, too. (Try not to have any lettering near the center of the globe because you are going to make a cut there).

Draw a light chalk line all around the middle of the globe. Cut along this line to make the halves of your Big Round World Box (have an adult help you).

Paint the inside of your box a solid color. Glue colored construction paper around a can to make a stand.

Next, you can test any explorer's knowledge with the Discover It game. Learn more in the next section.

For other fun crafts and activities for kids, see:


Discover It Game

Play this Columbus Day activity and you can be the famous explorer for a day. In this exciting race against time you get to discover countries, people, and things -- everything a great explorer needs.

What You'll Need:

Thin cardboard


Black and colored felt


Fine-tipped marker



Glue a square of black felt onto a 20 x 20-inch piece of cardboard.

Use a fine-tipped marker to draw simple shapes, such as Spain, North America, Columbus's ships, Columbus, spice bottles, the sun, and ocean waves on the colored felt.

Cut out each shape, and then cut each shape again into 2 or 3 pieces.

One player makes a simple scene by putting the shapes on the black felt board (they will stick).

The other player studies the scene for a few minutes.

The first player then takes the scene away and scrambles the pieces.

Set the timer for 5 minutes. The other player must put the felt pieces back together to make the scene before the timer runs out.

Make 2 games, and race each other to see who can discover faster.

For other fun crafts and activities for kids, see:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERSLisa Lerner and Kersten Hamilton designed the Columbus Day activities.