Christopher Columbus Activities

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Christopher Columbus was an influential explorer. Do your students know why we celebrate his life and work? These activities will help to acquaint them with his life and accomplishments.

The Nina, the Pinta & the Santa Maria

Columbus sailed three ships to what became the new world. This activity gives students a chance to create their very own models of Columbus' fleet.


  • Photocopied images of the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria
  • Empty toilet paper rolls
  • Straws
  • Felt
  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Paint


  1. Begin by displaying the photocopies of Columbus' three ships as you give a brief explanation of the fleet to the class.
  2. Now, explain that the students will be creating their very own fleet of ships.
  3. Have them start by creating hulls out of the empty toilet paper rolls.
  4. Have them use the yarn, felt and the straws to design a sail for each ship.
  5. When each student has constructed three ships, have them use the paint to decorate and identify them.

Mapping Columbus' Route

Columbus conquered many impressive travel routes throughout his life, but none more well known than his journey to North America. This activity allows students to map his journey.


  • Photocopies of world maps including the oceans
  • Markers


  1. Begin by discussing each of Christopher Columbus' journeys.
  2. Work with the class to map the route of each journey on the world maps. Students should number each journey and use a different color marker to map each one.
  3. Have students fill in key facts about each journey on the map (e.g. duration, ship, significant events, and so).

The Explorer's Life for Me

What would a day in life of Christopher Columbus have been like? This activity gives students a chance to find out.


  • Assorted images of Christopher Columbus
  • Paper plates
  • Scissors
  • String
  • Markers


  1. Begin by asking students to create a mask of Christopher Columbus using the paper plates, string and markers.
  2. Next have students use creative writing to draft two paragraphs describing a day in the life of Christopher Columbus. This story should be inspired by factual information about Columbus' life.
  3. When each student has completed their paragraphs, have them adorn their masks and present their day in the life story to the class in an oral presentation.

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