Columbus Day

Columbus Day Games

Columbus Day Games: As you read this article, you’ll discover some new Columbus Day activities for kids. Christopher Columbus is said to have sailed the ocean blue in 1492. His ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, brought him to the New World.

Over two centuries have passed since Columbus Day was first celebrated in the United States. Benjamin Harrison proclaimed October 12 Columbus Day to commemorate Christopher Columbus’ arrival 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.

Race to the New World Columbus Day Activity
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


Draw the scenes of Christopher Columbus’ journey from the Old World to the New World on adhesive paper to make the game.

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

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

Cut out the figures you drew and paste them on the blue paper. Mark the Old World side with waterproof markers and the New World side with dry-erase markers.

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

The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria were Columbus’s boats.

Each boat is made by poking a toothpick into a small block of foam.

You can use more adhesive paper to cut sails for each boat. Mark the boats with their names.

Decorate the boats with waterproof markers or more adhesive paper if you wish.

You are now ready to race. Set up the boats in the Old World and blow them over to the New. See which one makes it first to the New World?

For the explorer who isn’t yet ready to hit the water, make him a big round world box. Next, we’ll show you how to make this Columbus Day activity

Big Round World Box Columbus Day Activity
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

Put a rubber band on the end of a large, round balloon.

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

The strips should be pasted onto the balloon until it is completely covered. Let dry between layers. Repeat three more times. As you add layers, change the direction of the strips to make the globe strong.

Let your globe dry for a few days. Let go of the rubber band, and the balloon inside will deflate.

Using a map or another globe, copy the shapes of the different countries onto your globe. Color each country and label it. Also label the oceans. (Avoid lettering near the center of the globe since you will need to cut there).

Draw a light chalk line around the globe’s center. Using this line, cut the halves of your Big Round World Box (have an adult help you).

Make the inside of your box a solid color. Make a stand for a can by gluing colored construction paper around it.

Next, you can test your explorer’s knowledge with the Discover It game. Find out more in the next section

 Discover It Game

For a day, you can pretend to be Columbus by playing this Columbus Day activity. This thrilling race against time gives you the chance to discover countries, people, and things — everything an explorer needs to discover.

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 on the colored felt, such as Spain, North America, Columbus’ ships, spice bottles, the sun, and ocean waves.

Cut out each shape, then cut each shape again into two or three pieces.

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

After a few minutes, the other player studies the scene.

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

Set the timer for five minutes. Before the timer runs out, the other player must put the felt pieces back together to make the scene.

Make two games, and see who can discover faster.

What day is Columbus Day? It is always celebrated on the second Monday in October. In 2016, Columbus Day falls on Monday, October 10. For 2017, Columbus Day falls on Monday, October 9. Here are some Columbus Day online lessons and activities. Enjoy!

Columbus Day Online Lessons and Activities

Recently, there’s been controversy around the celebration of Columbus Day. We say, Happy Columbus Day anyway! Did he or didn’t he discover America? Well, he certainly did, but he wasnt’t the first or even the second. Who really discovered America?

Christopher Columbus gets the credit for discovering America, but the Native Americans were already here. Amerigo Vespucci, America’s namesake, was here first. So was Leif Erikson!

We’ve curated some lessons to help you decide for yourself. Who really discovered America?


Six Activities to Celebrate Columbus Day

Thanks to its partnership with publisher Eye on Education, EducationWorld is pleased to present the following teaching tips.

Do you have any activities lined up for Columbus Day? Here are a few fun games and activities that will keep your students engaged in learning about this historic date.

    • Students can create a class or individual “Book of Privileges.” Columbus’ Book of Privileges outlined the rewards and privileges he received from Isabel and Fernando of Spain as a result of his explorations. Students can reflect on what they have achieved so far this school year and what rewards or privileges they have received as a result.
    • Columbus and his crew needed a lot of supplies to survive the journey to the Americas. Make a list of items students would need on a long boat trip and hide them around the classroom. The student or group who finds the most items wins!
    • Play the Discover It Game and become an explorer for a day. As students create their own puzzle boards with black and colored felt, cardboard, scissors, and markers, they then ask their classmates to put them together.
    • This activity would be suitable for students in grades 6-12. Separate the class into two teams: one team represents Columbus and his crew of 90 men, and the other represents the scientists who believed that making the trip would be fatal to the explorers. The teams will debate points to create a discussion about the earth, its shape, and the threat to Native Americans already settled.
    • Columbus kept many records of his voyages in his log book. Write a log book or diary about what Columbus might have seen or experienced on his journey. Students should be creative!
    • Should I stay or should I leave?
      Students can use this activity from BrainPOPJR to imagine that they are sailors in 1492. They are asked to accompany Columbus on his first voyage to Asia. Could they handle this dangerous and exciting adventure? If not, why not?

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