Who was Christopher Columbus? That’s an important question to answer as we recognize Columbus Day. Some say he founded America; others just credit him as a Spanish explorer. Here’s the truth: Columbus was Italian, but he lived in Spain later on, according to Biography. Columbus was set on finding Cathay, India, for some spices he could take back to the mainland, according to History.
Contrary to popular belief, his contemporaries did not believe Earth was actually round; the Christian Science Monitor states that although Columbus thought the planet was pear-shaped, most people knew it was round. Regardless, the real question was how big the Earth was––and that’s how Columbus ended up in America, also known as the “New World.” The explorer wasn’t aware of the planet’s size, so he landed where he thought India actually was.
After giving your kids this brief historical background, engage in a couple activities that will help them commemorate Columbus Day.
Craft: Build your own Boat – American Corners Macedonia
According to Enchanted Learning, Columbus sailed on three different ships: the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, which he captained. The Santa Maria was shipwrecked later, and historians believe they may have found its remains near the Haiti coast, according to the Smithsonian, due to a journal entry Columbus wrote. Chances are you have some empty egg cartons lying around the house.
- 3 cardboard egg cups
- Brown acrylic craft paint
- Paint brush (or sponge brush)
- ¼ cup modeling clay or Playdough
- 6 toothpicks
- 1 sheet white paper
- White craft glue
- Paint the egg cups inside and out with brown paint. Set aside to dry.
- Cut sails from white paper. You will need 6 large sails (1.5” x 1”) and 18 small sails (.5” x .75”)
- Set aside three of the toothpicks for the large sails. Break or cut the other three toothpicks in half, giving you 6 halves.
- Put a line of glue through the middle of one of the small sails. Place the cut or broken end of one of the toothpick halves onto the glue line.
- Roll it in the glue to cover both sides, then place another sail on top, sandwiching the two sails together. Flatten the sails together with your fingers and set aside to dry.
- Repeat step number 5 with each toothpick half and 2 small sails (each).
- Following the guide in step number 5, make the larger sails. For each large sail you will need a toothpick, 2 small sails and 2 large sails. Glue the small sail to the end of the full toothpick, and then glue the larger sail beneath it, leaving a small gap between the top and bottom sail. Set aside to dry.
- Roll a small amount of clay in your palm, enough to line the bottom of the egg cup. Place in the egg cup and flatten to cover bottom.
- Insert open end of large sail into the middle of the clay. Insert two small sails, one on either side of the large sail, into the clay.
What would Columbus’ crew have eaten back in the day? According to the Daily Meal, the explorers would have eaten cheese, rice, beans, salted fish, and sea biscuits.
Although those biscuits were traditionally served hard, make it easy for the kids and buy a roll of Pillsbury Grands! which they can put on a cookie tray themselves.
Cook some white rice, salt some fish or beef, and then move on to the beans.
Spanish style bean recipe from Snapguide
- In a pot that fits at least 2 cups of water, turn the fire on to medium and add oil. When it starts to heat up a bit add chicken bouillon tomato paste & garlic
- Let the chicken bouillon break down and mix it with the tomato paste and garlic. The garlic can be minced or mashed, but not whole. Tomato paste should be at least 1 teaspoon, but you can add more if you want thicker broth.
- Mix it and let it sizzle a bit––about less than a minute.
- Take your beans and drain the water. Try Goya pink beans.
- Add drained beans to the pot.
- Take your bean can & fill it up twice with water, then pour into the pot. Let the water boil for about 5 minutes before adding rest of ingredients.
- Add a quarter of a green pepper to the water.
- A quarter of a red pepper, half an onion and a small handful of cilantro.
Let the water boil with the ingredients for about half an hour. Keep checking the mixture. Take off the burner when the mixture looks thick enough. Serve when ready.
Jehn Kubiak is a Biola University journalism graduate and current pastoral care and counseling major at the Talbot School of Theology. She is a San Diego native who enjoys distance swimming, coffee, dogs, and painting. She loves researching and writing about people, sports, activities, and more.