Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day!!

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Last week as we were reviewing the family calendar for this month, Jeff shared fond memories of Columbus Day Celebrations from his youth. Most people who know us, KNOW how proud we are of Jeff's Italian Heritage! Jeff grew up in a small town in New Jersey - 1 traffic light small. The town was primarily populated by families with Italian Heritage. Each year the entire town celebrated Catholic Feasts and holidays, Italian style with lots of food and fun!! Columbus Day was no exception given Christopher's "Goomba-ness". As Jeff shared his memories, I desired to create a special day, as a family, we could honor this courageous Italian (Christopher Columbus). So, with that in mind, Super Mom went into overdrive. I began looking for fun ways to learn about Christopher Columbus and to create a memory for our family. What a fun journey, I know I'm on overdrive when I'm dreaming about Columbus Day Craft Ideas.
Here's what we created:
Time: 10:30am - 1:30pm
Place: Mesa Riverview Park; Mesa, AZ


I packed a picnic lunch, library books, scooters, and craft supplies; and we headed off to the park. I was very excited knowing that our local park has a fishing pond we could utilize today. The kids even went to bed last night with a renewed sense of excitement for a fun day of learning. When we arrived, we found a covered pavilion placed between the pond and the playground - Perfect!! We set up camp so to speak, and began making our Walnut Shell Ships as a souvenir. Supplies needed:**



  1. Walnut Shell Half
  2. Small Ball of Playdough
  3. Construction Paper Triangle
  4. Straw and Tape


Cut the straw to desired length, tape paper triangle onto straw for the sail; place small ball of playdough into walnut shell; stick sail into playdough ball. Fabulous!!


Next, we did some word search puzzles and worksheets on Christopher Columbus. While we worked on these, we talked about what made this man memorable. I was happy to find the kids interested in the conversation. We were able to discuss character traits like courage, passion, patience, vision, inspiration, and determination. We talked about how things don't always go as planned, but that we can always find value in the journey. Overall, I was SO grateful for the inspiring time!!


Now, it was time to play and get ready for lunch. Michelle and Anthony surprised me by using the playground euipment to "act out" their own sea adventure. They wanted some sailor tools, so we made a telescope and binoculars.**

  1. Papertowel Roll
  2. Toilet Paper Roll
  3. Bendy Straw
  4. Construction Paper
  5. Tape or Glue

We first cut the TP Roll in half and measured the distance between Tony's eyes. Next, we rolled the TP Rolls and the PT Roll in construction paper. We cut 2 small slits in the side of the TP Rolls. We then cut the bendy straw so the the bendy part coule be our "nose piece". We were able to insert the cut bendy straw into the slits in the TP Rolls, and taped the insides. We decorated the Telescope and added additional tape to our binoculars in secure the ends, and tahdah, we were ready to explore!

After lunch, it was time to create our Masterpiece Replicas - The Nina, The Pinta, and The Santa Maria.**

  1. 3 empty plastic gallon jugs
  2. 3 paper napkins
  3. 3 plastic knives
  4. 3 straws

We began by cutting the plastic jugs about 1.5 inches from the bottom. We'll save the top part to use as sand scoopes and funnels. We then labeled the ships with a permanent marker. Next, we taped the straw to the inside to attach the sail to. We then decorated the paper napkins as our sails, and taped them to the plastic knives. Finally, we taped the plastic knives with sails onto the straws, and we were ready to set sail. We then launched our ships into the pond, and imagined what it would have been like that fateful August day in 1492. We were almost as excited and nervous as I'm sure the sailors were.

It was SO fun to watch our ships float across the water, and then 1 took on water and began to sink, and then a 2nd one did the same. It was fun to again talk about how things did not go exactly how Columbus had anticpated, just as we experience in our lives.

We had read from a library book, I Sailed with Columbus by Susan Martin. In this book, it described sailing through green sludge at one point. We decided to come home and make green goo** to experience what it might have been like to sail through it.

  1. 1 cup of Cornstarch
  2. 1 cup of COLD water
  3. food coloring

Slowly add the Cold water to the cornstarch, stirring as you go. This mixture will be both dry and wet - which makes it SO cool!! Then we added green food coloring and mixed it in. This goo looks wet on the counter, but feels dry; and then, as soon as you pick it up, it is slimy and wet. Messy Fun!!

"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to loose sight of the shore!"

I think this quote totally sums up what we've learned from studying and celebrating Columbus. It is by faith and courage that great things happen! When we are willing to "set sail" with the "Great Captain", life becomes an adventure!! May we also leave a legacy of faith, courage, action, and inspiration!!

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