Hands-On American Colonial American History Resources
Many children learn history best by participating in hands-on activities and projects. For those who learn best by doing or creating, there are historical coloring books, paper dolls, models to assemble, and books full of crafts that relate to the colonial period. There are also classroom plays and Readers Theater resources.
On this page I will list books I have personally read or have looked through in their paper versions. Where books are in a series I will review the series and link to a page that will include most of the titles available for purchase. When you click through to any link you will be sure to see other suggested related resources. If you have questions, feel free to use the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Resource Books for Hands-On Activities
Colonial American Activity Book by Linda Milliken: This is part of an out-print series by Edupress best suited for children in grades 3-6. It is full of hands-on activities.
- Charting the Mayflower’s voyage on a 22-ft length of wall
- Writing a classroom compact
- Making replicas of Pilgrim homes, a hornbook, a quill pen, and Plymouth Rock
- Bartering with corn
- Cooking colonial foods
- Writing almanacs
- Setting up an apprenticeship program in your home or classroom
- Playing colonial games
- Many more
Historical aids, patterns and instructions are included. BTH-3795. The illustration is for the 1998 revision of this book, but content is the same as the earlier editions except for the arrangement of it in the book. I still have some of this version available. Please inquire through contact form and include BTH number above.
Colonial America: 18 Fun-to-Create Reproducible Models That Bring the Colonial Period to Life by Donald Silvers and Patricia Wynne. Scholastic, 2002. Contains instructions and patterns for making models that introduce students to each of the 13 colonies with hands-on model projects. Here are some examples:
- Croatan Mystery Tree
- 3-D Jamestown map
- Boston Town Meeting Pop-Up Book
- Dutch Windmill
- New England Seaport Diorama
- Look-Inside Log Cabin
- Spinning Wheel
At the beginning are general instructions on model making and a map of the 13 colonies. 80 pages. For grades 3-5. BTH-4220
Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World: by Laurie Carlson. As children ages 5-12 learn about life in the colonies, they can enjoy some hand-on activities such as stitching a sampler, pitching horseshoes, making an almanac, churning butter, and much, much more.
The book begins with a time line and then introduces the people and how they came to America. The book includes maps of the exploration of Columbus and of the earliest colonies. Historical background accompanies each activity. Topics , with related activities, include
- Sailing and Settling
- Clothes and More
- Home Sweet Home
- Everyday Life
- Arts and Crafts
- School and Learning
- Fun and Games
- What Happened to the Colonies.
This book contains more activities, and crafts which use a wider variety of materials, than the activities in the Edupress book on the same subject. 160 pages.
Colonial Period Educational Coloring Books
Dover Coloring Books for Middle and Upper Grades are more complex than beginning coloring books and contain considerable detail. Some allow reproduction for non-commercial use and others don’t, so read copyright information carefully before reproducing for classroom use. Here are some examples on this topic.
Colonial and Early American Fashions, a Dover Coloring Book by Tom Tierney. Covers all the colonies from 1620 -1760, contrasting the fashions of those in different social classes and occupations in the same time periods. Servants dress differently than the people they work for, etc. The text for each picture explains its significance. Suitable for grades 4 and up. You may reproduce pages for non-commercial graphics and craft applications.
Early American Trades Coloring Book by Peter Copeland. Dover. Portrays color wig makers, glassblowers, hatters, and nineteen other colonial craftsmen. Each craftsman appears on one page, with his tools and products on the facing page. There are 44 illustrations and 22 descriptive captions. Captions explain what is happening in the pictures. For upper elementary and above. Useful for students and teachers. Not legally reproducible. 48 pages.
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