Many times when we think of colonial times, we think of the Pilgrims. That type of simplicity is admirable, but the colonial times are worth studying. These resources and hands-on activities for studying colonial times will go great alongside your history lessons.
The 16th century in Europe emerged an age of mercantilism, which motivated nations to seek even more economic gains. In hopes of expanding the British Empire (primarily because of their rival, Spain), Queen Elizabeth of England encouraged colonization in North America.
Most of the settlers were English, but there were others from around Europe as well, like the Dutch, Germans, Swedes, and more.
What were the colonial times?
The colonial times spanned from the 16th to 17th centuries in the Americas, where European groups expanded to colonize and move to claim the new land they learned about.
Most emigrants left their countries for freedom of religion, to escape political oppression, or plainly for adventure or opportunity a new world would bring.
Although many people think of pilgrims when they think of colonization of America, the pilgrims didn’t arrive until 1620 from their voyage on the Mayflower.
An interesting colonial-times tidbit:
Many people know the first colony settling in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. However, did you know there was an attempt to colonize even before this time?
The very first attempt for the English to settle in America began in the Roanoke Colony in 1585, led by Sir Walter Raleigh along with 91 men, 17 women, and nine children.
The Roanoke Colony actually failed. Guess why? History says that the Roanoke Colony mysteriously vanished after only three years of their attempt to settle there. This leaves a lot to the imagination, doesn’t it? – making the people who settled in Jamestown, a bunch of brave folks.
Moving on. So why study the colonial times?
Of course, the colonial times began the emigration of people to North America and sparked the country we live in today.
However, another interesting point of study to share with our children is based on the way of life during colonial times. No matter your stature, the first people arriving had to work hard, yes, even the children.
I find this a significant part of history lessons where we can encourage our children in the value of chores and responsibility in the home.
Children during the colonial times had their part and share of responsibilities in the home. They contributed to the house like our children can contribute to helping our home function smoothly as well.
Early on, girls didn’t even have access to go to school, but eventually, education grew to kids of all ages in a schoolhouse. Mostly all learning was hands-on learning.
Eventually, the lands separated into what we know today as the city and farm. Whether families were in the city or the farms, both included kids having much responsibility.
We created a notebook for kids called Living in Colonial Times a Notebooking Journey you might want to check out:
Here are some books and videos that will help kids understand how life was during the colonial period.
Exploring The 13 Colonies: Books and Videos For Middle School Students | Education Possible
Part 1 – If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern (Video) | Bookworm Bonny
Life as a Child in the 18th Century (My kids really found this video interesting.) | Colonial Williamsburg
Books About Colonial America |Fantastic Fun and Learning
To get your kids excited and engaged in learning this history, explore these hands-on activities for studying colonial times:
Hands-on History Unit Colonial History| Teach Beside Me
33 Colonial Kids Activities (Colonial Crafts, Colonial Games, Colonial Food Recipes) | KidsActivities.net
Making Butter Activities | Thrifty in Third Grade by Cassie Smith
5 Easy Colonial America Map Activities for Kids | Education Possible
Hands-On History Activities To Bring Early American History To Life | Education Possible
Colonial Games and Hands-On Activities For Middle School | Education Possible
Pioneer Living and Cloth Dyeing (Hands-on History) | Tina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus
Experience life in Colonial America with Made for Trade | Adventures in Mommydom
Learning about Life in the Colonial Era and Pretending to be a Colonial Kid | Line Upon Line Learning
Jamestown for Kids Unit Hands-on Activities and FREE Worksheets | 123Homeschool4Me
Colonial America Unit: Hands-On Learning | Organized Homeschooler
Activities for Kids: Silversmithing | Savor the Days
Colonial Regions Brown Bag Sort Activity | Active History Teacher
Take a Step Back in Time to the Colonial Times | Heart 2 Heart
Study colonial times with these hands-on games:
Fun Colonial Games for Children To Play | Education Possible
13 Colonies Editable Review Game Activity | Samson’s Shoppe
Made For Trade, A Great Colonial America History Game | Adventures in Mommydom
Colonial Games and Pasttimes | Adventures in Mommydom
Create a Board Game – A Fun Group Project! 13 Colonies | Becky’s Social Studies Center
Teach your kids about colonial times with the free resources below:
13 Colonies Facts & FREE Worksheets | kidskonnect
Colonies Unit Preview FREE | Spivey Sparks
Middle Colonies FREE Download | Education.com
Project-Based Learning: Building a Colony in the New World | Paige Yarborough The Okie Teacher
13 Colonies Interactive Unit | The Clever Teacher
Thirteen Colonies: A Fact or Fiction Investigation Colonial Life – UPDATED! | Creating History
Colonial America Interactive Notebook FREEBIE 5th Grade | Amy Mezni – Teaching Ideas 4U
Life in the 13 Colonies Unit with Leveled Passages, Activities, Flipbook & Test | Heart 2 Heart Teaching
13 Colonies Nonfiction Articles with Activities for Notebooks Distance Learning | Cutesy Clickables by Collaboration Cuties
Colonial Jobs PowerPoint Lesson | Paige Yarborough The Okie Teacher
American Colonies Differentiated Choice Board | Erika Forth
13 Colonies Videos for Students (with FREE worksheets) | The Clever Teacher
FREE Colonial America Graphic Organizers | Book Units Teacher
No Prep US History Worksheet – Original 13 Colonies Word Search | Puzzles to Print
Jamestown Cause & Effect Sorting Cards and Worksheet | Alyssa Teaches
Colonial America | Amy Labrasciano
Plymouth Colony BUNDLE | Paige Yarborough The Okie Teacher
American Colonies Unit (Part 1) – 54 Pages | Mrs Bart
Colonial Day Experiences for Upper Graders | Hello Fifth
FREE Printables Colonial America for Kids | 123Homeschool4Me
Settling the New World: Colonial History Unit Study | Our Journey Westward
Studying with these hands-on activities for studying colonial times will make learning about history fun. Teaching kids about the lifestyle than will maybe help them appreciate the life they live in today.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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