Learning through play: Making an explorer ship to help learn about Christopher Columbus

One of the topics that Sophie’s school has suggested for home learning is to learn about Christopher Columbus. Our lesson started with watching a short online video clip about Christopher Columbus. I thought it would be fun to try and bring history to life with a little crafting and small world play. We had fun making an explorer ship from an old margarine tub and sailing it across a tuff tray to recreate a voyage to the Americas.

 

An explorer ship made from a margarine tub - "Learning through play: Making an explorer ship to help learn about Christopher Columbus"

To make the explorer ship, you will need:

  • A margarine tub
  • Brown or gold tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue, watered down a little
  • A glue spreader
  • A black marker pen
  • Two straws
  • A piece of white paper
  • A hole punch
  • A glue gun
  • A red colouring pencil or pen

 

1) Cut along the sides of the margarine tub to create the shape of the ship as shown below.

 

A margarine tub with the top edge cut to make the shape of a ship

 

2) Cut up the tissue paper into small squares. Spread watered-down glue across the outside of the margarine tub and cover with small squares of tissue paper. Once the outside of the tub is covered with tissue paper, spread a layer of glue over the top of the tissue paper layer and leave to dry.

 

Sophie gluing squares of gold tissue paper to the outside of the margarine tub

 

3) Repeat step 2 to cover the inside of the margarine tub and leave to dry.

 

Sophie gluing squares of gold tissue paper to the inside of the margarine tub

 

4) Cut out two small squares of white paper, one measuring approximately 8cm x 8cm and the other measuring approximately 5cm x 5cm to make the sails. Draw a red cross in the middle of each sail and punch a hole in the middle along the top and bottom edges.

 

Sophie drawing red crosses on two squares of paper

 

5) Cut the top third off one straw. Push the bigger sail on to the large straw and the small sail on to the larger straw.

 

Sophie holding the straws with the paper sails

 

6) Add details to the side of the ship using a black marker pen.

 

Sophie drawing portholes on the outside of the ship with a black marker pen

 

7) Use a glue gun to glue both straws to the bottom of the margarine tub. Your explorer ship is now ready to set sail.

 

The finished explorer ship

 

Sophie decided that her ship was going to be the Santa Maria. We set up the tuff tray outside and used sand to recreate Spain and the Americas on opposite sides of the tuff tray and added water. Sophie used Duplo figures to represent Christopher Columbus and the indigenous people, and we also added boxes to represent gold and treasure.

 

Sophie sailing her explorer ship in the tuff tray with the Americas made out of sand

 

She loved sailing her explorer ship across the ocean and recreating Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas. It was a great way to help bring history to life and we’ll certainly be trying similar things with some of our other home learning topics over the coming weeks.

 

 

Kids and Kreativity linky

6 thoughts on “Learning through play: Making an explorer ship to help learn about Christopher Columbus

  1. Love the ship, it looks great! and I like that you upcycled things that would otherwise end up in the bin. Thanks for sharing at #KidsandKreativity.

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