Columbus Day Party Guide

Freebies & Fun
The party guide helps plan a themed Columbus Day event with ideas, tips in the food departments, creative crafts, and clever conversation chats, menus, recipes, cookies, cakes and food labels. Free printable games, puzzles, place name cards and coloring pages.


Columbus sailed the ocean blue way back in 1492; and we as a culture celebrate his memory and accomplishments to this day, with the help of a Columbus Day playlist filled with some classic patriotic songs:

Gloria in Excelsis Deo by Johann Sebastian Bach
(which was played in the film “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery”)
Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis (from the “1492: Conquest of Paradise” movie soundtrack)
Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria (Into Eternity) by Vangelis (from the “1492: Conquest of Paradise” movie soundtrack)
1492 by Nancy Schimmel
Christopher Columbus by Kathleen Wiley
Let’s Celebrate Columbus Day by Ben Stiefel
Even with such a winning party playlist in place, no Columbus Day party will truly ‘set sail’ without some theme-relevant party supplies. They could include lovely tableware items in shades of aqua blue, complete with a tulle or crinkled paper banner that likens the waves of the ocean. Take home party favors could include black paper captain’s hats and whimsical spyglasses; relevant wall art could show a map of Christopher Columbus’ signature journey. Movie posters from films made about Christopher Columbus (such as “Christopher Columbus: The Discovery” and “1492: Conquest of Paradise”) also would work.
Set sail for the party of a lifetime, in honor of the one and only Christopher Columbus! Quick thought: Put the favors into cellophane bags to keep them all together and so as soon as possible. Never underestimate the power of a clear glass bowl; fill it with flowers, or glass marbles, or seashells, or candy or chips, or make it a dish garden centerpiece or put holiday ornaments in it. A mixture of games both physical and mental will be welcomed by many guests when given the choice.

An effective way to teach children the importance of a historical figure, such as Christopher Columbus, is by encouraging them to make homemade party supplies. Children may find memorizing a bunch of dates and facts rather boring. Children can do many Columbus Day handmade party supplies with minimal art materials. Handmade Columbus Day party supplies and decorations should generate some enthusiasm among children. A few Columbus Day homemade party supplies to consider are paper mache globe, egg cup ships – Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, and Christopher Columbus style hat.

A world map circa 1492 is another consider for homemade Columbus Day party supplies. Research what a map looked like in Columbus’s day – and using a large sheet of paper, draw out the map with paints, markers and other art supplies. To age the map, sprinkle some coffee on it before the map is drawn out. Ship mosaics are also a nice way to encourage children to participate in art in associated with Columbus Day. Encourage children to use pattern blocks or tangram pieces to create a ship. Once they complete a design, have them trace around the blocks using a pencil then a black crayon or marker. Now color in the blocks with various colors, cut around the outside of their ship mosaic, and glue it onto a sheet of construction paper.


Celebrate the day set aside to recognize the discovery of the new world with a Columbus Day holiday cake. Just start by planning on the party supplies that will be helpful in putting this cake together when the time comes. Start with a coconut cake as the base, putting up the needed ingredients to make the cake out of the box. Here is the directions for the holiday cake, start by heating the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 9-inch round cake pans. On a baking sheet place 2 cups of flaked coconut and toast them, stirring for about 8 to 10 minutes. Take the bowl of an electric mixer add pudding mix and coconut milk, set on low speed to combine. When ready add the cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs, yogurt and ½ cup of flaked coconut, proceed to mix on medium to achieve a smooth batter. Now pour batter into the cake pans. These will need to bake until lightly browned, about 40 minutes and allow 20 minutes to cool. Top one cake with a cream cheese frosting, then add the second and frost it all. Lastly add the toasted coconut to the cake, pressing gently to embed.

Columbus Day is celebrated in the United States to honor Christopher Columbus's Birthday, the explorer who landed in America in 1492. Before, most people believed the world was flat, but Columbus believed the world was round. He believed you could sail around it safely. This was a very remarkable idea, because people of that age, thought the world was flat, and you would fall off the edge if you traveled too far. Now that this is a national holiday, you can let your children celebrate it the night before with a fun slumber party and perhaps a nice brunch the next morning.

Seeking a short cut to the West Indies, Columbus believed if he sailed 3000 miles west, he would reach Asia. He approached John II, King of Portugal requesting support for his expedition. When the King refused him, he approached King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, of Spain, for their sponsorship. They didn’t grant his request immediately but, later gave him sponsorship for his expedition. He set sail on August 3, 1492 with three ships the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Problems with the Nina and the Pinta caused a month-long delay in the Canary Islands. He set sail again on September 3, 1492, and thirty-three days later on October 12, 1492 discovered land.

American school children are taught that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1942. Of course, Columbus really didn’t "discover" North America, and the parts he explored were already inhabited, but his first voyage did prove that the earth was not only round, but it was bigger than he thought.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage, in 1892, President Benjamin Harrison made a commemorative proclamation. But it was the state of Colorado, in 1905 that became the first state to observe a Columbus Day. Since 1920 the day has been celebrated annually, and in 1937 President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12 as Columbus Day. That's where it remained until 1971 when Congress declared it a federal public holiday on the second Monday in October.

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Columbus Day History, Facts and Educational Resources

Add an educational twist to any birthday party, holiday celebration, or theme party.  Share the history of the Columbus Day theme to the guests.  Play some free printable educational party games.  Shhh don't tell the kids that they are learning!

The history of Columbus Day dates back to October 12, 1492. It marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the Americas.

Columbus Day celebrated its first day as a holiday in Colorado in 1906, becoming a federal holiday in 1937, although people have been celebrating the arrival into the New World since colonial times. New York City celebrated it in 1792, as did some other cities in the United States, as the 300th anniversary of the event.

President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people to celebrate the 400th anniversary in 1892. At this time, teachers, politicians, and poets took this opportunity to spread ideals of patriotism. These teachings include the support for the wars, loyalty to our nation, and a celebration of social progress.

Catholic immigrants began to fight discrimination to insure their safety, and they saw Christopher Columber as a symbol that fought for the right to citizenship for them.

Italians in America celebrate their heritage on this day, and the first of this celebration was on October 12, 1866, in New York City. Angleo Noce, who was a first generation Italian, lobbied for the recognition of Columbus’ discovery in Denver. By 1905, it was proclaimed a holiday by Governor Jesse F. McDonald. The Knights of Columbus also lobbied, and as a result of that, in 1934 Franklin Delanor Roosevelt made it federal holiday, and he called it Columbus Day.

Presently, the holiday is fixed to the second Monday in October. This is coincidentally the same day that Canadians celebrate their own Thanksgiving. It is observed differently in different parts of the country. Some states have parades, and some schools and state services close on the day. Most states recognize it as a state holiday and a Day of Observance or Recognition. The states of Hawaii and South Dakota do not observe the holiday at all. Organization regardless of size will help ensure the day is less stressful for the hostess and more entertaining. Not everyone is a social butterfly so plan on games and activities at a gathering that let even the shy guests participate; like quizzes. Organization regardless of size will help ensure the day is less stressful for the hostess and more entertaining. The history of Columbus Day has different interpretations by each person, so use your own judgement. Share these facts with friends at a celebration.
The Party Supplies Hut has more free elementary educational teacher resources for Columbus Day to use in the classroom for active learning to create lesson plans with trivia questions, games and fun activities.

History of Columbus Day
More Columbus Day holiday educational teachers classroom resources: 

Columbus Day Party Games
Columbus Day Word Find
Columbus Day Word Search
Columbus Day Word Scramble
Columbus Day Party Ideas
Columbus Day Party Supplies
Educational Teacher Resources

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