American History Kids Crafts

Hands-On History for the 1800’s:
War of 1812, Slavery & Plantations, Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, Frontier Life, Inventors, Gold Rush, Westward Expansion, Statue of Liberty

Scroll down for kids craft ideas for American History from the War of 1812 to the time of Westward Expansion and everything in between.

Some of our other themes for history projects for America in the 1800’s include Civil War ideas for projects, and Abe Lincoln and slavery, as well as pioneer life on the frontier and the Gold Rush.

World History Activities & Crafts

Please e-mail us with any links to add to this collection!

KIDS CRAFTS: America in the 1800’s

War of 1812

All Hands on Deck is a fabulous classroom resource on “Old Ironsides.” Be sure to check out the DVD/Video offered free to teachers (or view it online).

This site offers an entire page of projects related to the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) in particular, as well as sailing in general.

Slavery & Plantations

Demonstrate the value of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin by giving each student a cotton boll so they can experience pulling out all the seeds by hand. Also, hand out a diagram of the cotton gin so they can see how it worked!

Download a Free Activity Book on Harriet Tubman from Animated Hero Classics.

Abraham Lincoln

Make Lincoln’s tall, black stovepipe hat.

Log cabin crafts range from a more difficult cabin to a very simple.

Download a Free Activity Book on Abraham Lincoln from Animated Hero Classics.

Civil War

History Pockets: The American Civil War Evan-Moor. UE
The History Pockets series is a favorite for quick & easy projects! This one has a Fast Facts bookmark, a map to color of the Union vs. Confederate states & territories, a timeline, a North vs. South Answer Mat with Fact Cards, a word search, & a word scramble.

Print and cut out paper Civil War soldiers.

Check out these instructions for a Buckingham Palace guard, and use the same construction ideas to make your own clothespin Civil War soldiers. (Clothespin dolls were popular at the time of the Civil War.)

Paper Dolls are a great way to easily experience how people dressed during the time of the Civil War. The collection from An American Family of the Civil War Era are amazing, and you can download these FREE.

Confederate Rebel Flag of the Civil War
Union Civil War Flag

Make Union & Confederate flags out of colored paper or felt. Note that the Union had a 34-star flag for half of the Civil War, but when West Virginia separated from Virginia, the flag had 35 stars for the remainder of the War. The image shown here has 34 stars.

This history project is for older students to investigate how children handled growing up in the Civil War. The student must become a detective, look at the clues in the original documents provided, and crack the case!    

Frontier Life**

**see AMERICA: 1700’s Crafts on Colonial Life for more ideas!

Try your hand at making candles or a Horn Book or a Quill Pen or a Rag Doll with the easy directions at this site.

Get instructions for a Nettie Doll, which is a rag doll constructed in a similar fashion to cornhusk dolls. Or try your hand at making a Clothespin Doll.

Make a Frontier (Davy Crockett) vest out of a paper bag. Decorate and fringe the edges!


Print out a coloring and activity book on George Washington Carver.

Make a Paddle Steamboat as you study Robert Fulton! Print, cut, and assemble!
Demonstrate the value of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin by giving each student a cotton boll so they can experience pulling out all the seeds by hand. Also, hand out a diagram of the cotton gin so they can see how it worked!

Gold Rush

The kids will love panning for gold! Order a kid’s kit and try it out in your classroom!

Play the Gold Rush Game! Your kids will love this classroom activity.

Westward Expansion**

**see AMERICA: 1800’s Crafts on Frontier Life for more ideas!

History Pockets: Moving West, Grades 4-6+ by Martha Cheney. Evan-Moor.
You will love these books (it’s a series)! This title includes “pockets” on missionaries, Native American struggles, the Oregon Trail, and the Gold Rush. Lots of photocopiable, informative projects to make. Most of the finished products will fit in a notebook.

Print, cut out, & assemble to make a covered wagon with this free pattern (scroll down the page & click the image).

JoAnne Fabrics sells a simple kit, very inexpensively, that makes an impressive Covered Wagon!

Or make Marshmallow Covered Wagons with a graham cracker 1/4 as the base and marshamllows on their sides to make the white, rounded top. The wheels & axles are pretzel sticks and lifesavers OR use chocolate sandwich cookies (i.e. Oreos) as wheels with no axles. Then put another pretzel OR black licorice strands on the front for pulling . Use icing as “glue.” Be creative! If you make one, please send us a picture!

This simple Covered Wagon, or Prairie Schooner, is made from a tissue box.

Darice 9181-24 Wooden Model, Cover Wagon Kit
Or, buy this inexpensive kit, and make a realistic model of a covered wagon out of wood!

Print & assemble your own Pioneer Town, compliments of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. Each building has a brief explanation.

Make “Cousin Ed’s straw hat,” which resembles one that a young boy would have worn on the trail west, or make Grandma Minnie’s Sunbonnet to replicate what a little girl might have worn to protect her from the hot sun on the trail.

Statue of Liberty

Click here to print, cut, and paste together a paper Statue of Liberty (Advanced). Or click here for one that is slightly simpler. This is an attractive, preprinted Liberty Star to cut and fold.

What could be more fun than making a Minnie Mouse Statue of Liberty?! And now you can, complements of Disney, of course! Click here!

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