General American Topics; Incas, Aztecs, Mayans; and Early Explorers

American History Activities, pre-1600s:  Incas Aztecs Mayans, Early Explorers

Need a history activity to go along with your pre-1600-era theme? Find lots of suggestions here on general American topics, as well as other topics before the 1600’s in the U.S.

This includes the early civilizations of the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans, as well as most of the early explorers of the New World. And the best part is that most of our listings are FREE history crafts for kids!

World History Activities & Crafts

History Activities, America: General Topics


Click here for nicely detailed coloring pages of all American presidents through George W. Bush. For an updated, current list, click here, but these pictures do not have as much detail.

3-D Maps to Make

Interactive 3-D Maps: American History: Easy-to-Assemble 3-D Maps That Students Make and Manipulate to Learn Key Facts and Concepts–in a Kinesthetic Way! by Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne. Scholastic, 2005.
Reproducible activities to illustrate important events.

Other Topics

Celebrate the 4th of July with these patriotic craft ideas from Artists Helping Children.

Professor Noggin’s History of the United States Card Game

History Activities, Early America

Incas, Aztecs, Mayans

Make a South American rain stick. Although these can now be attributed to various South American countries, they are believed to have originated with the Aztecs in Mexico and made from cactus.

What a great excuse to drink hot chocoloate in school! This was a popular Aztec beverage, although made quite like ours today. See a more authentic recipe here.

These coloring pages on the Ancient Aztecs are phenomenal!

Experience the art of the Inca by making a foil tooling mask.

Woven baskets were a staple for many early American cultures, including the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayas, and we have 2 great basket ideas to share. First, try weaving with yarn and a yogurt container (pictured at left).

The coil basket does not involve weaving. This coil basket craft is for older students, and Dick Blick Art gives the best and easiest instructions I could find. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I’m thinking if you used a plastic cup under the coils as you glue (after you make your bottom base), you could even use this technique for younger kids, too.

Native Americans/American Indians

Our Native American crafts are on this page!

Early Explorers

Find a great coloring page of one of Columbus’ ships at this link.

History Pockets

History Pockets, Explorers of North America, Grades 4-6
You will love these books (it’s a series)!
Lots of photocopiable, informative projects to make.
Most of the finished products will fit in a notebook.

Download the DeSoto Activity Book from the DeSoto National Memorial Park. Some of the activities might be park-specific, but the majority of it is full of fun, well-illustrated, engaging activities for learning the history of DeSoto’s exploration and discovery of Florida in 1539.

Hands-On America Vol. 1: Art Activities About Vikings, Explorers, Woodland Indians and Colonial Life by Yvonne Young Merrill, illus. Mary Simpson. Kits Publishing, 2001. E-JH
Projects are based on authentic artifacts! Download a Free Activity Book on Christopher Columbus from Animated Hero Classics.

Professor Noggin’s Explorers Card Game

Make a Spanish Galleon out of a milk carton.

Back to the main American Crafts page

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