K-2 Activities

Ideas to try....

Science and Technology

If sailing vessels were still the best means of transportation and communication, where would you choose to live? How did communities change when sailing vessels were no longer the best means of transportation, and you could now go everywhere by automobile? Discuss the effect of other technology changes on communities and where people live.

Water is fundamental to life. Where do you get your drinking water and how do you protect it? Note how people settling in the 18th and 19th centuries tried to live close to good drinking water resources.

 English Language Arts

Write (or dictate) simple journal entries based on an imaginary day ashore or at sea, choosing a role and a location.  They could pretend to write a letter to a sibling or cousin who is at sea, describing their community at home.


Learn about foods of maritime Maine in the 19th century. Prepare a meal in class using only things that were easily available 150 years ago.  Write recipes or give directions orally. Where do some of our daily foods come from? How was food different on board ship from food eaten in towns around the Bay in the same era? What foods do we enjoy today that were not available 150 years ago?


The sailmaker in the maritime community must measure the canvas carefully before he cuts and sews the sails. Draw a sailing ship and note the sizes and shapes of different sails. How do the sails make the ship move? The shipbuilder uses many different kinds of wood. Compare samples of different woods.


What roles did maritime towns play in getting ships ready to sail? What occupations were necessary for the construction and outfitting of a sailing vessel: for a voyage to the West Indies; for a month-long fishing voyage; for a day-long fishing trip? How do you prepare the family for the voyage?

How did the lives of boys and girls differ in the 19th century? Was it any different aboard ship than on shore? Compare education and play. As adults, how did the roles of men and women differ? What was expected of wives and mothers who went to sea or stayed at home when the husband was at sea?

Think of a children’s activity that might have taken place at home in the 19th century—hoop rolling, making a model boat, or tying knots. Write directions, then exchange with partner to read and follow.


Put together a list of items you think you could buy in a general store 150 years ago. How many of those items would be made or grown locally and how many would be bought from far away? How would those items get brought to the store? How would you pay for your purchases?


Look at a map of your community. Where are the water sources? Where are power sources? Where are means of transportation and communication? What other resources are in your community?

Learn more about countries and cities that were visited by Maine families. Pretend you arrive in China or another port. What would you find there? How would you communicate? How might foreign communities be similar to or different from our home communities?