The Thirteen Colonies: American History for Kids

We made a list detailing when/who/where and why some of the early American colonies were started and made a brochure to entice 17th century Europeans to settle in the new world.

Money and religion were the main reasons most of the American colonies were founded. However, most of the colonies founded for religious reasons were not formed on the basis of freedom of religion as we know it today. Contrarily, they were formed with the idea that the founders religion would be the law of the land. Anyone living in the territory would be forced to follow a particular religion and all of that religion's laws.

1. 1607 - The London company from England established colonies in Virginia as a place to send the homeless and criminals.
2. 1620-30 - The Pilgrims established a settlement at Plymouth and the Puritans established a settlement in Boston (The Massachusetts Bay Colony). Both sought religious freedom for themselves ensuring anyone living in their colonies would follow their religious rules.
3. 1623 - The Dutch West India Company established a settlement on Manhattan in hopes of profits from farming and fur trade.
4. 1636 - Roger Williams established a settlement at Rhode Island allowing freedom of religion. It was a haven for Quakers and Jews who had been persecuted.
5. 1681 - William Penn was a Quaker who established Pennsylvania. It was the first true colony to honor freedom of religion as we know it today. He even provided equal treatment for Indians.

The book USKids - The American Colonies is a great book to introduce children to the settlement of America. We used this as our spine book reading a few pages each day while studying the history of Early America. In addition to being introduced to historical people, there were several historical fiction stories and activity ideas included within the book.

Brochure - Come to America

After learning about some of the early colonies, my daughter created a brochure to entice Europeans to settle in the New World.

Her brochure shows an illustration of tobacco farming which was a profitable crop raised by early American settlers in the Virginia area.

Story of William Penn by Aliki - William Penn was a Quaker - A peaceful man who was given land in America by the King of England as payment for a debt. His land turned into the State of Pennsylvania and this simple story tells how he promoted peace between the Natives and European settlers.

Dutch Cookies

Many of the settlers who came to America brought along their favorite recipes. While learning about the Dutch founding of New York my daughter made Dutch sugar cookies.

Check out these great blog hops for more educational activity ideas.


  1. This is a great post. I am going to use your ideas once we actually get to the colonies! Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  2. This is a great post. I am going to use your ideas once we actually get to the colonies! Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  3. Thanks for the tips. We will be studying this soon. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.


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