"Home" Work: Educational Activities from the NYSM that You Can Do from Home!

Enjoy Learning about Maritime Art!

In 1609, when Henry Hudson’s ship, de Halve Maen (the Half Moon), dropped anchor near present-day Manhattan, two very different worlds met. One was the world of the Dutch Republic, a new country created from bitter conflict and new economic realities. The other was the world of Native Americans, people whose ancestors had lived along the “Great River” for thousands of years. This meeting would change both worlds in profound ways. It would also produce many of the ideas and values that define us as Americans.

Learn more about the journey of the Half Moon (de Halve Maen) and what life was like for the sailors aboard. Introduce your kids to basic nautical vocabulary with games and activities! Have students


The Halve Maen: It was 85 feet in length—an impossibly small-seeming vessel for crossing an ocean—and must have been crowded for its 16 or so crew members. Can you measure out 85 feet?

Captains Coming! This is a great game to learn some basic ship vocabulary and get some energy out. This game is best played in an open space. Same rules as Simon Says. Explain to the crew (kids) that they are on a ship and that the crew will need to follow certain instructions. Point out the 4 sides of the ship that the crew will need to know (bow, stern, port, and starboard). Have the caller practice with the crew running to those 4 directions. Now, give the crew other instructions that they will need to follow. The most important rule—when the caller yells “Captain’s Coming!” the crew must stand at attention and they are not allowed to move until the caller says “at ease”—anyone that moves is out for that round. Optional instructions include: Raise the Sail (pretend to hoist the sail), Rowboat (sit on the ground and pretend to row away), Seasick (run to the side of the ship), Jellyfish (get on the ground and shake your arms and legs in the air). Or make up your own rules!

Try to draw a sailing ship—can you identify the parts of the boat?

Below are two NYSM videos aboard the Half Moon replica.