On December 7, 2017, the state of Delaware will celebrate its 230th anniversary as part of the United States. In fact, it was the very first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. But this is only one of the many interesting pieces of information that your homeschoolers will find out in this unit study. We’ll be exploring the “First State” by pointing out some of the important historical facts about Delaware, some Delaware trivia that may surprise your students, and even some fun things for children to do in Delaware.
You’ll also enjoy our collection of online Delaware learning games which will challenge your homeschoolers to test what they’ve learned via interactive play. This particular unit study can be used as part of your geography and/or history lessons, or just a neat supplement to your regular schedule. View relevant lessons per grade level for this unit study. Are you ready to learn more about this tiny state with a big history? Then let’s get this unit study started!
Delaware Fast Facts
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Historical Facts About Delaware
The history of Delaware is a lengthy one. It begins, when in 1610, explorer Samuel Argall named the river and the bay of the area after the governor of Virginia, Thomas West, Lord De La Warr. Later, it became one of the original thirteen British colonies established in 1664. Let’s look at some fun facts about the colony of Delaware.
- The first European settlers of the area were the Swedes and the Dutch.
- Dutch and Swedish rule ended when the British conquered the area in 1664.
- Legend has it that the Stars and Stripes first flew here during a Revolutionary War battle at Cooch’s Bridge in 1777.
- Also in 1777, Dover became the capital of the state.
- It became a state on December 7, 1787.
- It got its nickname as “First State” because it was the first of the thirteen original colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
But statehood was only the beginning for Delaware. Here are some more Delaware state facts you can share with your children.
- The Delaware city of Lewes was bombed by the British in the War of 1812.
- The first public schools in the state were created in 1829.
- Delaware remained in the Union during the Civil War, however when the 13th amendment was created to abolish slavery in 1865, Delaware voted against it.
- Between 1883 and 1886, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad extended throughout Delaware.
- Between 1911 and 1924, Delaware added a highway that ran the length of the state.
- In 1920, Delaware rejected the passage of a women’s suffrage amendment.
- Over 40,000 Delawareans served in World Wars I and II.
- The Delaware Memorial Bridge, that links the state with New Jersey, was built in 1951.
- E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. was the state’s largest employer from the early 1900s through the 1990s.
- Delaware’s first female governor, Ruth Ann Minner, was elected in 2000.
Geographical Facts About Delaware
While the diamond state’s history is rich, you’ll want to make sure to cover important facts about Delaware’s geography with your children, too. Here are just some of the things you may want to explore and mark on your map.
- Delaware is the second smallest state (after Rhode Island.)
- Despite being so small, Delaware is the sixth most densely populated state.
- Much of the state is surrounded by water, with the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River, and the Delaware Bay all sharing parts of its boundary.
- Delaware occupies most of the Delmarva Peninsula, a large peninsula on the upper East Coast of the U.S.
- There are three state forests in Delaware: Blackbird, Taber, and Redden.
- The southern border of the state contains over 30,000 acres of swampland.
- Delaware has only three counties.
Delaware State Map
Download our FREE Delaware state map printable. Use it as a coloring page or use it to plot the state’s geographical features.
Activities for Children in Delaware
There is no better way to enliven a unit study than with hands-on learning! Do you live in Delaware? Or perhaps you will be traveling to the state in the near future? Homeschooling families looking for educational field trip ideas will discover plenty of things for children to do in Delaware. When planning your trip to Delaware make sure to enhance the experience for your children with these enriching activities that will surely help them absorb more knowledge on the Diamond State.
- Ashland Nature Center (Hockessin) — 130 acres of natural landscape for learning and playing. Nature trails will wind you through marsh, woodlands, meadows, and alongside a creek. In addition, there are many educational opportunities for homeschoolers such as a Young Naturalist Club, Young Waterfowlers Club, and nature clubs for preschoolers.
- Delaware Children’s Museum (Wilmington) — a giant learning playground for students. Homeschoolers will learn about everything from the human body to ecology to banking at the state’s only children’s museum.
- Hagley Museum and Library (Wilmington) — the site of the original gunpowder works founded by E.I. du Pont in 1801. This memorial to industry and innovation includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits such as restored mills, a workers’ community, and the original home and gardens of the du Pont family.
- Historic Odessa (Odessa) — historic village that played an important role in the 18th century commercial life of the state. There are guided tours of the properties, or you can explore on your own to see striking displays of the architecture and grounds.
- The St. Jones Reserve (Dover) — a natural estuary filled with hiking trails and interactive exhibits. Your homeschool students will enjoy a ¼ mile jaunt on a boardwalk over the salt marsh, as well as the restoration demonstration areas.
For additional field trip options in Delaware, visit A2Z Homeschooling’s Delaware Field Trips with Kids page.
Delaware Freebies and Deals for Homeschoolers
- The Delaware Contemporary (Wilmington) — this art museum offers FREE admission, and it features “Free Family Sundays,” a guided art exploration for children and parents.
- Air Mobility Command Museum (Dover)— a great place to learn about the history of the Air Force, and Dover AFB in particular. Museum admission is completely FREE and students 10 and older will even have an opportunity to fly any of the museum aircraft on a flight simulator.
- Seaside Nature Center (Lewes) — as if five 1,000 gallon fish tanks and a touch tank filled with local wildlife weren’t enough to convince you to visit this destination, there is no cost for this educational outing! Plus, it is also part of the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park’s free borrow-a-bike program.
- Woodburn, the Governor’s Residence (Dover) — although you’ll need to schedule them at least 24 hours in advance, tours of Woodburn are free to the public. The home was built in 1798 and has an incredibly diverse history attached to it.
- Port Penn Interpretive Center (Port Penn) — this state park is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year and features exhibits that highlight the folklife of the 250 year old village. FREE admission.
Delaware Learning Games for Children
Want to extend your Delaware unit study even farther? The following learning resources will introduce you to even more fun facts about Delaware and will also give your homeschoolers the opportunity to test their knowledge of what they’ve learned so far.