Exploring Colonial Philadelphia
The second installment of our Book Of The Week, Skuggs: The Patriot Squirrel Who Helped Save America, is set in colonial Philadelphia – the birthplace of America. We’ve gathered digital resources to further explore one of the oldest cities in the country and other fun educational activities for kids.
Once the capital of a young United States, Philadelphia has long been at the center of national change and progress. Read through the following tabs to discover some of Philadelphia’s most famous “firsts”!
United States Flag
Legend has it that Betsy Ross sewed the first version of the “Stars and Stripes.” Her home in historic Philadelphia has been preserved and offers tours so visitors can learn more about Colonial Philadelphia, the first flag, and Betsy Ross’s life.
United States Mint
Since Philadelphia was the capital of the United States of America, the first and oldest United States Mint opened there in 1792. The mint is still operational today, and it actually uses the same process it used 200 years ago! The big difference? Digital technology.
Check out this video tour of coin production at the Philadelphia Mint.
First Bank of the United States
Alexander Hamilton, America’s first treasurer, opened the First Bank of the United States to help stabilize the country’s finances after the Revolutionary War. The bank also handled financial business under the newly ratified US Constitution.
4th of July Celebration
In 1777, ships lined the Delaware River and fired 13 cannon shots to honor the 13 states, celebrating the first anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This set the stage for future Independence Day celebrations that we all know today—just with fireworks instead of cannon shots!
Founded in 1682 by William Penn, Philadelphia was the first city intentionally designed using a grid, outlining wide streets named for numbers and tree species, and five public squares for community gatherings.
Check out this video of drone footage above City Hall, built on the site of Center Square, one of the original five public community spaces.
Junior Rangers in Philadelphia
The National Park Service at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia offers online challenges for Junior Rangers learning and exploring Philadelphia’s history from home. Check out these digital worksheets and activities from NPS.
The Independence Junior Ranger App for your personal device will also provide creative ways to interact with the park virtually, like ringing the Liberty Bell, creating your own seal, and posing for an early American portrait.
Take a virtual tour of present day Philadelphia! From the very beginning, a short video gives viewers a quick glimpse at featured sites and landmarks of historic importance, before allowing you to scroll through them all with 360 degree views.
Support at-home learning with these free park activity sheets.
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