Junior Ranger Challenge - Be a Settler

The Dutch, Swedes, and Finns traveled across the North Atlantic Ocean and settled along the Delaware River and Bay in Delaware. Upon arrival they built forts, like the one pictured below, to protect them against rivals. The Swedes and the Dutch fought for control of the area but it was ultimately the English who gained ownership of the land.

A birds eye view of a miniature fort.

Your challenge: Create a Fort for your Settlement


  1. Make a list of items and supplies that you need to have within, or nearby, your fort for your community to survive. For example some items may include: fresh water, lumber/wood, and food sources like fruit, vegetables, meat.
  2. Draw your fort on a separate piece of paper, but make sure leave space to include the items from your list.
  3. Name your fort and draw your unique flag on it. (You can choose any country you would like, or you can make your own flag).

BONUS! Listen Up.

The Swedes, Dutch, and Finns did not come to the New World empty handed. They filled their ships with people that had necessary skills needed to survive, and brought supplies and trade goods that would allow them to sail across the Atlantic, build homes, grow food, and trade with the native population to make a profit. However, they needed to choose wisely because their ships could only hold so much weight.


  1. Think about what items you would need to bring with you from your homeland to trade, or what tools you would need to construct your fort. What skilled tradesmen or jobs would you bring with you on your ship to help start and protect your community?
  2. Create a list of your top 3 most important items and top 3 most important trades/jobs and explain why.

Learn More

Visit the Ryves Holt House, Fort Christina, Old Swedes Church or the New Castle Court House to learn more about settlements in the Delaware Valley, or explore the ruins at Beaver Valley with your family. Visit the forts page to learn more about how forts were used across the nation.


Last updated: June 10, 2020

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Mailing Address:

New Castle Court House Museum
Attn: First State NHP
211 Delaware Street

New Castle, DE 19720


(302) 544-6363
This phone number is not staffed. You can leave a message on the park's main phone number (302-544-6363) and we will return your call as soon as possible. If you are visiting one of the seven sites, and need specific information, please refer to the "Places to Go" page for phone numbers and addresses of each site.

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