Learn about Influential Leaders for Black History Month
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February is Black History Month—a time to honor African Americans throughout U.S. history as well as influencer black leaders. When we celebrate these leaders, we learn how they helped shape our country as it is today. These black history month lessons and activities will inspire children to learn about black leaders and to better understand black history. Celebrate the inventions and contributions of African Americans in history. Try a black history month craft activity that helps you and your child learn more about Bessie Coleman or George Washington Carver. Listen to the music and speeches of important black figures in history. This list of black history month activities for kids is perfect for celebrating with your child all month long!
5 Black History Month Activities for Kids
Choose an influencer black leader and do a corresponding craft activity.
Begin this activity by learning about different influential leaders. Bessie Coleman was the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license and fly an airplane in the 1920’s. Barack Obama was the first black U.S. president. Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960. George Washington Carver was born in 1864 and became an agricultural scientist and inventor. In 1894 he became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. He came up with a crop rotation technique for farmers and invented multiple uses for sweet potatoes (like flour and vinegar) and peanuts. For his innovative ideas about using peanuts, he became known as “The Peanut Man.” Oprah Winfrey because the first black female billionaire, as well as a talk show host, entrepreneur, activist, actress and producer.
There are so many people to learn about! Try choosing a new person every week of February and then do a corresponding craft activity. For example, build your own paper airplane after learning about Bessie Coleman. Learn about George W. Carver and then experiment in the kitchen. See what you can make out of peanuts or peanut butter! For preschool or kindergarten kids, make some edible peanut butter playdough! Mix 1 cup peanut butter, 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar, and ½ cup honey and then put in the fridge to cool and harden. If you learn about Oprah Winfrey, come up with your own talk show. Draw a poster board advertising your show, craft your own microphone, and decide what important topics you want to discuss. Think about how you could make a difference with your show. How can you help people? What would be important or impactful to talk about? Then act out your talk show to family members!
Host a music festival where you learn about black history songs and music.
A huge part of black history month is music. Start by learning about slave songs, blues, and jazz. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th century, while jazz originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The most common form of blues is the 12-bar blues. Listen to a variety of blues (including 12-bar blues) and jazz songs and learn about the musicians. Louis Armstrong was an important black musician in the 1920’s. He was an inventive jazz music player with the trumpet and coronet. Celebrate this incredible musician and try making your own instrument to play along to some of his music!
Take a virtual field trip at a museum.
Learn about black history at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. While you may not be able to visit in person, you can explore different collections online. Explore different exhibitions and view objects on display. Here you can read about stories and contributions of African Americans throughout history. The museum website also has a page to help parents talk about race with their children. Take a virtual, educational tour through the museum and see how much you can learn!
Create an art gallery wall of black leaders, musicians, and artists.
Draw and color portraits of important African Americans throughout history. When your child learns about an influential leader or musician, have them draw a portrait and then tape it to their bedroom wall or living space. Do this throughout February and create a colorful art display that celebrates black history month!
Inspire kids with children’s storybooks.
Hold a children’s book storytime with books about racism, diversity, and inclusion. Children’s books can introduce new perspectives and ideas. They are also great tools to teach children that differences are beautiful. Help your child build compassion and empathy for others with children’s books. You can also put your child into the story with personalized children’s books. A book like I Can Change The World can empower young children to show kindness to everyone and perform acts great and small to make a difference in the world. Other books encourage children to emphasize certain traits such as kindness and caring. The alphabet book M is for Me aligns each letter with a positive trait that children can aspire to be such as F for friendly, H for helpful, and L for loyal. Enjoy storytime on weekends or at bedtime and help your child grow into a compassionate and thoughtful adult.