Celebrating Black History Month doesn’t begin and end in February. It is a year-round acknowledgment of Black history, achievements, and contributions that should be celebrated 365 days a year. As a Black parent, it’s important for me and my husband to honor to teach the importance of black history and culture so that our children can know who they are and where they come from. I’m sure you feel the same way. There is no one way to learn about Black history, and what I’ve done in this post is list a few fun learning activities that your children, no matter their age, will enjoy partaking in no matter what month of the year it is.
Why do we celebrate Black History Month in February?
Speaking of Black History Month, this celebration wasn’t always a month long. In fact, back in 1926 the Association for the Study of African American Life and History founder Dr. Carter G. Woodson first established “Negro History Week” during the second week of February. The reason that week was chosen was that it encompassed the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both of whom are considered great American symbols of freedom.
During the mid-1960s, college students demanded courses on African Americans and led protests demanding Black Studies Departments. There were also calls doe extending the “Negro History Wee”, and in February 1976 we celebrated the first-ever month-long Black History Month. Then in 1986, it was made official when U.S. Congress designated the month of February as “National Black History Month. In 1986, the Presidential Proclamation 5443 noted that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity.” Additionally, 1986 was also the first year of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday.
Now that you’re more familiar with the origins of Black History Month, let’s take a look at some Black History activities children of all ages can enjoy all year long.
Quote of the day: Start your children’s day off with a new quote regarding Black history. You can either say the quotes aloud or post them up where your child can see and recite it on their own. You can follow that up with an open discussion about the relevance of the quote. You can your children can take turns coming up with the next day’s quote. To get you started here are 120 Black history quotes.
Legend of the week: Take your quote of the day activity to the next level by having a Legend of the Week. This is a person who you will honor for the week by taking the time to learn more about who they are, their background, what they accomplished, and how they inspire your child and family. There are so many people, past and present, across so many categories from politicians, filmmakers, historical figures, heroes and leaders, scientists and mathematicians, artists, writers, athletes, and activists that it’ll be easy to choose a new person each week to honor at home.
Talk about the Black Lives Matter movement: It’s never too early to start talking to our children about the Black Lives Matter movement. Of course, depending on your child’s age you will alter the conversation for their understanding. The BLM website, tells the history of the movement which was started by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2013 in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman. You can talk to your children about the meaning behind the movement and what it means to Black people. Let them make their own signs to hang in their room or around the house.
Create their own newsletter or magazine: For older children, they can make a monthly newsletter or magazine that can be sent to their friends or other classmates as a way to spread important information and knowledge. They can also add poems or short stories that are written by black authors, as well as include original works from their schoolmates. They can look to user-friendly programs like Canva and Mailchimp to create and digitally distribute their content.
Virtually visit Black history exhibits: Don’t let the pandemic closures keep you from stepping back in time. Safely from your home, you can visit a number of virtual Black history exhibits. Tykesha Burton of Momma Wanderlust did a wonderful job of compiling a list of museums your children can visit, and because they’re online they can go back as many times as they would like any time they want.
Host a poem reading session: This is one your child can do virtually with their entire class. Choose a poem written by a Black poet or they can create an original work to recite for everyone. The reader can set the tone for their piece by changing their background, dressing up, dimming lights, and even adding a musical background.
Black history activities: Depending on the age of your child you can make your own DIY games that make learning fun and interesting. You can use note cards and play a round of jeopardy, create your own matching game, or make a word search. Additionally, there are playing cards, writing prompts, and journals for older children.
Black America 52 Great African Americans Hero Deck Playing Cards
Urban Intellectuals Black History Flashcards: Women
Fill in the Blank Black History Biography Journal
Black History Writing Prompts for Kids
Create a Black history timeline poster: Let the kids put together their own Black history timeline poster. Let them focus on specific historical events or people and create a timeline of events. Children will not only learn a lot along the way it will also allow their creative juices to flow as they design a poster that reflects their vision of historical events.
These Black history activities will help your children to learn about who they are and the importance of celebrating Black history year-round.
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