Black History Month commences on February 1st, and understanding how to observe Black History Month with children is crucial for promoting inclusivity and awareness. Learn why it is essential for children, as well as recommendations from educators on how to celebrate as a family with enjoyable activities, service opportunities, educational literature, and more.
During Black History Month, communities around the United States celebrate the history of people of African origin and pay honor to their many accomplishments. Possibly the most essential community members to participate in this annual event? Our children.
Due to the current demand for more racial justice and inclusion, young children must be exposed to diversity. Black history must be researched and commemorated throughout the year, not just in February, to amplify all voices that have impacted our nation. African American history is American history, and when children have a more complete understanding of the past, they will also have a more complete understanding of the present.
Anna Forgerson Hindley, director of early childhood education, and Candra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, provided us with advice on how to teach Black History Month to youngsters. Here are some statistics to get you started, along with inventive family celebration ideas.
When is the next Black History Month?
Traditionally, Black History Month is honored throughout the month of February. Black resistance was the focus of Black History Month in 2022.
Why We Celebrate Black History in February?
Carter G. Woodson, a historian and the founder of the Society for the Study of African American Life and History, launched Negro History Week in 1926 to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. He selected the February week that coincides with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. The observance of African History Week has evolved to encompass the entire month of February.
Understanding the Colors of Black History Month
Strangely, there are no official colors for the yearly Black History Month celebration. Yet, individuals and organizations frequently employ the colors of the Pan-African (or Afro-American) flag throughout the month. This flag’s colors are red, black, and green.
The meaning of the colors was articulated by the Universal Black Improvement Association in the 1920s, and the group has lately revised them. The color red represents the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry and was shed for their liberation; the color black represents Black people, whose existence as a nation, although not a nation-state, is confirmed by the existence of the flag; and the color green represents Africa’s abundant natural wealth.
Children’s Black History Month Activities
To teach children about Black History Month, educational activities are helpful. We compiled several recommendations, ranging from art projects to volunteer initiatives.
Engage in a Creative Art Project
Create a Heart Handprint Sandbox Academy promotes an activity that celebrates the beauty and diversity of different skin tones. Using construction paper in various skin tones, trace and cut out many copies of your child’s hand. Cut out a huge heart shape from butcher paper. Using the butcher paper as a guide, adhere the hands in the form of a heart. Create a wreath from your child’s handprints to honor diversity as the final stage.
Construct a Collage. Many ages of children like making collages. Let children use magazines, internet print-outs, books, or newspapers to cut, place, and glue photos of influential African Americans onto a sheet of poster paper. After viewing films and reading narratives about each figure, children can search for additional items of significance and glue them next to each individual.
Prepare a Special Meal Together
Author Sandye Zdanwic and instructor Sarah Miller suggest researching and preparing traditional meals from mostly Black nations. Family may enjoy preparing lunch together and experimenting with a range of African dishes from South Africa, Nigeria, Haiti, Jamaica, and traditional Southern America.
Examine maps and analyze the origins of various spices and specialized foods. Parents and children can select recipes, shop for ingredients, and prepare meals together. Discussing the histories of these meals makes for a terrific dinner conversation with your children and is a novel method to teach them vital cooking skills.
Give or Volunteer as a Family
Consider donating to national organizations, such as Black Lives Matter, the Equal Justice Initiative, or the Center for Police Equality, or to local organizations in your community that are committed to reducing inequality. Evite Donations makes it very simple to organize an online fundraiser.
Co-Watch a Television Series
Make the most of February’s screen time by setting up one night per week to watch an episode of one of the following series for children that explore Black culture:
- Start the Sankofa Read Alouds videos Readings on YouTube
- Watch the Honoring Black Voices: Bookmarks series on Netflix.
- Watch the episodes on George Washington Carver, Maya Angelou, Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Arthur Ashe, Jesse Owens, Thurgood Marshall, Wilma Rudolph, and Ella Fitzgerald on PBS.
More Educational Resources for Teaching African History to Children
You can also include more of your child’s most important school lessons in his or her day. Black history-related online resources for parents and teachers are many, ranging from downloaded worksheets to interactive activities. Here are some of our preferred locations to find them:
Communicating About Race, Early Childhood Education, and Teaching and Learning. National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
Use the educational tools provided by Teaching for Change, an organization that encourages teachers, parents, and students to examine and rethink the world in and out of the classroom, construct a more fair and multicultural society, and become active global citizens.
Because of Them We Can, a campaign designed by Eunique Jones to convey images of Black heritage and the culture’s bright future. It also debunks stereotypes and increases children’s self-esteem, confidence, and sense of belonging.
Meaningful articles you might like: Facts About Black History Every Parent and Child Should Know, It’s Not An Option To Ignore Black History Month, 5 Black History-Inspired Family Vacations