February means a return of all the classic Black History Month activities at school, but there’s so much more you can do to teach your kids about our history than a coloring sheet of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. From crafts to recipes, these activities will engage your children and make history come alive.
4. Make these spaghetti brooms or this bookmark broom craft. Then read Jumping the Broom by Sonia W. Black to teach your child about this African American tradition. When we read this story to our daughter, we also looked through our wedding photos and shared pictures of mommy and daddy jumping the broom.
5. Follow this tutorial by making a paper version of Kente Cloth. Complement this activity by reading Kente Colors by Debbie Chocolate or The Spider Weaver: A Legend Of Kente Cloth by Margaret Musgrove. In the March 2014 issue of Ladybug magazine, there is a tear out craft for children to make a Kente Cloth picture frame, as well as a short story that gives some cultural context for Kente cloth. See if your local library subscribes to it or look into ordering a back issue. For students in grades 3-5 The Brooklyn Children’s Museum has a wonderful list of activities centered around African Textiles.
6. George Washington Carver is famous for creating products based off the peanut, but he also researched soybeans, cotton, and sweet potatoes. Try growing a sweet potato with your child and watch it sprout. Make African Peanut Soup or homemade peanut butter. While you are participating in these activities, use your five senses and describe the texture of the shelled peanuts or potato skin. Explain that Carver was a scientist and tell them about the observation skills scientist use.
7. Create a DIY stamp while learning about W. B. Purvis who invented and patented improvements to the fountain pen, two machines for making paper bags, a bag fastener, a self-inking hand stamp, and several devices for electric railroads.
8. Play dress up! Choose an African American history maker and dress up your child like that person. Need some inspiration? Check out Enuique Jones’s Because of them We Can campaign. Her youtube page and facebook are filled with images of precious children dressed up as famous and lesser known Black history trail blazers.
9. Be inspired by reading this Essence.com’s slide show of how celebrity moms teach their kids about our history and culture.
Mommies, how to you teach Black history and culture to your children? Are there other ideas you would add to this list? Please share.