February is Black History Month, an opportunity to talk with children about race and civil rights, as well as the heritage, accomplishments, and culture of African Americans.
1. Read a Book
Spark a conversation by reading children’s books that highlight our nation’s African American heroes and their achievements. Here are a few inspiring selections:
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., By Doreen Rappaport
An introduction to Dr. King’s life and message, this picture book pairs age-appropriate educational material with beautiful images.
The Story of Ruby Bridges, By Robert Coles
The inspiring story of a courageous 6-year old girl who helped shape US history by being the first African American child to go to an all-white school.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, By Kadir Nelson
This gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of the African American baseball league and the challenges they overcame to pursue their passion.
2. Play a Game
Sam and Sofia learned to play Mancala, a counting game that originated in Africa and is now popular all over the world!
DIY Activity: It’s easy to make your own Mancala board! Simply get an empty egg carton with 12 small “pits,” trim off the sides, and decorate it with markers or paint. Get two containers (such as bowls) and place one at each end of the egg carton as the “banks,” where players collect their winnings. For the “stones,” you can use small items, such as marbles, beans, or even candy! For detailed rules on how to play, click here: How to Play Mancala
3. Take a Trip
Visit a landmark, attraction, or museum, celebrating black history. An interactive and engaging field trip is a great way to capture a child’s interest! Here are some ideas:
• Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial (Washington, D.C.)
• Booker T. Washington National Monument (Franklin County, Virginia)
• Tuskegee Airmen National Museum (Detroit, MI)
• Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience (Permanent exhibition at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, NY)
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