February is Black History Month. Much of the history in school books focuses on accomplishments by those who are Caucasian. Only a few prominent figures who happened to be black are recognized as children learn about those who made the United States what it is today. Black History Month gives teachers a chance to highlight more than just the few that make it into the history books. Creating crafts is a fun way to help children learn that people of all races and colors help make form the history of America.
Historical figures collage
Pick as many people that contributed to black history as desired. This can be ten for younger children or one hundred for older children. Throughout the month, learn about each figure and print out pictures. Have the student cut out the pictures so that only the heads are showing without any background. Younger children may need help as their kinds become tired. Using a glue stick, glue each picture on to a piece of poster board. Smaller pictures will need to printed out if using a large amount.
Make a stamp
This activity is great for young children. Print out a few pictures of people the student has learned about. Cut one piece of construction paper for each picture. Glue the picture onto the construction paper. Help the student cut a scalloped edge around the picture to make it look like a stamp. The borders can be decorated or colored as desired. Have the student write the person’s name across the front of the stamp and a fact they remember about each person on the back of the stamp. These can be small or large depending on the abilities of the children.
Thirty days in the month of February provides thirty opportunities to learn about the contributions made by black people. Using a half sheet of paper for younger children and a whole sheet of paper for older students, have them number thirty pages. Each page will represent a day of the month. As the students learn about important inventions or contributions each day, have them write about it on their calendar page. Young children need only to write a couple of sentences. Older children should be able to write a few paragraphs or an essay about the contribution and why it was important. At the end of the month, staple the pages together. The child now has a calendar they can refer to at any time of the year to remind them that everyone is important and not just during the month of February.
A great way to help children relate to other people or cultures is through food. It’s something we all enjoy and it’s fun to learn what foods other people eat. Do some research ahead of time to prepare a few simple recipes for the students to taste. Other parents could contribute to preparing the foods and make it a family day to experience new tastes. As much as possible, leave some of the preparation for the children to help with, either at home or in the classroom. To demonstrate one of the freedoms that African Americans struggled to receive, have the children vote on their favorite flavor.
It is important that children understand history is much bigger than what they see in school books. Learning that a country is made up of many different types of people that work together to make a difference is beneficial because it helps fight prejudices. Relating to other cultures instead of looking for differences is fun and easy when incorporating crafts.