By Ángela Padrón
Every February, people in the U.S. “hail to the chief” and celebrate President’s Day. Since George Washington is considered the “father of the U.S.”, President’s Day began in 1885 to recognize his contributions to the country. It was originally celebrated on February 22, which is Washington’s actual birthday. President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was also celebrated in February. In 1971, the days were combined and Presidents’ Day was designated as the third Monday in February.
In some places today, patriotic and historical groups reenact certain events in history. There are parades, fireworks, and celebrations around the country. In many schools, students learn about the lives and work of Washington and Lincoln but also the accomplishments of all of the U.S. presidents.
There are many fun activities that students and families can do on President’s Day:
- Have students place the names of the presidents in proper order to teach about ordinal numbers
- Assign each student a president to research and present a project or Power Point to the class
- Hold a “wax museum” where each student dresses up like a former president and stands next to a display board with information they gathered about that president
- Have students campaign to be class president and hold an election
- Compare and contrast different presidents throughout history, including their appearances and their accomplishments
- Write a resume for a president, listing the qualifications and qualities necessary to be an effective president
- Have students write an opinion essay stating which president is their favorite and why
- Look at different U.S. coins, U.S. cities and streets, and landmarks named after presidents. Discuss why students think these presidents were chosen to be represented on these items
- Have students research the different pets that presidents had throughout history. Then have students write a story about being president and tell what pet they would have.
No matter which activities you choose, presidential history is filled with many interesting facts and information for kids to enjoy.