Presidents Day Activities for Elementary and Middle School
President’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the contributions that our Presidents have made in the history of the United States. Through President’s Day, children can learn about our rich political heritage and the democratic process that has shaped our nation.
The History of President’s Day
Did you know that this Holiday was originally intended to celebrate President Washington’s birthday on February 22nd? To honor both great presidents and their legacies, many states celebrate this day as “Washington and Lincoln Day,” recognizing George Washington, born on February 22nd, and Abraham Lincoln, born 12 days earlier on February 12th.
The President’s Day National Committee was established in 1951 with the purpose of honoring the entirety of the American presidency. It wasn’t until the 80s that it became known as President’s Day due to advertisers’ pressure for a shorter and more marketable name.
In 1971 this day began being celebrated on every third Monday in February thanks to The Uniform Holiday Act- making aiming for more extended three-day weekends possible. Consequently, Presidents’ Day does not land solely on either Washington or Lincoln’s birthdays anymore.
Fun Facts About US Presidents
- President Abraham Lincoln was the first President to be born outside of the 13 original U.S. colonies.
- President John F. Kennedy was the youngest President to be elected in the United States.
- Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States, is often held accountable for popularizing the term “OK.”
- President George Washington was the only President to be unanimously elected by an Electoral College vote.
- President Bill Clinton set the precedent for digital presence in 1994 when he launched The White House’s first website.
Elementary and middle school students can celebrate President’s Day through engaging activities, including researching a past President or making a President’s Day craft. These activities can help students learn more about presidents and appreciate their significance in our history.
President’s Day Activities for Kids
1. Create your own mini-presidents
Print out photos of the children and add neckpieces, hats, and bow ties. Recreate George Washington’s hairdo with cotton or give them an Abraham Lincoln top hat for extra effect. Finally, have the kids write their own “presidential” plan about what kinds of things they would do if they were elected as president. It’s such a creative way to get youngsters involved in important conversations.
2. Guess who I am?
Let your kids discover the presidents by compiling a list of descriptions of the presidents or interesting facts about their lives, then each time you read one aloud, the kids can guess which president is being described – whoever gets the most correct will earn a prize! This is an excellent way to get young minds engaged with facts about our US history and provides them with incentives for learning more while having some quality family time too.
3. Celebrate President’s Day with Cherry Day
Inspire your children to explore history by recounting one of George Washington’s most famous tales—his honesty and integrity when faced with a difficult situation: cutting down his father’s cherry tree and not lying about it afterward. After that, encourage their creativity with fun art projects like crafting their own cherry tree masterpieces or cooking up a delicious batch of homemade cherry pies together! Eating cherries as you chat is also an enjoyable way for families to bond over history lessons.
4. Cracker Log Cabins
Introduce your children to the incredible story about the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Discuss his humble beginnings as a child living in a log cabin and how he developed an affinity for reading books. Then let their creativity run wild by giving them some crackers and peanut butter to create their own miniature log cabins. Not only will they have the opportunity to get creative with different building techniques, but this project can be used together as family bonding time too!
At Beth Emet School, we celebrate our country’s history, as well as an appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and remember those who have helped make it what it is today.