Four activities for young children created by Scherrie Donaldson, home-schooling mom of three & Founder of Thirtymommy.com.
I had the pleasure of meeting Scherrie Donaldson, home-schooling mom of three & Founder of Thirtymommy.com, at a bloggers event in NYC where we became instant friends. I was so impressed with the stories she told of her three boys who all play concert violin, and how as an educator, she chose to take ownership of her boys' education and home-school them herself. Beyond her impressive mothering skills, she is such a fun and genuine person! We laughed NON-STOP the first evening we met, and have made it a point to visit each other about once a month. She lives in Brooklyn, but I am always trying to convince her to move to Jersey City!
For February, I really wanted to honor Black History Month and wondered how I could teach my young daughter about great African American individuals in history. I turned to Scherrie because I knew she would have some really cool lesson plans drawn up for her boys. Also, her boys range in age from 2 - 8 so her lessons are are great for toddlers to older children.
So without further ado, here are Scherrie's fun activities to teach your children about inspiring and important leaders in our nation's history.
1. Get to Know Martin Luther King Jr. (more detail can be found in Scherrie's original post linked here.)
This Martin Luther King Jr. Collage craft is a great way to begin the discussion about Civil Rights with children of all ages. First, talk to your little scholars about who Martin Luther King Jr. was and how he fought for African-American equality during the 1960’s. Discuss how he led non-violent boycotts and marches, and inspired many people through his speeches. Then ask your children to come up with words that they would use to describe Martin Luther King Jr & what he stood for.
- Download & print this free Crayola Martin Luther King Jr. coloring page!
- Look through magazines together and pick out words that you can use to to add to the collage. (This is a great time to talk about what unfamiliar words mean.)
- Cut out the words from the magazines, use a glue stick to add the words to the coloring page.
- If you have a laminator at home, laminate the page. Or bring it to a nearby copy shop for laminating. This is a great way to show how much you care about this craft, and they can use as a placemat for snacks to remember MLK throughout the year!
2. A Tribute to African American Jazz
- Spend an afternoon listening to the classics: Charlie Parker, Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, or Bill Bojangles are all great artists to start with. You can use Pandora to search by artist name and begin a playlist. Ask your little one to sing along and dance with you!
- This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt is a book for preschoolers that is great reading material that features the above artists.
- Create a "musical collage" made from pictures out of magazines of all the musical instruments your child can find.
3. Bold Women in Black History
We love the block set from Uncle Goose called "Women Who Dared" featuring quotes from different women in history. Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Hattie McDaniel are all featured in the set.
- Have your child find the Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Hattie McDaniel blocks in the set.
- Let your child pick one to create their own portrait of. Use markers, paint, crayons, or colored pencils. Whatever materials you have handy!
- While they are creating their portrait, you can help explain what the individual accomplished and why they were important in history.
- Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison is a great accompanying book to further learning.
4. America's First Female Firefighter
Start a conversation around Molly Williams, America's first female firefighter. She was a firefighter in Manhattan and considered "just as tough" as the boys. She paved the way for other future female firefighters.
- Get outside and take a walk. Look for firetrucks (if you are living in Jersey City, it shouldn't be too long until you hear or see one!) Or alternatively, play with a toy firetruck inside.
- Molly, by Golly by Dianne Ochiltree is a book to further learning about Molly Williams.
- "Create Five Little Firefighters Print" - Have your child dip their hand in red finger paint and stamp it onto a blank sheet of paper. Use a pen, stickers, or markers to decorate each finger with a firefighter hat and hose. (See image below!)
About the author: Lindsay Donnelly is a first-time-mom and new resident of Jersey City experiencing life with her toddler, Lolli. She’s a former NYC fashion stylist and graduate of Univ. of Florida Journalism school. Follow them around town on Instagram: @Lawadelton and #Lolligramz