Black History Month is an amazing opportunity to remember to teach our children about the incredible contributions, history and accomplishments of African Americans. When it comes to our younger counterparts, it’s best to mix a little fun in with education to really help them absorb these crucial lessons. The common misconception is that Black History Month is a celebration for African Americans. The truth is Black History stories are American History Stories and should be treated as such. Every child, regardless of race or culture should learn about Black American History.
Not sure where to begin?
We have put together 5 ways to help you celebrate black history and it's role in American History.
Read a Book, Play a Game
Fill your kid’s library and toy box with books and games that tell the stories of African American history in simple language. For instance, “Her Stories: African American Folktales, Fairy Tales and True Tales” is a collection of folktales which focuses on strong female characters including “Little Girl and Bruh Rabby” or “Catskinella”. And "My First Matching Game: A Memory Game about African Americans" features historic African Americans and offers a fun way of learning about their contributions to American History.
Books and Games aimed at your children's ages will help them grasp concepts, history and events that may be more difficult for you to explain easily. Use books as your tool and guide! You can view more books and games on the Little Proud Kid marketplace to help you celebrate and teach your child the importance of Black History Month.
Attend a Cultural Event
Whether you visit a museum dedicated to African American culture, attend a culture event, such as, an Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre performance or watch historic movie, such as Queen of Katwe or Hidden Figures all play a role in introducing children to the rich history that make up a great part of American History. These events can really engage and inspire children since they can see history visually with displays, photos, interactive exhibits and performances. It's also sure to spark conversation and questions - don't be afraid to admit if you are unsure of the answers. There's always the internet where you can learn together or engage a friend to assist.
Listen to Music
Music from Legends, such as Bob Marley whose music is greatly influenced by his African roots, is a sure way to start an impromptu family dance party not to mention a good conversation starter about the history of reggae music. Explore Jazz; Jazz is a music genre that originated among African Americans in New Orleans, United States and the Blues, which originated on the Southern plantations in the 19th Century among slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves.
Create a Quiz
Have both you and your child create a quiz for each other with questions related to African-American history and culture. Use this as an opportunity to go over key points you would like to pass on to your child but also allow your child to do their own discoveries and test you; she’ll love any questions she can stump you on and explain the answer to you!
Have a Poetry Reading
Read “A Pledge to Rescue Our Youth” by Maya Angelou or “I, Too, Sing America” by poet Langston Hughes. While the message might initially be lost on very young children, even toddlers can appreciate the rhythm of words. You can follow up the reading with a couple key points in simple language for their age range. Here’s the famous Langston Hughes poem to get you started:
I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
How do you celebrate Black History Month with your children? Let us know by tweeting us @LittleProudKid, post to our Facebook page or mention us on Instagram! To fully embrace Black History Month, both in February and every month visit our Black History Month Collection. for many other products, books and resources.
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