Women's History Month is soon approaching and it's a great way to celebrate the many accomplishments of women in American history. It's a time of reflection on how far women have come, and it's also a time to look at how far women still need to go. Involving sons and daughters into the celebrations only furthers the message that contributions of women are important and imperative to the success of the country. There are several ways to celebrate Women's History Month with your child, that can be age appropriate and fun at the same time (no snooze-worthy history lessons here).
Women's History Month starts the first day of March, and ends on the last day of the month. And, unfortunately, most public schools didn't even cover the accomplishments and achievements of women pioneers until recently, according to TIME For Kids. Information and background about these women wasn't discussed, nor was it built into the curriculum. The celebration of women started as just one day, then it expanded to a week, and then congress in the late '80s declared the whole month of March National Women's History Month.
Many schools across the U.S. probably do a bang up job of teaching and celebrating the achievements of women, but a little supplementation at home couldn't hurt. Teaching and involving your kids will further the message in your family that women are important, and recognizing them is important. (I promise there are ways to do it that won't cause them to audibly groan). Here are seven ways to get kids of all ages involved in celebrating WHM.
1. Read Them Children's Books About Women Who Made Big Contributions To Our World
Reading your children books about great women who've made big contributions to our country and world is a great way to start. It gets them familiar with their names, faces, and stories. There are some really easy and simple books available right now that are fantastic for children. My personal favorite (and my daughter's favorite) is Rad American Women: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who
Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Kate Schatz. It features many great women of varying backgrounds and accomplishments in sports, art, activism, political, STEM, and more.
The Little People, Big Dream series is another favorite in our house. Each book focuses on a famous person (men and women) and is geared towards readers who are five to eight years old. There is a book on Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo, Helen Keller, Coco Chanel, and more.
2. Check Your Local Calendar For Events
Chances are you live near a historical women's site or can drive to one, because markers of women's history are all over this country. You could always go visit one with your kids, take a tour, (if available) or attend an event at one. Additionally, museums and other cultural organizations will likely be holding events and activities during Women's History Month in your area, so check your local newspaper or get online and start searching.
If you can't make it to any of the events, you can always opt to take your kids to women's roller derby tournament, a women's sports event, or to a play featuring a female heroine.
3. Have Your Child Interview A Woman in Their Life
Have your child pick a woman in their life who they'd like to learn more about and have them interview them. You could use this downloadable and printable interview sheet from the TIME For Kids website, or you can help your child think up their own interview questions. Then, once you have the questions, meet with or call the person they're going to interview. Your child can write the responses and turn it into a story.
4. Have Your Child Write A Letter To A Woman They Admire
The results will be really precious on this one. Have your child choose a woman they respect and look up to, and instruct them to write a letter to them. It could be a woman alive right now in their family, a famous woman, or a woman from the past. If you need a guide, you can download and print this woman-centric pen pal template from TIME For Kids; it has nice wide lines for younger writers.
5. Donate Your Time To A Local Women's Organization With Your Child In Tow
There is no shortage of women's organizations that need your time. Consider contacting a volunteer coordinator at women's shelters in your area, your local Planned Parenthood, or a Boys and Girls Club. Most organizations welcome children helping (unless there is a safety issue), so don't be shy about bringing them along. You're helping teach your kids about civic responsibility and engagement.
6. Donate Money To A Women's Organization
Putting your money where your mouth is, is an important lesson for children. As adults know, putting money and action behind things you believe in is imperative to the collective cause, otherwise it just feels like lip service. These organizations can't help others without financial help from you. Most importantly, you never know if you might ever need the services yourself.
Have your child save up a certain amount, or have them pluck from their already growing cash pile (seriously, my kids have more money than me) to make a donation. You can research women's organizations on the computer, explain the missions of each one, and have your child choose which one they'd like to donate to.
7. Participate In "A Day Without A Woman"
The Women's March on Washington was an impressive show of action, resistance, and solidarity, but it's not over. On International Women's Day, March 8, the organizers of the march are calling for women and their allies to strike. On A Day Without A Woman, participants are being asked to not engage in paid or unpaid work. Don't show up to your job, don't wipe your kids butts, don't get them breakfast, don't do laundry, you name it, take a day off if possible. The organizers are also asking that you avoid spending money (except at small, women and minority owned businesses). Lastly, everyone is asked to wear red in solidarity.
However you participate in celebrating Women's History Month, you can always incorporate your children. There are so many ways for them to learn and engage in women's history that are actually really fun. Opening them up to the knowledge and letting them choose how they celebrate, will have positive impact and will shape them to always value women.